It’s difficult to pick any one car from Alfa Romeo’s illustrious history for our ‘Throwback Thursday’ feature, just to mention Alfa Romeo will make most petrolheads go weak at the knees as images of beautiful cars fill their thoughts. Perusing through the Italian carmakers back catalogue with FCA Heritage, amongst the Montreal, Spider, Giulia and many, many more my eyes fall on the 1900 Super Sprint…
The 1900 family proved to be increasingly versatile, performing perfectly on the road and the race track alike. So, Alfa engineers decided to prepare a “Super” engine capable of going even faster.
In 1954, to honour the advertising claim that called the 1900 the “family car that wins races” and to make the engine more powerful, Alfa Romeo increased piston bore by 2 mm, upping displacement to 1975 cm3 (from the original 1884 cm3) and upgrading performance as a result.
These new versions were differentiated by adding the word “Super” to the designation. The range spawned three new models – the 1900 Super, the 1900 Super T.I. and the 1900 Super Sprint coupé. The Super model delivered 90 hp, while the T.I. Super and Super Sprint with double barrel carburettors unleashed 115 hp.
The Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint, designed and assembled with Touring Superleggera bodywork, like the earlier Sprint models, had a structural steel supporting chassis and an aluminium body, with the same mechanical architecture as the other 1900 models – independent front suspension, rigid rear axle with triangular central arm and four drum brakes. Unlike the previous Sprint models, these cars fitted a 5-speed gearbox.
From 1955 to 1958, 599 units of the Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint were made, in two series, the first with the gear lever at the steering wheel and the second, like the last models of the first series, with a sporty gear lever arrangement on the central tunnel.
The 1900 family was completed by the elegant convertible made by Pinin Farina and an original three-door body made by coachbuilder Boano called the Primavera (Spring), also available in a two-colour version. The Touring coupés and Pinin Farina convertible featured in the range sold directly by Alfa Romeo dealers.
But the most powerful and eye-popping creation was undoubtedly the 1900 C52, an experimental sports racing car better known as the “Disco Volante” (Flying Saucer), which was also bodied by Touring. Its output was boosted to 158 hp and the racing tubular chassis lowered the overall weight to 735 kg for a top speed of 220 km/h.
The 1900 Super Sprint was held in high consideration by gentleman drivers and private teams as the winning car in its category. Its road holding, speed and reliability qualities made it the successful model in its displacement category in the Touring class and with the Touring coupé also in the GT category. The cars took part in various speed and endurance races, often obtaining excellent results on the track and on the road both in Italy and abroad.