1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 SS by Carlton
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History of the car
REGISTRATION NR: UV 819 CHASSIS Nr: 0312872 ENGINE Nr: 0312873 The car was produced in early 1929. It is one of the first 3rd series Super Sports cars fitted with a 1487cc engine to participate in the 1500 cc class races. The first ten cars were fitted with the 1500 cc engine and this car is the third of the 3rd series cars to be built.
This car, along with 0312871, 0312873 and 0312874 were acquired in April 1929 by F.W. Stiles (Alfa Romeo (British Sales) Ltd) the British importer of Alfa Romeo. There is a picture of the four cars leaving the Portello works in the upper part on page 150 of Angela Cherrett’s book “Alfa Romeo Tipo 6C 1500 1750 1900” (Haynes, 1989) with Giulio Ramponi at the wheel of this car. All four cars were registered in Mrs Florence Stiles name on April 1929 with registration nrs 29477 MI (0312874), 29478 MI (0312873), 29480 MI (0312871) and 29481 MI (0312872).
The cars were driven to England and upon their arrival 0312873 was sold to Edgar Fronteras a privateer who would participate in the races along with the other 3 cars with the support of Alfa Romeo (British Sales) Ltd. The first race they participated was the 1929 Brooklands Double-Twelve on May 19-20 1929. The Stiles team fielded the three team cars, driven by Ramponi/Lurani, Ivanovsky/Dunkley and this car(0312872) by Kaye Don/George Eyston. Fronteras also participated. The race was won by Ramponi/Lurani, while 0312872 retired with a stripped camshaft gear in the course of the first day’s racing while in second place behind a Speed 6 Bentley. The second race was the Irish Grand Prix in Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland. The cars were registered for the road in the UK on July 7 1929 to be driven to Ireland and 0312872 still has its original registration nr UV 819. The Irish Grand Prix was a two day race held on July 12 and 13, with the Saorstatt Cup race for cars of 1500cc or less on the first day, and the Eireann Cup race for cars of unlimited capacity on the second day. The combined results of the two races gave the overall placings in the Irish Grand Prix. The British Alfa Romeo team won both Races. Boris Ivanovky won the first day’s race with UV 819 by 66 seconds from “Sammy” Davies in a supercharged Lea Francis. Ivanovsky also won the second race driving a privately owned 6C 1750 SS (UU79).
Lent to the team for the event. On the aggregate for the two races UV 819 finished in 3rd place ahead of such machinery as Sir Henry Birkin’s 4.5 liter Blower Bentley.
The following pictures are of UV 819 from that event.
The following race was the Ulster TT held on August 17, 1929 on the Ards circuit in Northern Ireland. No fewer than five 6C 1500 SS were entered and UV 819 was driven by Attilio Marinoni to seventh overall and fourth in class, recording the fastest lap of all Alfa Romeos including the 1750s. The race was won by Caracciola with a big Mercedes while Campari with a 6C 1500 SS came two minutes behind.
The pictures below are of UV 819 from this event with Marinoni at the starting line.
At some time during the 1929 season the engines of 0312872 and 0312873 were swapped. It is hypothesized that Edgar Fronteras, being a very good customer of Stiles requested the engine swap following the win of UV 819 at the Irish Grand Prix. It is unlikely that the engine swap took place once the cars had left Stiles’s control. Chassis nr 032873 is currently at the Louwman Collection bearing engine nr. 0312872.
At the end of the 1929 season the cars were sold to privateers as the racing focus of Alfa Romeo (British Sales) Ltd for the 1930 season was switched over to the new 1750 GS . UV 819 was acquired by Reginald Outlaw and Philip de Benson and participated in the same three races in 1930. On May 9th, 1930 it participated in the second Double-Twelve in Brooklands but did not finish. On July 18th 1930 it participated in the Irish grand Prix placing 13th. On August 23rd, 1930 it was entered in the Tourist Trophy but suffered fuel problems and retired on the eighth lap.
The car was offered for sale in Motor Sport in October 1930 and the subsequent history is not known until 1937 when it was advertised for sale by the well known London dealer Jack Bartlett. In that advertisement it is described as a “four seater”. The car originally left the factory with a 2 seater Corsa body (probably Zagato) and was raced by Stiles and Outlaw with that body. The body presently on the car is an original 1929 manufactured four seater competition body by Carlton Carriage Company used on the Alfa Romeo 1750 SS for participating in British races, a requirement on all cars in excess of 1500 cc. These bodies were used for the races and when the cars were sold to private owners were rebodied usually by James Young. The racing bodies were discarded but some how this
body was placed on UV 819 sometime before 1937 an easy fit since the frame and running gear was identical on all third series 6C super sports-whether 1500s or 1750’s.
The car reappears in 1947 in the hands of Lord Strathcarron and is mentioned in his book “Motoring for Pleasure” (Stanley Paul, London, 1963, page 33). By that time the fuel system had been changed to twin SU pumps and SU carburetor of 1930’s manufacture. In fact Lord Strathcarron writes: “Due to petrol rationing the previous owner had fitted a small SU carburetor in place of the original Memini. It then did 20 m.p.g.….Jack Bartlett, who at one time owned my car, said that it did only 12 m.p.g. with the original Memini carburetor.” (page 34). The car was sold to Richard Breckett in 1949 who did a full body off restoration of UV 819 which has been the last on this car.
The car was sold in 1952 to Goeffrey H. Nixon of Bristol UK. He took the car with him when he moved to the US in the 1960’s. In 1987 he sold the car to John Hearne of Auckland New Zealand, who took the car with him when he moved to the UK in 2005. The car belongs to R.I.A.R. (Registro Storico Alfa Romeo).
When we talk about the story of 6C, let's remember that in the mid-1920s, Alfa's RL was considered too large and heavy, so a new development began. The 2-litre formula that had led to Alfa Romeo winning the Automobile World Championship in 1925, changed to 1.5-litres for the 1926 season. The 6C 1500 was introduced in 1925 at the Milan Motor Show. Series production started in 1927, with the P2 Grand Prix car as a starting point. Engine capacity was now 1,487 cc, as against the P2's 1,987 cc, while supercharging was dropped. First versions were bodied by James Young and Carrozzeria Touring.
In 1928, the 6C Sport model was released, with a dual overhead-camshaft engine. Its sport version won many races, including the 1928 Mille Miglia. Total production was 3,000 (200 with DOHC engines). Ten examples of a supercharged (compressore, compressor) Super Sport variant were also built.