Vintage Vehicles

Rita Hayworth and her Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 gave good face

Rita Hayworth drove a gray Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 to her wedding.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

By the time the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 with coachbuilding by Touring made its debut in the spring of 1949, actress Rita Hayworth was already in her prime. A bona fide screen siren in the Golden Age of cinema, Hayworth spent the '40s starring in a number of well-regarded films including "Down to Earth" (1940), "Tales of Manhattan" (1942), "You'll Never Get Rich" (1941), "Blood and Sand" (1941), "The Lady from Shanghai" (1947), "Cover Girl" (1944), and "Gilda" (1946).

The 6C 2500 Villa d'Este model quickly became regarded as the peak of beauty, just as Hayworth had in the years earlier, gracing soldiers' walls during World War II.

The Alfa had been created custom, also like Hayworth, who changed her name and appearance in an effort to attract the right type of attention in Hollywood.

Early years

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport (1939)

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Like Hayworth, the 6C 2500 was launched in the 30s. It was produced at the Portello factory, which was run by engineer Ugo Gobbato, a man with a strong background in mechanical engineering who made every effort to improve efficiency. He implemented new standards and methods in the process, even writing two books about the subject.

Gobbato's efforts focused on retail production, but not mass production. He hired a generation of young engineers, and established a clear heirarchy giving workers precise roles and corresponding salaries.

The 6C 2500 was a direct descendant of the 2300 B, with innovative equipment for its time including a rear torsion bar suspension with telescopic shock absorbers and hydraulic brakes replacing outdated equipment.

Model upgrades

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Corsa (1939)

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

With the performance upgrades, the the model was able to handle a more invigorating drive than its predecessor. Its Super Sport variant now produced 110 horsepower and it was capable of reaching 105.6 mph.

Hayworth too was a model that upgraded the previous generation. Actress Jean Harlow was the original bottle blonde bombshell, playing what has become known as the typical sex symbol, before the auburn-tinted-haired Hayworth arrived on the scene. Harlow passed away in 1939 and Hayworth picked up the torch, ushering in a new era of Hollywood glamour.

Hayworth was just one of the many smoldering sirens Hollywood propelled to the front. Her contemporaries, including Gene Tierney, Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall, Hedy Lamarr, and Joan Crawford all fit similar molds with sharp cheekbones, perfectly coifed hair, and sparkling eyes, but had different audiences.

Alfa Romeo was designing the 6C the same way. There were five- and seven-seat versions. Sport and Super Sport wheelbases. Price tags tens of thousands of lire apart. Like it did in Hollywood, the variety worked for audiences.

World War II

While Hayworth's pictures were being distributed widely by troops during World War II, so were bombs. They rained down upon Alfa Romeo's Portello factory from 1943 to 1944 damaging it extensively. Other Italian automakers suffered similar fates including Pininfarina and Fiat.

The company rebounded, if ever so slightly, in 1945, producing a handful of versions of the 6C 2500 Sport. The next year was better, with 146 models produced between finished cars and chassis sent to coachbuilders.

One of the chassis models made its way to the Paris Motor Show in 1946, where the famous Battista "Pinin" Farina stunt took place, despite the fact that Italian made cars were banned from attending.

VIP treatment

Tyrone Power Marries Linda Christian Rome

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

American actor Tyrone Power drove his Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 while in Rome. While there he fell in love with another auburn-haired actress, Linda Christian, and married her (pictured above). They were married in Rome and over 8,000 fans turned up to cheer them on outside the church and riot squad was required to hold the crowd back.

Juan Peron Evita Eva Peron 1947 Italy tour

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

Agentina's President Juan Peron and his wife Eva "Evita" were driven around in a 6C convertible in 1947 (pictured above) as part of their famed European tour, which was memorialized in the hit Broadway musical "Evita".

King Farouk of Egypt and Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, who would go on to marry his own Hollywood sex symbol in 1956, Grace Kelly, ordered the model.

On May 27, 1949, Hayworth arrived at the town hall in Cannes to marry Prince Aly Kahn driving a 6C 2500 that she had gotten as a wedding present. The car had a gray body, dark blue hood, and upholstery designed to match Hayworth's outfit.

6C 2500 SS Coupé Villa d'Este

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d'Este (1949)

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 6C 2500 SS Coupé Villa d'Este was one of the last Alfas to be built with the frame and body separate. Only 36 of them were made, each one unique. This particular model was different than the others crafted by Touring coachbuilders. Designer Bianchi Anderloni gave the headlights new integration, superimposed elongated cooling sockets, integrated the wheel arches into the bodywork, and split and inclined the windscreen. Its rear was low and pronounced.

Neither the 6C nor Hayworth's story ends there. Both live on - one on display, the other forever displayed on the screen.

Trending News

 
 

The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

Trending News

 
 

A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

Trending News