Rare Coachbuilt Alfa Romeo: One of Only 88 Pinin Farina 1900C Cabriolets
Exciting Recent Discovery; Retained by One Owner for over 55 Years
Coachwork by Pinin Farina
Estimate $250,000 - $350,000
Retains Original and Highly Sought-After *Tipo* 1308 Engine
Ideal Restoration Candidate, Never Before Exhibited or Offered for Public Sale
Eligible for Numerous Driving Events and Exclusive Concours d’Elegance
Alfa Romeo’s first new model of the postwar era introduced several innovations that would influence the Italian automaker’s next half-century of sports cars. Debuted at the Paris auto show in 1950, the 1900 Berlina featured such technical advances as unit body construction and a twin-cam, inline four-cylinder engine with an aluminum head and hemispherical combustion chambers.
At the behest of General Manager Iginio Alessio, Alfa Romeo introduced a new 1900 variant for 1951. Called the 1900C – C standing for corto, or short – this updated chassis was shortened by 130 mm and was designed to receive custom coachwork, a proud tradition among Italy’s luxury automakers. Throughout the model’s production run, a remarkable variety of custom-bodied 1900s were constructed by prominent coachbuilders including Bertone, Ghia, Touring, and Zagato.
According to H. J. Döhren’s book Millenove, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina built just 88 Cabriolets and 100 Coupes on the 1900C platform. Given their relatively limited production, these Cabriolets were neither true “one-offs” nor were they completely standardized, but in typical Pinin Farina fashion, they possessed elegant lines, attractive proportions, fine detailing, and superb build quality. In terms of overall design, the Cabriolets built by Pinin Farina for Alfa Romeo were quite similar to those fitted to Lancia, Fiat, and Ferrari chassis of the same period.
The 1900C presented here, chassis 01063, is a truly remarkable discovery – a rare coachbuilt Alfa Romeo that has spent the past three decades hidden in a New Hampshire garage.
The first recorded owner of this Pinin Farina Cabriolet was Leroy Bell Jr., a US Army Sargent stationed at the 7th Evacuation Hospital in Darmstadt, Germany. In September 1964, he sold the Alfa Romeo to Barbara Urbielonis, a teacher working at the base’s American Elementary School. Records on file indicate that at the time of her purchase, the Cabriolet was painted blue and had already accrued nearly 90,000 km.
Over the next two years, Ms. Urbielonis had Auto-Friedrich, the local Alfa Romeo agent in Frankfurt, maintain the 1900C. When returning home to New Hampshire in 1966, she brought the prized Pinin Farina Cabriolet with her. Back in the US, the Alfa Romeo was driven occasionally until 1983, when it was finally parked in her home garage.
Today, the unrestored 1900C shows 98,615 km on the odometer – about 10,000 km more than it had in the mid-1960s. Although the Cabriolet is in need of a comprehensive restoration, the distinctive Pinin Farina bodywork – now finished in off-white with red upholstery – remains largely intact, with most of its important components and trim in place. Notably, this 1900C retains its original and highly sought-after tipo 1308 engine, as well as its original US Forces in Germany registration plate and more recent New Hampshire vanity plates – complete with matching key chain tag. In addition to these notable features, this Alfa Romeo is offered with a file of records dating from its time in Germany, including paperwork relating to insurance, registration, and mechanical repairs.
Presented for public sale for the first time, fresh from 56 years in the hands of one owner, this unrestored Alfa Romeo is a most exciting find. We have no doubt that this rare coachbuilt 1900C Cabriolet will spark tremendous interest when it finally returns to the public eye.
*Please note that this vehicle has been in long-term static storage and may not be currently operational. It will require mechanical attention prior to road use.