1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS
Chassis Number : 312910 Horsepower : 85 Displacement : 6-cylinder, 1.75 L Wheelbase : 108.1"
In the middle of the 1920s, Alfa Romeo introduced its first successful sports car, the Merosi designed RLSS (Super Sports). A rather large car, it was superseded by the nimbler Vittorio Jano 1500, which came in a variety of forms suitable for racing in its displacement class. Subsequently, the 1750cc engine was introduced at 85hp. The first 50 supercharged cars were designated as “Super Sport”, the remaining supercharged series, which continued into the early 1930s, were designated “Gran Sport”. A total of 360 were made. They were an immediate success on a variety of road racing circuits participating in the Mille Miglia which they won in 1929 and 1930. Light, nimble, easily manageable, they were dominant in a variety of shorter road racing circuits and rivaled their competitors, Bugatti and Maserati in numerous venues throughout Europe. They won at Spa, the tourist Tourist Trophy and set several word speed records.
Alfa Romeo at that time produced only chasses which were then sent off to various coachbuilders, and were usually graced with beautiful bodies of touring or sporting type. A very few cars, perhaps only three, were sent to the British concessionaires for Alfa Stiles Limited to have beautiful racing three seater bodies made for them by James Young Limited. These cars featured two seats with a small dickey in the back and were the raciest of the line. A special instruction booklet insert for these cars was a convenience to their English speaking customers. Our car is an unrestored example of one of these. With a top speed of 95mph, a chassis designed to flex and undulate over wavy surfaces, and sensitive geared-up steering this was the ideal road car of its time. Counterintuitively a seemingly complex twin overhead cam engine with supercharger was rarely hors de combat.
Englishman, Colonel Samuel Bird, purchased one of these special performance cars directly from James Young. Shortly thereafter, he came to America and participated in the only organized road racing club in the States, The Automobile Racing Club of America. Bird was an insurance broker for Lloyd’s of London, apparently transferred to their New York Office. He lived in North Jersey and soon found himself racing with the ARCA boys. As time went on, he turned over racing duties to other drivers, often to the speedster Hastings Foote. After its initial racing days were over, the car reappeared post World War II in the hands of his son Robert Bird who used it at Bridgehampton and who maintained it in excellent original and unrestored condition throughout his ownership.
We became the proud owner of the car, still in its original paint and mostly original upholstery when Robert decided to sell. Except for mechanical fettling she is still in as-found condition. In 1951, after his father’s passing, Robert Bird became the owner and he used it sparingly at Bridgehampton and other venues. We acquired the it in 1980 in basically original, unrestored condition with the exception of the seat bottoms, which had been replaced. Very little mechanical work was required and it still enjoys an active life in its tatty condition, as probably the only 1750 Alfa Romeo ever engaged in genuine sports car competition in the United States.