Early in the 1950s after Alfa Romeo suspended its racing ventures, various existing competition cars were discarded. Some of these vehicles were sold to privateers, and some were given to Pinin Farina and Boano, specialist coachbuilders for future endeavors. The 6C 3000 CM (chassis 00128) was given to Pinin Farina who had the creative task of turning it into something stunning. With a coupe body built by Carrozzeria Colli, the Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV began its life as a racecar with a very different coupe body.
Beginning its life as one of the six works cars constructed for the 1953 season, chassis 00128 was powered by the latest development of Alfa's legendary twin-cam straight six. Producing nearly 275 horsepower, the engine displaced just under 3.5 liters through six Weber carbs. An exceptional creation, the 6C 3000 CM featured a steel tubular spaceframe chassis, a DeDion rear axle and independent front suspension. The original car was used by Juan Manuel Fangio to place second at the 1953 Mille Miglia.
Pinin Farina designers were able to work their magic on the compact chassis after they removed the Colli body. First launched at the 1956 Turin Motor Show, the Superflow sported a futuristic design with open front wheels covered by plexiglass panels that also pulled double duty as headlight covers. Its wild, yet sleek body featured upswinging windows and was painted white with a black stripe. Front and center on the low nose was the trademark Alfa Romeo grille. The tail featured very flamboyant fins, the roof plexiglass with hinged 'gullwing' sections.
The car returned as the Superflow II in Paris later that year. It was resplendent in fresh red paint with a white stripe. A much more conservative model, the II sported a much more angular nose and more modern steel fenders. Farina was much more reserved with the plexiglass, only using it for the headlight covers this time.
Three years later the model reappeared once again, this time at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show as the Spyder Super Sport, or Superflow III. The finned tail was no longer there, and instead featured a curvy elegant rear end. The roof was open and spacious with twin headrests. The nose remained the same but the headlight covers were gone. The Superflow III was dazzling in all white paint.
The recycled racecar appeared one final time in 1960 at the Geneva Motor Show as the Superflow IV or Coupe Super Sport Speziale. Using all of the best features from the past three models, the IV brought back the domed roof and the plexiglass headlight covers. Panels were no longer hinged and could instead slide down and back underneath the rear window, which made the car either a Coupe or Spyder. The classic rear end from the III was kept.
Farina used the Superflow evolution through the years as an illustration of the changing trends and tastes during the 1950s and 1960s. Extreme at first, the Superflow molded itself through the years into an incredibly tasteful racecar, elegant and very typical of the 1960s. The Superflow would also be the inspiration for many future Alfa Romeo models, especially the famous Duetto Spyder in 1966. After its career as a show car, the Superflow IV was driven extensively around the U.S. and displayed in Alfa Romeo showrooms to gauge the reaction of the public.
Sports Car Illustrated called the Superflow IV 'one of the most savage machines' with 'performance that's long-legged and sustained'. The Superflow IV featured four drum brakes bimetallic, with deep helical finning. The rear brakes were mounted in-board and had conventional leading-trailing mechanism with floating pivots. The suspension at the rear was de Dion. The magazine gave the Superflow IV high points for exceptional traction thanks to a tail-heavy weight distribution with very little chance of spinning the rear wheels, even with high gearing. 'Surprisingly smooth-riding' for a pure racing car, according to SCI, the Superflow IV is an excellent example of the famous Italian's exquisite workmanship. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson