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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Unique coach-built Alfa Romeo to be auctioned by Car & Classic

UK
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Automobile Magazine
Editor | News | United Kingdom

Car & Classic, Europe’s largest online marketplace for classic and niche vehicles is set to auction a one-off, coach built 1995 Alfa Romeo Castagna Vittoria.

The working prototype is based on an Alfa Romeo 75, already regarded as a desirable Italian classic, and was produced by the historic coach builders Carrozzeria Castagna. Originally founded in 1849 in Milan, the company is best known for trimming coaches on the Orient Express, and the creation of radical and innovative vehicles such as the ALFA Aerodynamica.

After its collapse in 1954, the brand was revived in 1995 and presented its first model, this Castagna Vittoria, at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Although based on the 75, it bears more resemblance to the striking SZ. Up front, the overhanging nose juts out over the iconic Trilobo-motif grille, the profile features a ‘c-line’ around the windows akin to 21st-century Bugattis and the rear is dominated by a distinctive Kamm tail. Unlike most concept cars, however, this one drives, and drives well.

It is powered by Alfa Romeo’s much-loved 3.0-litre ‘Busso’ V6 that produces 255hp at 5740rpm, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The suspension has been uprated and now features Koni coaxial shock absorbers all-round and independent coil springs up front. Adding new Brembo 6-piston self-ventilating disc brakes to the package means this Alfa Romeo is a serious driver’s car, rare for often powerless concept cars.

Once a standard method of automotive construction and design, coachbuilding is now almost exclusively reserved for low-volume and high-end vehicles. This is due to the high proportion of hand-built, bespoke parts, such as the ones found on the Castagna Vittoria. The base Alfa Romeo 75 has been entirely rebuilt, re-bodied and retrimmed in its transformation. The aluminium body panels have been hand-hammered over the steel frame, and the interior has been overhauled with dark green leather, sporty Alcantara and carved wooden trim elements with Vittoria branding.

The Alfa is numbered and stamped as ‘Car 0001’ and comes with all of its identification and restoration paperwork, as well as the base car’s original manual, and even an ABC miniature of the car presented on a display plaque.

First presented at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, the car has attended numerous prestigious events since. Amongst these are the 1995 Mille Miglia, ‘The Uniques’ in 2010, and Essen’s ‘Techno Classica’ in 2012, where it won the Youngtimer Award. In between shows, the car has spent many years in storage and has only covered 2,500km from new. Low mileage and careful upkeep leave the Alfa Romeo in excellent mechanical order. The Castagna Vittoria will be again displayed on the Car & Classic stand at Milano Autoclassica, in Milan, Italy, from 17 – 19 November. This will give potential bidders a chance to inspect the listing up close and give the public an opportunity to admire one of the rarest Alfa Romeos in existence.

“Alfa Romeo is near-universally admired by all petrolheads, and Car & Classic is one of the best places to discover these Italian icons across a huge range of budgets,” explains Car & Classic’s head of editorial Dale Vinten. “This Castagna Vittoria is as exclusive as it gets, and a glorious callback to a bolder and more bespoke era of car design.”

Car & Classic’s auction of the 1995 Alfa Romeo Castagna Vittoria runs from 15 – 22 November and is expected to fetch between £125k and £135k.

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