February 2017 41st Salon Retromobile
The Salon Retromobile 2017 was held 8-12 February at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center in Paris, France. The 41st annual Retromobile again focused entirely on classic collector cars, with more than 90,000 enthusiasts visiting the 550 booths spread over 60,000 square feet of exhibition space. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Ferrari has a place all of its own in the automotive industry’s hall of fame and the Italian brand with the prancing horse emblem continues to make dreamers out of grown-ups and little ones.
This year our booth had three cars displayed including the 1960 Alfa Romero Superflow IV, 1960 Ferrari 250 GT with body by Drogo and the oldest Alfa Romeo in existence, the 1921 G1.
1960 Alfa Romeo Superflow
Chassis 00128 originally started life as one of six works cars built for the 1953 season. The 6C 3000 CM was a highly sophisticated machine with a steel tubular spaceframe chassis, independent front suspension and a DeDion rear axle. The engine was the latest development of Alfa Romeo's fabled twin-cam straight six. Displacing just under 3.5 litres and breathing through six Weber carburettors, it produced around 275 hp. Fitted with a Coupe body created by Colli, chassis 00128 is understood to have been used by Juan Manuel Fangio to finish second at the 1953 Mille Miglia.
With the Colli bodied removed, the low and compact chassis provided the Pinin Farina designers with plenty of room to be very creative. Known as the Superflow, the first show car based on the 6C 3000 CM was launched at the 1956 Turin Motor Show. It boasted a futuristic design with open front wheels covered by plexiglass panels. These also doubled as headlight covers. To relay the car's origins, a prominent Alfa Romeo grille adorned the low nose. Plexiglass was also used for the roof, which featured hinged, 'gullwing' sections. In keeping with the times, the tail sported prominent fins.
Later that year it appeared as the Superflow II in Paris repainted from its original white with a black stripe to red with a white stripe. The restyled and much sharper nose featured more conventional steel fenders. Plexiglass was only used for the headlight covers. The car was redone once more for the 1959 Geneva Motor Show, dubbed the Spyder Super Sport or Superflow III. As the name suggests, it boasted an open roof and the finned tail was replaced by a more elegant round rear end. The nose of the now all white show car was unchanged with the exception of the deleted headlight covers.
A few months later, Pinin Farina showed the ex-Fangio Alfa Romeo for one final time, at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show. Incorporating the best features of the previous versions, the car was now dubbed the Coupe Super Sport Speciale or Superflow IV. The plexiglass headlight covers returned as did the domed roof. This time the panels were not hinged but could could actually slide down and back underneath the rear window. As a result, the Superflow IV could be used as both a Coupe and Spyder. The elegant tail design of the Superflow III was retained.
1960 Ferrari GT Drogo
The Drogo was designed by Piero Drogo who was born in Italy. Drogo began racing in Venezuela in the 1950s. His best result came in 1956 when he finished seventh in the Venezuelan Grand Prix. The following year he won his class in the Buenos Aires 1000 in Argentina and a year later he decided to head for Europe where he raced at LeMans in a Ferrari. He went into the coach-building business, Carrozzeria Sports Cars in Modena, and created bodywork for a variety of customers, notably Ferrari.
1921 Alfa Romeo G1
The Alfa Romeo G1 two-seat sports roadster is the oldest Alfa Romeo in existence, the very first vehicle designed specially as an Alfa Romeo. There were only 52 of these magnificent creations built, powered by a 6.3-liter side-valve six-cylinder engine. The G1 was designed by Giuseppe Merosi. With its large six-cylinder engine it was the largest engine ever fitted to an Alfa Romeo to date. With increasing gas prices and roughly six miles to a gallon, the car was not popular with many, thus the reason for only 52 being created. It was fitted with a four-speed manual gearbox and semi-elliptical front springs and dual quarter-elliptic at the rear. The brake was mechanical on the rear wheels. The engine was featured two cast-iron blocks each comprised of three cylinders. It was capable of producing 70 horsepower and an astonishing 216 foot-pounds of torque.This particular G1 has a very interesting history, beginning in Australia where it was sold for 850 pounds to a businessman who, soon after, went bankrupt. The car was hidden to keep it away from creditors but three years later the man died. The G1 remained hidden for 25 years.It was discovered around 1947 by young farmers. The vehicle was used to round up cattle, chase kangaroos and other farm chores. An unfortunate accident occurred when the G1 had a brush with a tree. The damaged car was brought back to the farm where it was used to power a water pump. It continued this duty until 1964 when it was rescued by Alfa Romeo enthusiasts. The car has been restored a number of times. Shown at 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d Elegance achieving 3rd in class.
January 2017 Arizona Concours D'Elegance Post-War European Sports Cars 1st in Class
Garry Peters was beaming as the judges at the prestigious Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the famed Arizona Biltmore Hotel handed him the best-in-class ribbon for his freshly restored 1960 Ferrari GT250 Series II Cabriolet. It was the first international show for the Ferrari sports car, with body by Pininfarina, that Garry and his wife Victoria had pursued for years. This particular car had been delivered new to Italian royalty and was number eight off the assembly line, out of the 212 built. Rare is an understatement for this classic Ferrari convertible sports car.
He focused on finding one of the early production Ferrari GT Cabriolets with the rare side vents in the front fenders that were only featured on the first 15 cars off the production line. These cars were a sensation when introduced at the 1959 Paris Auto Show. After months of searching the Internet, he found an example being sold by a dealership in Switzerland. He took the next flight to Geneva to view the car. A Ferrari expert was consulted and confirmed the car was authentic and as delivered. Peters made the purchase.
The car was shipped to the Fast Cars Auto Restoration shop in Redondo Beach, California, for a complete nut-and-bolt restoration down to the last detail. “This company had already restored twenty 250 cabriolets and I knew they were the right people for the job,” he says, noting that every piece of the car was disassembled and worked on until it was perfect. “I thought the car was in good shape until they took it apart. There were holes in the floor boards and other problems.
This car also has pedigree. It was ordered for Princess Maria-Gabrielle de Savoie, the daughter of the last king of Italy. The family had self-exiled to Switzerland and the car was delivered by a dealership in Lausanne owned by famed racecar driver Baron Emmanuel “Toulo” de Graffenreid. For the four years the restoration proceeded, Peters scoured the world for every piece of memorabilia attached to his car. Shown in display cases alongside his restored car are items that include dealers sales handbooks, leather swatches used to select interior colours, a 1960 Ferrari key fob and his and hers 1960 Ferrari watches.