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1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS 'Flying Star'

The 6C 1750 Gran Sport 'Flying Star' was specifically created by Touring of Milan for the 1931 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Also fitted to a Fiat and Isotta Fraschini chassis, the 'Flying Star' design featured beautiful flowing lines highlighted by the split running boards. Unique to the Alfa Romeo was the competition-inspired, one-piece windshield that resembled the two small windscreens used by the competition 6C 1750s.

Finished in a spectacular off-white throughout, the Alfa Romeo 'Flying Star' was entered in the Concorso d'Eleganza by model and loyal Touring customer Josette Pozzo. No judge could resist their combined beauty, and the striking 6C 1750 was named best of the show and received the coveted 'Coppa d'Oro.' What happened to the car next, we do not know. Still, it eventually resurfaced in the United States around the turn of the century.

Perhaps not as well known as later models, the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 is one of the quintessential Alfa Romeos of its era. First introduced as a replacement for the 6C 1500 in 1929, the 6C 1750 evolved from a relatively simple road car to a very sophisticated racing machine in the five years it was produced. One of the critical elements in progress was designer Vittorio Jano, lured to Alfa Romeo from his former employer Fiat by Enzo Ferrari.

Jano's first design for Alfa Romeo was the 6C 1500, which featured a small six-cylinder engine with a single overhead camshaft. Competition versions of this relatively small Alfa Romeo were quite successful, with a highlighted victory in the 1928 running of the Mille Miglia. At the 1929 Rome Motorshow, the 6C 1750 was introduced. Technically it was almost identical to the 6C 1500, with the enlarged engine as the most significant difference.

First and foremost, the 6C 1750 was intended to carry larger and heavier fixed head bodies. More importantly, it was fitted with a double overhead camshaft engine, which would form the base for a series of very successful competition engines. The first model available, the Turismo, was equipped with a 3.1-meter wheelbase. Soon after, a shorter wheelbase version, dubbed Sport, was launched. The most powerful version was the Super Sport, which was fitted with a 95 bhp supercharged engine.

Production of the Sport and Super Sport lasted for only two years. The replacements were the Naturally Aspirated Gran Turismo and supercharged Gran Sport. With a wheelbase of just over 2.7 meters, the Gran Sport was the most powerful and shortest series. It is this model that is best known of all 6C 1750s produced. The final evolution was a further modified Gran Sport, built in 1933. It was equipped with various chassis modifications compared to earlier models.

As was common practice in the day, the cars were delivered as rolling chassis for the coach-builders to the body. Most of the 6C 1750s were bodied by Italian coach builders, with Zagato and Touring being responsible for the bulk of these. Other notable coach builders were Castagna and Stabilimenti Farina. Zagato's bodies were mainly chosen for the competition cars because of their lightweight.

In 1933 the Gran Sport model was replaced by the 8C 2300, which shared the Gran Sport's essential design elements. The Turismo was replaced by a series of six-cylinder cars, of which the production would last until the outbreak of the Second World War. All of Alfa Romeo's successful competition models of the 1930s built on the lessons learned in the development of the 6C 1750. Jano's double overhead camshaft design would remain unchanged and proved a winning formula in Grand Prix and Sports car racing.

Sources:; Touring Superleggera