Alfa Romeo 1900 Ti Super
The 1900 saloon occupies a unique place in Alfa Romeo's history. Presented in October 1950, not only was Alfa's first unibody construction, but it also was the first model designed to be manufactured by the thousands on a production line.
However, the Alfa 1900 was no cheap family transportation, far from it: its price of 2.3 million Italian liras and nearly two liters of displacement meant only high-income professionals, like lawyers, bank managers, and doctors, could afford one. Like the surgeon from Reggio Emilia who purchased this lovely 1900 Super in 1957, thus starting today's story.
The 1900 Super was introduced in 1954. Sales of the model peaked that year, but the introduction of the smaller Giulietta led Alfa Romeo's management to reposition the 1900 range, offering more luxury and comfort at a more attractive price, made possible by more efficient production processes.
The dashboard was all-new, with vinyl padding, abundant chrome trim, and three beautiful round instruments in front of the driver. Despite the car's sporting character, the lever for the four-speed manual gearbox remained on the steering column, allowing a third front passenger on the comfy bench seat.
as it's often the case with Alfa Romeos, the most exciting bit hides under the bonnet, and the 1900 is no exception
The interior of this example still retains the original factory trim, and this 60-years-old vinyl shows a slight, lovely patina. The smell of this all-original interior is unique, and I wish you could feel it too: it's a noticeable yet unobtrusive odor resulting from all these materials gently aging over decades, and that's something money simply can't buy. No matter how meticulous a restoration can be, nothing beats the charm of the original.
The body of the Alfa 1900 Super was slightly revised as well, with plenty of chrome trim added to give a bit more flash to the big Alfa saloon's appearance. The bumpers came with big over-riders as standard, the taillights were made larger and better integrated with the car's shape, and
a reversing light was added too: this 1900 is one of the few surviving examples still having one, as it was easily broken or lost and now is next to unobtainable.
But, as it's often the case with Alfa Romeos, the most exciting bit hides under the bonnet, and the 1900 is no exception. The iron-block inline-four with aluminum twin-cam cylinder head, designed by Giuseppe Busso, was revised to offer more performance. Two more millimeters in each cylinder's bore brought the displacement closer to two liters, resulting in 90 HP and a top speed of 160 Km/h.
an authentic piece of mechanical art, as functional as it's pretty, in the best Alfa Romeo tradition
However, that mustn't have been enough for our surgeon from Reggio Emilia, who brought the car back to Alfa Romeo sometime in the 50s and had no less than the company's experimental department upgrading this car's engine to Ti Super's specification.
This translates into new cams, two double-choke Weber 40 mm carburetors, and this beautiful plenum chamber cast in magnesium: an authentic piece of mechanical art, as functional as it's pretty, in the best Alfa Romeo tradition. The Ti Super's peak horsepower was quoted at 115 at 5500 Rpm, but this car's unit may produce even more, given it's been freshly rebuilt by the Portello Factory's expert mechanics.
As if this Alfa wasn't special enough, the first owner also fitted this lovely set of Borrani wheels. The name Borrani is mainly associated with the wire wheels used on vintage Ferraris, but the Milanese company also built a different kind of wheel, known as the "bimetallica." These rims are made of two pieces: an aluminum rim and a steel center section, to reduce weight while ensuring strength.
The Scuderia Del Portello bought and recommissioned this 1900 back in 1986 and used it for a few years on high-profile regularity events. Chiefly among those, the 1989 and 1990 editions of the Mille Miglia, driven by none other than Paris-Dakar winner Edi Orioli.
Later on, this 1900 upheld the Scuderia's honors in circuit racing, winning the 1993 FIA European Championship driven by the legendary Bruno Bonini. An Alfa Romeo test driver since the 1930s, Bonini participated in the development of all Alfas made during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
this 1900 really is a piece of history more than an automobile
After a few years in storage, this unique piece of Alfa Romeo history has been fully recommissioned by the Portello Factory, which brought it back in complete working order while preserving this car's unique patina.
I believe it would have been a shame to fully restore this car, as it wears the signs of its six decades of existence with real pride.
The "motto" of the Scuderia Del Portello recites "la Storia continua," which means "the story goes on." And in this case, it's very much appropriate, as this 1900 really is a piece of history more than an automobile, currently for sale so that another enthusiast will write the next chapter.