Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1950, the Alfa Romeo 1900 was a significant advance for the growing company. The 1900 was the first Alfa Romeo designed and built for production assembly and the first Alfa Romeo available in left-hand drive. Offered in four-door Berlina and two-door Sprint variants, the 1900 was initially powered by a 1,884cc, 4-cylinder twin cam engine producing a capable 90 horsepower. Racing victories in the Targa Florio and Stella Alpina rallies lead to Alfa Romeo marketing and promoting the 1900 as “the family car that wins races”. In 1951, Alfa Romeo released the shorter 2.5-meter wheelbase 1900C, followed quickly by a more powerful engine option, the 1900 “Sprint”. The Sprint was equipped with a bored-out 1,900cc engine producing 100 horsepower. Approximately 100 of the performance-oriented, short-wheelbase 1900s were delivered with the more powerful Sprint engines to famed Italian coachbuilder Pinin Farina. Pinin Farina designed the very elegant coupe body known as the 1900 “Corto” Sprint. The unique platform design and performance engine enticed other notable coachbuilders including Touring, Zagato, and Bertone, however the Pinin Farina design, with its pure lines and ideal proportions, delivers a handsome and balanced profile ideally paired with state-of-the-art twin-cam performance.
Under former ownership, the prior owner purchased this 1900 CS from an esteemed Northern California collector to accompany multiple highly prized vehicles in his personal collection. Having enlisted expert Raffi Najjarian of The Pit Stop, a great deal of work was performed on the car’s mechanical components including an engine rebuild beyond CSS specifications. This rebuild included the installation of a CSS crankshaft, larger pistons, dual Weber 44 DCO carburetors feeding into an Abarth intake manifold, and new exhaust. Additional work included the installation of an oil cooler, electric fuel pump, new fuel tank, and a supplementary electric cooling fan, all of which further required upgrading the electrical system with new wiring. Substantial time was further spent improving the car’s driving dynamics. Inclusive of the suspension rebuild, all new Alfin drum brakes were installed, while the front A-arms were updated with 2500 series units and a rebuilt steering box. The original column mounted four-speed transmission was replaced with a floor mounted five-speed gearbox and a new clutch. As the mechanical work was completed, the engine bay was detailed and carefully finished using as many authentic components as possible.
In 2018, the car was offered for sale by Fantasy Junction. A few years later, the owner passed away and the car was auctioned by Bonhams in 2020, at which time, the current and consigning owner purchased the car. Under current ownership, this Alfa Romeo has benefited from new leather seat reupholstery, new carpet, a valve job for the twin cam head, general mechanical freshening, and excellent paint correction to high driver level. As an added performance feature, this 1900 is outfitted with exhaust cutouts which can be engaged manually from behind the driver’s seat. These levers bypass the mufflers delivering a more vigorous exhaust note.
Today this handsome Pinin Farina 1900 CS presents with a quality high gloss vivid red finish ideal for events and tours. Panel fit is generally good, in keeping with period construction. The doors open and shut easily, while the lightweight alloy hood and trunk raise and lower without issue. A few superficial stone chips are visible in the front facing areas, though none affect the overall high driver level presentation. The windshield and side glass, many of which bear the original glass Securit brand marks, present nicely including the unique sweeping wrap around rear window. The grille and eyebrow openings were re-chromed during the refresh, still offering excellent reflections and smooth finish. The rear bumpers and chrome trunk handle are also very nicely presented. The absence of further garnish molding and chrome trim is a welcome relief from often overdone cars of this period. In keeping with the performance theme, the car is finished with beautiful Borrani wire wheels. Under prior ownership, all four wheels and the matching spare wheel were rebuilt and powder-coated in silver finish. The wheels are finished with correct chrome plated dual ear knock-offs with correctly sized 2019 date-coded Michelin tires.
The interior reflects the performance lineage of these exceptional cars with a focus on spirited driving. The seat supports were refinished under current ownership along with new carpet. The newly reupholstered leather covered rally-style Zagato seats complete the performance picture, giving excellent lateral support, particularly when compared to the original style bench seats. The cloth headliner and sun visors are clean and taut, while the rear parcel shelf and leather straps offer a nice finishing touch to the interior. The upgraded 5-speed manual gearbox is very well positioned, wrapped in a leather boot, and topped with a polished alloy shift knob. The dashboard features correct instrumentation with clean lenses, crisp numbers, and handsome lettering. A safety kill switch is located under the left side of the dash. The interior is handsomely finished overall with a period correct flat Nardi wooden steering wheel, accented by the Alfa Romeo center insignia. The trunk is nicely finished in satin black with a proper textured floor mat, and a distinctive optional touch – a handheld Marchal spotlight, convenient for rally road repairs, particularly effective in evening or sunset events.
The engine compartment has been nicely maintained since the rebuild and recent valve job. Correct finishes, authentic parts, proper lines and materials, and uniform finishes now display slight patina resulting from modest use. During the rebuild, the engine was upgraded with twin 44DCO (No. 13 and 15) Weber carburetors and an Abarth intake manifold. A FISPA air cleaner was installed along with the Weber carburetors. The undercarriage presents with no evidence of structural compromise and while not detailed for show, all components are clean, dry, and tidy. Of note, the upgraded 2500 series front suspension and shock absorbers add to the handling and performance of this car.
The car starts with ease and warms to a nice throaty idle. Driving manners are quite good under general road use, but greatly enhanced with the 5-speed gearbox, improved front suspension, and power upgrades to the engine. The engine operates with good oil pressure and proper running temperatures. The brakes operate confidently with good pedal pressure and the steering is generally good but has slight play at top dead center. The driving experience in this Alfa Romeo 1900 benefits from the upgraded floor mounted 5-speed with ratios ideally spaced for road or highway use. Accompanying the car is a set of tools wrapped in a period correct cloth roll, a restored jack, a Marchal spotlight, and a matching spare wire wheel.
This is a great opportunity to acquire an event eligible rare Pinin Farina bodied Alfa Romeo combining professionally refined mechanical improvements and delightful visual presentation, enhanced by thoughtful performance upgrades. For those who admire hand-built coachwork, state of the art engineering, and exciting driving, this Alfa Romeo 1900 CS is sure to deliver ongoing rewards uniquely delivered in vintage automobile ownership experiences.