1951 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint
Ex-Manuel Fangio 1951 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint
Ex-Manuel Fangio 1951 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint
Make Alfa Romeo
Model 1900C Sprint
Type Short Chassis all Alloy Berlinetta
Coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring of Milan
Body No 3592
Chassis No AR 1900 00053
Engine No AR 1306 ★00025★
Exterior Color Nocciola Metallizzata (Metallic Hazelnut)
Interior Color Caramello (Caramel)
Mileage 10,425 Kilometers
Gooding & Co You Tube Video Link:
-Second Alfa Romeo 1900 completed
-First Alfa Romeo 1900 sold
-Completed and gifted new to Juan Manuel Fangio by Alfa Romeo
-Used by Fangio for Alfa Romeo publicity and promotional work
-Early pre-production short-chassis, all-alloy Berlinetta
-2nd of only 8 examples completed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan
-Completely unique, hand assembled with numerous one-of-one features
-First in class award at 2007 Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance
-Multiple first in class and overall best of show awards for more than a decade
-Matching numbers, full records, and documentation from new
Just five years after the end of World War II, Italy was on an industrial roll. Nowhere was this more evident than in Italy's automotive industry. While FIAT was providing affordable and practical transportation for the masses, Alfa Romeo was doing so for an ever expanding middle and upper class of clientele who were most certainly living “La Dolce Vita." Their all new monocoque constructed, 1900 was simply groundbreaking. Not only was it Alfa's first monocoque design but also the first assembled on an all new production line rather than being hand assembled individually.
The new 1900 was available in a variety of configurations from both in-house and outside coachbuilders. The one theme being a practical machine with a sporting and outright performance-oriented nature that saw Alfa coin the phrase;” The family car that wins races.” For nearly a full decade, Alfa produced a variety of two and four-door 1900 models with outside coachbuilders, Pininfarina, Touring, Zagato, Ghia and other lesser known builders providing specialized versions for an ever-eager audience. Not until 1959 would the model finally be discontinued but never forgotten.
Chassis No AR 1900 00053, the Fangio Alfa Romeo:
We are truly fortunate that the previous long-term owner of this incredibly special Alfa Romeo was able to get copies of the original Portello Factory assembly records for the pre-production examples and first production examples completed. Previously it had been believed that AR 1900 00053 was the third 1900C completed and by chassis number, our subject vehicle is sequential the third example. By production date however, it was the 2nd completed and delivered. There were nine pre-production examples which used chassis numbers in the following format: AR 1900 00051 to AR 1900 00059. The first production vehicles began a new sequence of chassis numbers. That vehicle was AR 1900 10050 and the chassis numbers thereafter would progress through 10051 and so on.
Here are the Alfa Romeo assembly records details for the first five 1900C models completed:
Chassis No Engine No Date Completed Location Coachwork / Body No Type Registration Factory Dispatch Notes
-AR 1900 00051 AR 1306 ★00024★ Oct 1, 1951 Milan Touring 3478 3 seat Coupé 195749MI “Usato” (used for testing purposes)
-AR 1900 00052 AR 1308 ★00003★ Feb 2, 1952 Milan Pininfarina 12145 Cabriolet 9412FI Giano Filippo Pesatori of Turin
-AR 1900 00053 AR 1306 ★00025★ Nov 23, 1951 Milan Touring 3592 2 seat Berlinetta 8129FI Juan Manuel Fangio
-AR 1900 00054 AR 1308 ★00004★Feb 19, 1952 Milan Touring 3 seat Coupé 8820FI Sold used to Milan resident Gianni Anmiali
-AR 1900 00055 AR 1308 ★00005★ May 14, 1952 Switzerland Touring 3 seat Coupé 9064FI Delivered to Lugano, Switzerland
The Alfa records contain additional notes and details and it would appear that initially these first five cars were used in a variety of promotional as well as testing and development roles before actually being handed over to their first owners. Two are noted in the records as being sold in a “used” state. The records as well as independent research by noted UK Alfa Historian, Peter Marshal confirm that this was the very first 1900 delivered new and the original owner was Juan Manuel Fangio. The car was gifted to him by Alfa Romeo to honor him for winning the Formula One World Championship for the Alfa Romeo Factory Team.
In 1989, shortly after our subject vehicle was purchased by car collecting connoisseur, Skeets Dunn, Juan Manuel Fangio was visiting San Diego to visit with his friend and former Ambassador to Argentina, Theadore Gildred at his home in Rancho Santa Fe. Mr. Dunn was invited to bring the Alfa over at which time Fangio recalled receiving the car new as a gift after winning the Formula One World Championship for Alfa Romeo. He noted some of the special features including the 16-inch Borrani wire wheels and special Carrozzoria Touring touches that were more reminiscent of the previous 6c2500 Villa d'Este models that had been previously so well received. Fangio was so taken by the car that he even took a moment to sign the engine compartment firewall with a black sharpie pen.
Fangio related to Mr. Dunn and Gildred that after receiving the Alfa, he completed some promotional work for Alfa Romeo with it. As noted in the records, this appears to have happened to several of the pre-production 1900 models that were completed. Later in the year, Fangio was practicing for an upcoming race and was hurt in an accident. He said he then sold the Alfa shortly thereafter and had not seen it again until that day.
There is a massive documentation album that accompanies this vehicle that has been accumulated over the past 28 years. There are notes and correspondences in addition to the scans of the original Portello Alfa Romeo Factory assembly details and a wonderful selection of Fangio being reunited with the car in 1989 and again subsequently until he passed away in 1995.
After being sold by Fangio, the car next appeared, not surprisingly given its original Fangio ownership in Argentina with Sr. Juan Augusto Van Deurs a wealth playboy owner in Buenos Aires. In 1961 it was purchased by fellow Buenos Aires resident, Juan Carlos Lawson and then again in 1970 it remained in Buenos Aires, now with new owner Enrique Brodacz. he kept the car until 1977 when it was purchased by Rosario Luis Caruso Mac Cormack who would keep the car until selling it in 1988 to a dealer in San Diego, California.
All the old Argentinean road registration and ownership records remain carefully documented with this vehicle. Just a few months after arriving in the States, in early 1989 this automotive treasure would find new life with car connoisseur, Skeets Dunn who would not only save and restore it, but preserve its unique and special history over the next 28 years. After completing the restoration at a cost exceeding $400,0000, and reuniting the car with Juan Manuel Fangio, Dunn would show the car in numerous shows and events earning sweeping class and over all victories everywhere he brought the car including a best of class award at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Peter Marshall of the International Alfa Romeo 1900 Registry commented that chassis 00053 is among the 'most significant' of the 1900-series cars for its preproduction features and historical provenance. Impeccably restored and visually captivating, the 1900C is at once a unique masterpiece of design, an important marker in Alfa Romeo history, and includes in its provenance the man many consider the greatest racing driver ever.
In January of 2018, long-term owner Skeets Dunn finally allowed is treasured Alfa to find a new home via the Gooding Scottsdale Auction where it set a world record, selling for $616,000.
The new owner, an equally qualified car collecting connoisseur spared no expense or time preserving and conserving his new acquisition, showing it as well where it continued its long-standing tradition of winning a best in class award.
This Alfa Romeo has just completed more than $34,000 in recent services and safety checks by Raffi Najjarian's famous The Pit Stop Automotive Shop in Brisbane, California. It now performs, drives, and handles as good as it looks. This would be the ideal vehicle for any manner of concours events as well as the world's greatest rallies and touring events such as the Mille Miglia, California Mille, Tour Auto, Colorado Grand, etc...