1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Touring 5-window Coup
Chassis: AR1900 001801
You always dreamt of taking the start in front of San Franciscos Fairmont Hotel to drive the California Mille? This is the Alfa Romeo meant for just doing that! This perfectly eligible 1954 1900 CSS Touring was sold new to San Francisco and stayed a great part of its life in California.
After the II-nd WW Alfa Romeo, which enjoyed an excellent reputation for exclusive high value automobiles and fast and reliable racing cars, realised that to ensure the future a high volume production model needed to be developped.
In 1950 the launch of new 1900 Berlina was the answer.
But in 1953, based on the firms long tradition of coachbuilt cars, Alfa Romeo challenged the major Italian coachbuilders to present their ideas for a sporty model based on the 1900C (Corto) or 1900L (Lungo) floorpan.
Alfa Romeo connoisseurs all agree that the 1900CSS coachbuilt by Touring can be considered as an esthetical masterpiece.
This very attractive 2-nd series 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS by Touring in Silk Green was initially sold new to San Francisco California in the desirable CSS configuration (Corto Super Sprint) consisting of the alloy-headed engine fitted with twin downdraught Solex carburettors and the five-speed manual gearbox, in this case with its original column gearchange.
The car chassis number 01801, engine number 1308-00844 underwent a full and superb restoration starting in around 2010 and taking more than two years. Recently many extra hours were invested in this Alfa Romeo, with comprehensive work and parts costing some 36,000 resulting today in a scintillating 1900 CSS.
The Superleggera bodywork is perfectly straight, its panel gaps tight and even, and the green paintwork is mirror-like and virtually unblemished. The chrome trim, badging and bumpers are equally excellent. Brand new Michelin X radial tyres adorn the beautifully-restored Borrani wire wheels, and the original Plexiglass rear side windows typical of Tourings desire to trim excess weight in the finished car are very good and free or any serious scratches.
Inside, the instruments (having been rebuilt by North Hollywood Speedometer) remain superb, as is the flat, wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. The barely-worn leather looks glorious in its two-tone green colours, and the carpets and wool headlining are of high quality. The underbonnet vista is glorious and carefully detailed. The carburettors were rebuilt a few years ago and are in splendid health.
Accompanying documentation from Alfa Romeos Automobilismo Storico Centro Documentazione confirm the origin of this 1900 CSS.
– completed on 28 May 1954
– sold new on 27 December that year to a Mr Rezzaghi, Alfa Romeo agent for San Francisco.
The first owner, a D Mitchell of Arizona, possessed it from 1956 to 62 and covered 36,000km, and the second owner in Pasadena, California increased that to 72,000km over the next 10 years.
From 1975 until 2012 the Alfa Romeo moved to Canada, mostly under the ownership of Peter Stafferton, who is well known to the Alfa Romeo 1900 Register. He initiated the full restoration, at which point the odometer was zero-ed. The car was sold by Gooding & Company in 2017 and the new owner brought it back to Europe.
As could be expected, test driving this Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS is a super experience. Such is the vivid performance, the super clutch and the surprisingly snappy action of the five-speed column change with full synchromesh.
It still has a slight pre-war car aura but with very distinct modern sports car responses confirming the 1900s transition status.
Summer will allow us to enjoy this 1900 CSS further, unless an Alfa Romeo enthusiast comes along and wants to secure all this pleasure just for himself You?
And BTW, did you phone the Swig brothers to secure your California Mille entry?