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for its time including a rear torsion bar suspension with telescopic shock absorbers and hydraulic brakes replacing outdated equipment.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.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Audi is only making the car for U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2021 Audi R8 Panther special edition is one of the rarer gifts you can get for your garage this holiday season. With a limited run of 30 coupes in the works, the R8 Panther edition models are the first available units in the R8 rear-wheel-drive model line and available only for U.S. customers.

If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because it should. The R8 Panther edition joins the 2019 RS 5 Panther edition, which was also a limited run and featured the same paint color and interior upholstery.

2021 Audi R8 Panther The hallmarks of the model include its black paint job and red-edged wheels.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The unique 2021 R8 Panther comes covered in an Audi-exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint job with carbon exterior mirror housings. Its badging has been coated in black. The model rides on 20-inch five-double-spoke dynamic design wheels that have been milled cut, finished in matte black with red trim, and wrapped in summer performance tires.

Your neighbors will hear you leaving the cul-de-sac thanks to the car's sport exhaust system, which amplifies the sound of the V10 engine. LED headlights and LED taillights, with dynamic turn signals will help their eyes follow your path on the way out as they peer out their windows.

The R8 Panther is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V1 engine that produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It has a top track speed of 201 mph.

The chassis of the R8 Panther edition has been specifically adapted for rear-wheel drive, including using solid rear axles as opposed to hollow, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber.

2021 Audi R8 Panther

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model has a full black leather interior with Crimson red stitching. Its racing shells seats are covered in red Nappa leather and have power height and manual fore/art seat adjustment. The car's gear selector and parcel shelf are covered in Alcantara, and the headliner features a diamond-stitched Alcantara. Audi has given the model a brand-exclusive steering wheel with leather/Alcantara and 12 o'clock marker as well as exclusive R8 floor mats with Crimson red leather edging.

Audi virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone interface, Audi phone box with signal booster, navigation, a 13-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system, and illuminated door sill inlays are included.

A carbon exterior package adds carbon fiber to the engine compartment and carbon sigma sideblades while the carbon interior package adds carbon fiber high-gloss surrounds for both the virtual cockpit and the air vents, as well as the center console.

The 2021 R8 Panther edition will be available in select dealerships this month with an MSRP of $183,300. There is an additional $1,495 destination charge, $1,700 gas guzzler tax, sales taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

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BMW is adding new racing experiences to the roster at is Performance Center West.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW Performance Center Driving Schools have added to their curriculum offerings with the BMW M and M4 GT4 Experience, the M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data and Video Session, and the Race Licensing School. All courses are offered at their driving school in Thermal, California.

BMW M and M4 GT4 Experience

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

This full day program carries a $2,795 price tag and includes driving various BMW M cars and the M4 GT4 race car. Attendees start their day with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique then they receive an overview of the car and are outfitted with a racing suit and helmet. Next, they head to the Thermal Club track and get in some guided laps behind a BMW instructor, experiencing speeds up to 140 mph I the M4 GT4 race car.

The M4 GT4 model driven is the exact same as the race car driven in series around the world. It's powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces more than 430 horsepower while the rear wing, front splitter, and Continental racing tires make this car stick to the track through the corners.

Each session includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Access to professional instructors, trackside crew and support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at the BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage

BMW M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data & Video (Half Day)

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

This half-day, $4,995 program includes 125 miles of track driving in the M4 GT4 race car. Students start with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique before being outfitted for their M4 GT4 driving session. The class includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Time in the BMW M4 GT4 race car, one professional instructor and trackside support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at the BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage.
  • More miles can be purchased on the day of training. The program is designed for one driver. However, two drivers sharing a car can be arranged upon request.
  • The schedule is flexible. Please call 888-345-2269, and one of the BMW Performance Center driving instructors will reply to answer any questions and schedule the coaching session. Discounts are not allowed for this program

BMW M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data & Video (Full Day)

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

For $9,995, students get a full-day private program that includes 250 miles of track driving in the M4 GT4 race car. The days starts with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique before being fitted out for their M4 GT4. The class includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Time in the BMW M4 GT4 race car, one professional instructor and trackside support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at our BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage.
  • More miles can be purchased on the day of training. The program is designed for one driver. However, two drivers sharing a car can be arranged upon request.

Race License School: The Path to Professional

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

After you've been through BMW's Advanced M School or the Two-Day M School, BMW Performance offers a SCCA-certified school to take your skills to the next level on your way to becoming a pro driver. Students can add the one-day school to an Advanced M School or Two-Day M School session and get qualified all at once.What will be learned:

  • Learn the colors. Green. Yellow. Red - No there aren't any traffic lights on the track. But there are flags, and you'll learn what each represents while you're out there to maintain safety.
  • Passing. Don't let off. - Start off with you in a BMW, behind your instructor in theirs. They will coach you through the art of passing under both braking and acceleration. Then, we'll bring on a classmate and coach you both as you battle for first place.
  • Keep Rollin'. Practice race starts - In racing, how you start can impact how you finish, and we'll show you how to get started right in a grid set up, as well as rolling starts. Learn how to navigate with other cars on track while setting up for that first turn.

Additional information be found at https://bmwperformancecenter.com. Courses can be booked online or by calling 1-888-345-4BMW.

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