Its Portello factory devastated by wartime bombing, Alfa Romeo did not resume car production until 1946 with, inevitably, a pre-war carry-over, the 6C 2500 in a variety of new guises forming the basis of the Milanese marque's post-war recovery. Destined to be the last of the separate-chassis Alfas, the 2500 had debuted in 1939 and was a development of the preceding 2300. Styled in-house but strongly influenced by Touring, the five-seater Freccia d'Oro (Golden Arrow) sports saloon was built alongside coupe and cabriolet versions featuring bodies by the likes of Batista "Pinin" Farina, Touring and Ghia, plus a six/seven-seater Berlina on a longer wheelbase.
The Alfa tradition of building driver's cars 'par excellence' was upheld by the 2500, for although the box-section chassis was no longer state-of-the-art, it boasted all-independent suspension, generously-sized brakes, fast-geared steering and an unusually slick, column-mounted gear change. The engine was, of course, the latest version of Alfa's race-developed double-overhead-camshaft 'six', its 2,443cc displacement having been arrived at by enlarging the bore of the 2300. Maximum power ranged from 90bhp in single-carburettor 'Sport' guise to 105bhp in the triple-carburettor Super Sport. Considerably lighter than the saloon, the latter could easily exceed 100mph. The short-wheelbase Super Sport chassis was manufactured until 1951, by which time 383 had been produced with most of these bespoke, hand-built cars being bodied as Superleggera coupes by Touring, whilst the remainder sported Cabriolet coachwork by Pinin Farina.
The gorgeous 6C 2500SS on offer here is luxuriously clothed in two-seater cabriolet coachwork by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina. The late 1940s was a period of exceptional creativity for Pinin Farina, the 6C 2500 chassis, especially the Super Sport version, allowing the Italian maestro the freedom to experiment with new lines and design solutions. Indeed, a 6C 2500SS with similar coachwork to that of this car achieved a First Place award at the prestigious Villa d'Este Concours in 1949.
Chassis number #915725 was finished by the factory on the 1st February 1949 and dispatched to SALEM in Paris on 4th July that same year. It was brought to England in January 1950 by its then-owner, Colette Lartigue (possibly of the French industrial family), and registered 'NMA 857'. Its third owner, William Hamill a maritime engineer from Scotland, acquired the Alfa in November 1955 and it remained within his family for a number of years, moving to the Midlands a little later. In 1970, the car was bought by Paul Mann, who carried out some refurbishment, including painting it white. He stored it in a warehouse in Birmingham's jewellery quarter for almost 30 years before selling it to its next owner in 2000 who returned it to Scotland. Prior to his ownership, it had not been taxed for the road since June 1967 when the Hamill family sold it.
Although complete, the car required a complete restoration, which has been undertaken over a number of years. It was dismantled down to the chassis and the coachwork was stripped to bare metal, exposing Pininfarina's original blue paintwork in the process. The coachwork was found to be in excellent condition and required no repairs in preparation for repainting, which was carried out by Billy Johns at John R Weir in Inverness. All brightwork has either been re-plated or polished by Derby Plating and the interior re-trimmed in the original shade of red leather by Alex Watt & Sons of Perth. The brakes, suspension, cooling and fuel systems, including the mechanical fuel pump, have all been rebuilt, as have the Borrani wire wheels. All wiring has been replaced, with ancillaries and instruments overhauled where necessary. More recently, the engine has had a comprehensive rebuild at Jim Stokes Workshops, the leading UK specialists in 6C/8C engines, and the car has covered very few miles since its completion in 2009.
Work undertaken by Jim Stokes included metal-stitched reinforcing of the cylinder block and replacing the head studs with longer ones to provide additional stiffening. New modified con-rods with shell bearings (instead of white metal) and new pistons have been fitted and the main bearings were re-metalled by Gosnay Engineering early on in the restoration process. The cylinder head has been rebuilt with new valves, seats and guides, tappet bases laser-welded and reground, tappet tops reground and DLC coated and the cams have been re-profiled. It was discovered that, because of the design of the oil pick-up from the sump, after a lengthy period of storage the oil pump would not collect enough oil to lubricate the bearings sufficiently so, to resolve this problem, JSW has fitted a 'pre-lube' system which ensures that correct oil pressure is achieved before the starter is engaged. A modern clutch assembly has been fitted also to aid driveability.
Subsequently purchased by a significant collector in 2014, this special car has been stored and used very little since. To release its full potential, a recommissioning process may be required to reawaken this supremely elegant and glamorous cabriolet.