Founded on June 24, 1910, in Milan, the Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. had been a part of the Fiat Group since 1986 and since February 2007 is had been part of Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. The Alfa Romeo Company has been known initially as A.L.F.A., which was an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili which in English was Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company. In 1906 the company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq with several Italian investors. In 1909, Cavaliera Ugo Stella (one of the investors) became chairman of the SAID. Originally the firm's location was in Naples, but Darracq decided late in 1906 to move the factory to Milan in a suburb of Portello.
The Italian Darracq cars were selling very slowly in late 1909, and Stella with other co-investors founded a new company named A.L.F.A. originally still in partnership with Darracq. In 1919 the first non-Darracq vehicle produced was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe Merosi who was hired in 1909 to design new cars that were more suitable to the Italian market. Eventually, Merosi would design a series of new A.L.F.A. cars with even more powerful engines, from 40-60 HP. A.L.F.A. even ventured into motor racing with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Floria with two 24 HP models. Three years later an advanced Grand Prix car was designed and constructed, the GP1914 featured a four-cylinder, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and twin ignition. Unfortunately, the onset of WWI halted automobile production at A.L.F.A. for three years.
Utilized on road, race, and sports cars constructed between 1925 and1954 was the Alfa Romeo 6C name. The designation 6C refers to a straight 6 engine. Coachbuilders like Zagato, Touring Castagna, Pininfarina, and James Young constructed these bodies. From 1933 there was also a 6C version with a factory Alfa body built in Portello.
Alfa's RL was considered by many to be too cumbersome and heavy in the mid-1920's so a new development began. For the 1926 season, the 2-liter formula that had lead to Alfa Romeo winning the World Championship in 1925 was updated to 1,5 liter. In 1925 the 6C1500 was introduced at Milan and production began in 1927 with the P2 Grand Prix car as a starting point. The engine capacity was now at 1487 cc, compared to the P2's 1987 cc, while the supercharging was dropped. The initial versions were bodied by Young and Touring.
A 6C Sport was introduced in 1928 with a dual overhead camshaft engine. The sports version was numerous racing, including the 1928 Mille Miglia. With the 200 with DOHC engine, the total production was 2000. Ten versions of a supercharged Super Sport variant were also made.
In 1929 a much more powerful 6C 1750cc was introduced in 1929 in Rome. The base model had a single overhead cam; Super Sport and Gran Sport versions had DOHC. A supercharger was also available. The total production was 369 units.
In 1933 the final derivative of the original 1500 version of the 6C 1900 with a 1917 cc engine was introduced, with an aluminum head for the first time. This version could achieve top speed of 130 kilometers per hour with 68 brake horsepower. Incredibly rare, this 1900 version was produced in only 197 copies before it was replaced by 6C 2300.
A less expensive alternative to the 8C, the 6C 2300 was designed by Vittorio Jano from 1934 until 1937. The 6C 2500 was introduced in 1938 until 1952 and it was the final 6C road car. WWII disrupted car development, but a few hundred 6C 2500's were constructed from 1940 until 1945. Following the war, the first new Alfa model was the 1946 6C 2500 Freccia d'Oro. A total of 680 units were built through 1950, and the body done by Alfa. The 'Golden Arrow' was sold to affluent customers like King Farouk, Rita Hayworth, Prince Rainier, Ali Khan, and Tyrone Power.
In 1949 the 6C 2500 Villa d'Este was introduced and was produced until 1952. It was named for the Concorso d'Eleganza held in villa d'Este, a Touring Superleggera-bodied version was awarded the prize. The Villa d'Este was Alfa's final hand built model and only 36 examples were made. The final 6C was produced in 1952 and was replaced by the 1900.
The 6C 2500 was introduced in 1952 and was one of five long wheelbase automobiles produced by Touring of Italy. In 1950 a 6C 3000 prototype was constructed and was basically a 2500 with a 3L engine.
This prototype didn't appear until 1952, as the Competizione Maggiorata, which was built for racing, with a 3.5L engine, in four coupe and two spider versions. The 6C 3000 was produced from 1950 until 1954. A coachbuilder from Milan, the body was shaped by Carrozzeria Colli with some of the style reminiscent of the 1900 DiscoVolante. The propulsion system of this particular model came from a project by Giuseppe Busso. This model differed from its ancestor yet it still utilized various components of the 3-liters-volume/6-cylinders system from the 6C 3000 prototype. The engine capacity was increased to 3495 cc. Following several updates, the power was increased to 275 bhp.By Jessica Donaldson