Classic and vintage car restoration specialist Thornley Kelham is undertaking its most challenging project yet with a complete nut-and-bolt concours-standard restoration of a rare Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, with an even more extraordinary history. This particular Alfa Romeo comes complete with records showing the car was delivered to its first owner, II Duce Benito Mussolini, on the 13th January 1930, for Lire 60,000.
The Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS was one of the most popular and successful sports-racing cars of its day, as demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than 13 competed in the 1929 Mille Miglia, of which 8 finished, seven among the first ten including overall winner and third place.
Extensive research by Thornley Kelham tracked down period black and white images of the exact car in Archivio Luce (the main archive for Cinecitta) in Italy, taken on 29 April 1931, showing Mussolini driving the car, as well as footage of Mussolini driving the car whilst leading ‘II Radio Auto-Raduno’ on a section of the rally from Roma to Ostia. It is these early images and film footage that help fie the clearest indication of the Alfa Romeo’s original appearance.
The chassis, rear axle and gearbox are original to the car. With in-house paint, engine and body shops, Thornley Kelham is widely regarded for the quality of its award-winning restorations of historically significant, often unique vehicles across a variety of marques.
The team have now been tasked by the car’s new owner with recreating the car’s original 1930 appearance which will involve several thousand hours of fabrication, engineering and assembly by its highly skilled workshop technicians.
Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham, said: “This Alfa Romeo presents us with perhaps our greatest test to date. Over the course of its extraordinary life it has been graced with a beautiful hand-crafted body from Stabilimenti Farina, owned and piloted by one of the world’s most (in)famous dictators. Our challenge now is to restore it to the condition it first left Stabilimenti Farina’s carrozzeria, based on further painstaking research and thousands of hours of expert craftsmanship.
“Automotive history like this has to be preserved, and we are delighted to be involved in the latest page in its amazing story.”