Benito Mussolini Drove This 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS From Rome to Ostia
28 February 2020 - autoevolution
Introduced in 1929, the 6C 1750 series holds a special place in the hearts and minds of car collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Alfa Romeo was on a roll in the interwar period, designing and racing some of the most desirable and competitive automobiles of that era.
This 6C 1750 SS is a little more special, though. Chassis number 0312898 was delivered to Benito Mussolini, and paperwork confirming the dictator's ownership still exists. The totalitarian ruler of Italy has also driven the inline-six racing car in April 1931 from the capital city of Rome to Ostia on the coast, translating to 30 kilometers or so as per Google Maps.
Bodied by Stabilimenti Farina, the 6C 1750 SS was modified in the late '30s in the name of performance, meaning that the fenders were hacked off and the hood gained two intakes. Sold to Renato Tigillo in 1937, the vehicle was then shipped to the Italian colony of Eritrea. That's where the modifications were made, apparently, butchering the car beyond recognition.
Eritrea was popular with Italian gentlemen racers, who took their cars there for hill climbing and street racing. In other words, this bad boy has seen a lot of abuse in hot weather. Fast-forward to the present day, and the current owner shipped the car to classic car specialist Thornley Kelham in the United States for a nut-and-bold restoration.
The company was tasked to return the 6C 1750 SS to its original state from 1929, the same condition it left the Stabilimenti Farina factory in Torino. If the name sounds eerily familiar, that's because Battista Farina broke away from his brother's carrozzeria to establish Pininfarina in 1930.
Thornley Kelham needs several thousand hours to get 0312898 back to its former glory, a painstaking amount of time that includes fabricating parts from scratch. In other words, it'll take more than a year, probably two to get the ex-Mussolini car from zero to hero.
Back when it was new, the 6C 1750 was offered with either a naturally aspirated engine or a supercharged option. 153 kph (95 mph) is the most you could get from this powerplant and the four-speed manual transmission, and until 1933, Alfa Romeo produced 2,635 examples of the breed.
1929 is the year the 6C 1750 won the Mille Miglia and various Grands Prix across Europe. The following year, the bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful machine took outright victories at the Mille Miglia and 24 Hours of Spa.