1930 ALFA ROMEO 6C 1750 GS Testa Fissa
Period Brooklands history
Rare Testa Fissa engine
Ex Captain George Eyston
We are proud to offer for sale this highly historic supercharged Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS raced by Captain George Eyston at Brooklands.
Created by legendary engineer Vittorio Jano, the Alfa Romeo 6C is rightly regarded as one of the greatest automobiles of all time. The ultimate development of the 1750 twin-overhead cam was the Testa Fissa where the cylinder block and head were a single casting. Termed a 'fixed head' or Testa Fissa in Italian, these engines were stronger for competition use and historians believe only twelve cars were supplied with Testa Fissa units.
According to the original continuation UK log book on file chassis 8513025 was registered GF 5733 on the twelfth April 1930.
The car was originally commissioned by Brooklands racing driver Ronald Stewart and was designed in collaboration with the famed racer, Captain George Eyston.
Well known as racing driver and record breaker, Eyston broke the World Land Speed Record at 357mph in ‘Thunderbolt’ on the Bonneville Speed Flats in 1938.
In a letter to the previous owner contained in the history file, Eyston confirms that both he and British Alfa Romeo Concessionaire Fred Stiles test drove the 6C in Milan before agreeing its purchase. Once the rolling chassis arrived in the UK, Eyston and fellow Brooklands racer Ronald Stewart commissioned A.E. Leadbetter of South London to build an aerodynamic body with a wind-cheating radiator cowl.
On inspection of photographs of the car competing at Brooklands in period it appears to have been finished in silver or light grey.
Sir Ronald Stewart confirmed by letter in 1954 that the car 'is certainly the one which I originally purchased early in 1930, and was raced by me at Brooklands.' 'On May 1st, 1930, Captain George Eyston and myself attacked various records at Brooklands and obtained the British record, 3 hours, at 96.30MPH and five International class records (E) average 95.05 MPH for 12 hours.' 'The car was fitted with a special light-weight aluminium body, with a single row of louvers on each side...' 'As a matter of interest, apart from winning various prizes in 1930, I also entered the car for the 500 miles race at Brooklands on Saturday, October 4th 1930, when I had as my co-driver Mr. C.R. Grant, and we finished 8th, at an average of 98.81MPH.'
Eyston successfully competed with the Alfa at Brooklands throughout the 1930 season, breaking records in numerous categories, the pinnacle of which was a fastest lap of 114.49mph. A high-ratio rear axle was fitted by Fred Stiles at the time which is still on the car today.
Eyston sold the 6C to another member of the Stewart Family at the end of the 1930 season, via Fred Stiles. According to the log book, by 1949 the car was in the possession of Vic Derrington of tuning fame. Around this time the rear of the lightweight body was replaced as it was described in the log book as having a red four-seater touring body. The bulkhead, bonnet and radiator are confirmed as original and as it would have first arrived in the UK.
In 1951 Derrington offered the 6C for sale. A letter on file from Derrington to the car’s next owner, Geoffrey Wilson of Lancashire (chairman of the UK Alfa Romeo Club) confirmed the car is Eyston's old car and that it had recently undergone extensive refurbishment and stated 'it must not be taken that the car was in a dilapidated condition. It has apparently been carefully used during the whole of its lifetime'.
The log book then records the next owner as a Mr. Ian Gunn of Malvern Link who acquired the car on November 13th 1953 and kept it for the next 55 years. Gunn corresponded with Ronald Stewart and George Eyston about the car and the letters remain on file.
Gunn migrated to Canada and America in the 1960s and removed the by now damaged four seater body tub to make it easier to ship. It was garaged at his home in Mount Kisco, New York for decades alongside his Ferrari 375 MM. Its current owner was a friend of Gunn's for years and ultimately was able purchase the 6C prior to his death.
Since its acquisition in 2008 the car has been restored to its original Brooklands appearance. The car retained its original bulkhead, bonnet and radiator (which had holes still present for fixing the aerodynamic cowl) and only required a replacement passenger tub and nose cowl which were expertly created by renowned UK coachbuilder Gary Pitney.
The engine was rebuilt by the current engineer owner with the original single dual-throat Memini carburettor and UK pre-war Alfa Romeo specialist Jim Stokes supplied supercharger parts to enable the engine to produce around 140bhp.
The additional Brooklands competition body parts can be easily removed for road use, as we believe they would have been in period. A standard Gran Sport-style windscreen and frame are included and can be fitted along with cycle wings and lights.
Once completed the 6C was displayed at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and the Royal Concours at Hampton Court the same year.
This highly important Alfa Romeo has had only two owners since 1953 is offered in sensitively restored condition and ready for its next owner. With current FIVA papers it is potentially eligible for multiple events including Mille Miglia and is accompanied by a comprehensive history file containing period correspondence, copy invoices and many period photographs of the car competing at Brooklands.