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Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Touring 1955 Blu Cobalto

The Alfa Romeo 1900 was an important development for Alfa Romeo as the marque's first car built entirely on a production line and first production car without a separate chassis. It was also the first Alfa Romeo offered with left-hand drive. The car was designed by Orazio Satta and first introduced at the 1950 Paris Motor Show.

The 1900 was offered in two-door or four-door models, with a new 1,884 cc, 90 bhp, 4-cylinder twin cam engine. It was spacious and simple, yet quick and sporty. The slogan Alfa used when selling it was 'The family car that wins races', not-so-subtly alluding to the car's success in the Targa Florio, Stella Alpina, and other competitions. In 1951 the short wheelbase 1900C (c for corto, short in Italian) version was introduced. It had a wheelbase of 2,500 mm. In the same year the 1900TI with a more powerful 100 bhp engine was introduced, it had bigger valves, a higher compression ratio and it was equipped with a double carburetor. Two years later the 1900 Super and 1900 TI Super (also 1900 Super Sprint) with 1975 cc engine were introduced.

Production at the company's Milan plant continued until 1959. A total of 21,304 were built, including 17,390 of the saloons.

The chassis was designed specifically to allow coachbuilders to rebody it. Iginio Alessio, then general manager of Alfa Romeo, was concerned for the viability of the independent Italian Coachbuilding industry – the advent of the unibody chassis design was threatening to put the carrozzerie out of business. Alessio was also a personal friend of Gaetano Ponzoni co-owner of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, thus from 1951-1958 Alfa Romeo built five different variations of the 1900 unibody chassis specifically for independent coachbuilders.

Alfa Romeo gave official contracts to Touring to build the sporty 1900 Sprint coupé and to Pinin Farina to build an elegant four seat Cabriolet and Coupé. The availability of a suitable chassis led to many other coachbiulders to build versions of the 1900.

One-off specials where numerous from the famous Bertone BAT series of aerodynamic studies, to an infamous sci-fi like Astral spider designed by Carrozzeria Boneschi for Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic. There was a Barchetta or 'Boat Car' made by Ghia-Aigle in Lugano Switzerland designed by Giovanni Michelotti at the request of a wealthy Italian who had two passions: Riva boats and a woman, his mistress, the car had no doors or windscreen wipers!

The example shown here is a beautiful 1955 1900 CSS by Touring. The car underwent a serious ground up restoration between 1997 and 2000, taken care of by Competition Motors and the then Swedish owner, S. Eriksson. It comes with a comprehensive restoration file and history file from almost new.

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