Design

Post-restoration, two historic Alfa Romeos show off classic coachbuilding at its finest

Two unique Alfa Romeos will be displayed at the Concours d'Elegance in September.

Photo courtesy of Concours of Elegance

The Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B and 2500 were among the most expensive cars in the world during the 1930s and 1940s. Fully restored versions of the two cars will be on display at this year's Concours d'Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on September 4-6, 2020.

The 6C line was produced between 1927 and 1954, taking its name from the six-cylinder engines the model had under their hood. The cars' engines were designed by Vittorio Jano, an engineer who spent time at Fiat before coming over to Alfa Romeo. They combined with an independent suspension and hydraulic brakes to help the 6C win a number of racing victories over its lifespan including first and second place finished in their classes at the 1937 Mille Miglia; 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the 1937 Targa Abruzzo in Pescara; a victory again at Pescara in 1938; and the top spot at the Targa Florio in 1950.

1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B 

1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B

Photo courtesy of Concours d'Elegance

1951 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS

1951 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS

Photo courtesy of Concours d'Elegance

Their engines weren't the focus, however. Each of the models' bodies were built by coachbuilders. In the early 20th Century, coach building was for the world's elite. The cars with customized cabins were more elegant and expensive than the Dodge Custom and the Buick Series 40.

The Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B going on display this September has a body designed by Swiss coach builder Graber. It's one of four that Graber built in a cabriolet style and the only existing model with a Mille Miglia-specification engine and chassis. The car was originally ordered by Bruggmuehle Goldach CEO Martin Mueller. At the time Bruggmuehle Goldach was one of the largest wheat mills in Switzerland.

The car underwent a three-year restoration beginning in 2014 and has been returned to the condition it was when Mueller took delivery from Graber.

The 6C 2500 SS succeeded the 2300 in Alfa Romeo's lineup. The model being shown at the Concours is one of four built by Ghia with Supergioiello – or 'Super Jewel' – coachwork, and just one of three that was built on an Alfa Romeo chassis. However, it's the only one built on an advanced tubular chassis produced by Gilco. The running gear, suspension, and brakes are all period Alfa Romeo 6C components which appear to date primarily from 1948.

The 2500 SS was originally ordered by SIRCA, a dealer in Milan, Italy. The dealer served as Carrozzeria Ghia's representative for the region of Lombardy. The car found its way to the U.K. in 1959 and just two years later it was up for sale again, listed at just £895 (around £25,000 today). From there it lived in Austria and the Netherlands before arriving in America in 2016. There, it's owners undertook a 2.5-year restoration process to get the car back to its original specification.

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The 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine delivers big power numbers.

Stellantis

The old saying that there's "no replacement for displacement" isn't quite as accurate as it once was. Turbochargers and the latest engine designs have made it possible to extract major power from smaller, more efficient power plants. Stellantis' latest announcement proves this point, as its new Hurricane inline-six-cylinder engine will generate big power numbers from a relatively modest 3.0 liters and two turbos.

Stellantis says two variants will be available. The standard output version produces more than 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, while a high output variant delivers more than 500 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. The twin-turbo inline-six delivers that power with up to 15 percent better fuel efficiency.

Stellantis Hurricane Inline-SixIt's not yet clear which vehicles will get the engine.Stellantis

The new engine comes as Stellantis works to position itself for an electrified future. The automaker stated a goal of 50 percent a 50 percent battery electric vehicle mix by 2030, but notes that gas engines will still play a major role in its vehicle line for years to come. "The Hurricane twin-turbo is a no-compromise engine that delivers better fuel economy and an important reduction in greenhouse gases without asking our customers to give up performance," said Micky Bly, Stellantis head of propulsion systems.

At this point, it's unclear which vehicles will get the new engine, but Stellantis' brands are packed with opportunities. Dodge, whose Hellcat-powered muscle cars could be a good candidate, and then there's Jeep, with a line of off-road-ready SUVs that could greatly benefit from such an engine. The Hurricane's projected high output of 500 horsepower puts it behind the Hellcat engines power output, but it's still strong enough to make a seriously quick vehicle.

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The majority of new car buyers paid a markup in January 2022.

VW

It's no secret that new car prices are climbing every year, as new technology and features make their way into even the most basic models. The issue is compounded by massive supply chain issues that have caused vehicle shortages for nearly every major automaker. Some dealers are taking advantage of record low inventory levels by marking up prices, and unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to a handful of bad apples. In analyzing recent sale price data, automotive publication Edmunds found that buyers paid a markup in a whopping 82.2 percent of all new vehicle purchases in January 2022, compared to just 2.8 percent a year before. Overall, the average transaction price rose to $728 above MSRP for new car purchases.


Tesla factoryTesla is looking to expand production in the U.S. beyond the confines of its Fremont factory. Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Cadillac buyers saw the largest markups, to the tune of $4,048 on average in January. Land Rover and Kia weren't much better, with average markups of $2,565 and $2,289, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Alfa Romeo buyers got discounts that averaged $3,421, while people who bought Volvo or Lincoln vehicles got smaller discounts of $869 and $510, respectively.

Some automakers have taken a stand against dealer markups and the general lack of transparency seen in pricing across the board. Ford and General Motors have been vocal in recent months, threatening to withhold inventory from dealers found to be slapping markups on new vehicles. As Edmunds notes, both automakers have important vehicle launches on the horizon that neither can afford to flub, and inconsistent pricing or markups is a good way to alienate new customers out of the gate.


Cadillac EscaladeCadillac buyers paid the largest markups of any brand. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

If you're thinking of shopping for a new car, the best way to avoid paying a markup is to wait. The pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues have thrown kinks into every automaker's operations that will take time to iron out. That said, it's clear that some brands are committed to having no funny business when it comes to dealerships' pricing and communication. It's possible to get a vehicle at MSRP, or even below in some cases, so if you're in a position that requires you to buy a new car, shop around to get the best deal.

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