Fiat really should have tried harder to hold onto their brilliant designer Vittorio Jano. However in 1923 he was reputedly persuaded by no less than Enzo Ferrari to join Alfa Romeo; from then on he was vital in helping his new employer snatch the racing crown from his old one. Eventually he was responsible for producing what is probably the most successful car that Alfa Romeo built; the 6C 1750.
In common with many other cars at the time, the 6C series was built as a rolling chassis; in other words the buyer bought the basic car less the bodywork, which was then usually fitted by a specialist coachbuilder. As a result there were many different types of 6C, from two seater racing cars to coupes but the most popular models produced were sports cars which could also be used for racing. Initially produced with a 1500 cc straight six cylinder engine with an optional supercharger the engine size was upgraded in 1929 to 1750 cc, and this became for several years absolutely unbeatable on the race track.
Back in those days the Mille Miglia, or 1000 miles, which was limited to unmodified production cars, was amongst the most prestigious races in the world and it was an endurance race over approximately 1000 Roman miles from Brescia in Lombardy to Rome and back. Roads were closed specially for the race and anything up to, and sometimes exceeding, 1 million spectators watched it. In 1929 a 6C 1750 not not only won this race (other 1750s occupied the next three places as well, completely wiping out the compatition) but every single one that it was entered for that year. It also came in first in Grand Prixs in Belgium, Spain and at Monza, the Ulster TT and the Brooklands Double 12. The following year a 1750 took the chequered flag again at the Mille Miglia as well as at the 24 Hours Of Spa endurance race; the third time that an Alfa Romeo 6C had come in first.
Several different versions of the 1750 were produced and the racing successes meant that it sold well as a road car, which could be used as a racer if necessary; a total of around 2500 were built, including one, it has been said, for no less than Italian dictator Benito Mussolini himself.
It is now a highly prized car; on the rare occasions that they come up for sale the asking prices are in excess (sometimes greatly in excess) of £1 million. A lot less than the £26,000 or so that Mussolini is said to have paid for his!