Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Pescara Spider Zagato by Cognalato

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Alfa Romeo


6C 2300 Pescara Spider Zagato by Cognalato





The 6C 2300 (2309 cc) was designed by Vittorio Jano as a lower-cost alternative to the 8C. In 1934 Alfa Romeo had become a state-owned enterprise. This year was presented a new 6C model with a newly designed, larger engine.

The Turismo version of the new car was presented at the Motor Show in Milan in April 1934, replacing the 6C1750 and 6C1900 models, and after this, all the 6-cylinder models no longer had an official supercharged sport version. It is interesting to note that, in establishing an ideal continuity in the succession of models, after the 6C 1900 Gran Turismo of 1933, called the 6th series after 1500T, 1500SS, 1750T, 1750GT and 1750GS. The newcomer was called Turismo and Gran Turismo 7th series in the factoy internal production reports. Designed for performance without the complication and expense of superchargers, the 6C 2300 delivered 68 horsepower in Turismo form. It had 4 speed transmission and a side chassis with closed C-section with welded metal plates, rigid axle suspension at the front and back, with semi-elliptic very short front leaf springs and wheelbase 3213mm in length, clutch type shock absorbers.

The body of the first sedans with three lights was developed by Castagna, Touring and Pininfarina. The Gran Turismo version was developed immediately afterwards. It had shortened wheelbase to 2925mm. The compression ratio was slightly increased from 6,5 to 6,75 and the power from 68Hp to 76Hp again at 4400rpm. Chassis technology, however, had been taken from the predecessor. The 2,309cc engine in the 6C 2300 featured a one-piece crankcase/cylinder block and aluminium alloy cylinder head. Camshaft drive was by a combination of roller chain and gears. ‘

1935 was the year of unset of the new independent suspension version of the 6C2300, which came out later that year to be officially unveiled as 6C2300B at the Mila motor show in 1936. It was a transitional production year that saw a queue of 58 cars in various versions of the 6C2300 7th series with rigid axles and 19 with independent wheel suspension, which included the type 3 Pescara. In August 1935 the Air Ministry declared Alfa Romeo to be an “auxiliary plant for the production of military material” and it was decided to increase aviation production. So there was a lot under development but the same resources as before, so in 1936 automobile production fell to a historic low of 18 cars, 13 6C2300B and 5 8C2900.

The 6C 2300B, presented at the Milan motor show in 1936, offered up to 95 horsepower in the short wheelbase chassis. The production was formally started during the summer, supported by the major coachbuilders, but now also available as a pleasant sedan produced by Alfa Romeo. In this version the engine was placed in a completely newly designed chassis, with individual front suspension and rear swing axle, and hydraulic brakes. The wheelbase of the new was increased from 2925 to 3000 mm. The chassis lowered, giving lower centre of gravity and the possibility of adopting slender bodies. The same changes were made to the Pescara, whose engine remained unchanged from the 1934 version.

Small improvements continued on the 2300: for example, in the first series the wheels were 18 by 4.00 with 70 spokes, while in 1937 those of the 6-seater version had 84 spokes and a rim of 18 by 4.50.

The other changes to the 6C2300 were made in 1938, with power of 76Hp and a compression ratio of 7:1 for short model and 72Hp and 6,75:1, still at 4000rpm for long model. The electric pump was replaced with mechanical one with an ignition coil developed by Mabo and the distributor was also changed. The radiator, made larger but lowered and at a great angle, was equipped with a front choke shutter for aeration. The hydraulic rear shock absorbers were also modified, which with clutch absorbers being added, equipped with an adjustment mechanism under the dashboard. The gearbox was also changed: the freewheel was removed, the 3rd and 4th speed synchronisers were mounted, and the transmission shaft became a two piece unit in place of one single piece and was equipped with new elastic joints. Differential with all the ball bearings replaced by roller bearings. Externally, the engine bonnets were lengthened and the roof on short version was lowered, while a new and thinner crown steering wheel was placed inside, as well as new door frames and a flooring that was better soundproofed, lowered seats and instrumentation moved to the right, in front of driver.

The sports version was called the Mille Miglia and no longer Pescara. It had two new Solex 35 AHD single-piece carburettors, a compression ratio of 7,75:1 and 100Hp at 4500rpm using Shell Dynamin super fuel. The chassis is supplied without bodywork while the aerodynamic sedan had Touring bodywork, with a curb weight of about 1300kg and top speed of 160km/h.

The first coachbuilder to grapple with new 2300 was Castagna, with a luxury sedan that had a Long wheelbase chassis and Pininfarina and Boneschi bodywork. The short MM type chassis was first used by the Farina two-seater cabriolet and by Ghia for the 4-seater, the 6-seater Castagna cabriolet with a long chassis, used by Hitler`s visit to Italy.

The 6C-2300 was produced in 760 copies with rigid axles and 870 copies of the B-model. The chassis itself was built around boxed section frame rails and, unusual for its market niche, featured fully independent suspension. Its brakes (large drums with aluminium cooling fins shrunk around the cast iron drums) were very effective for the time and, like the engine, showed Alfa’s continuing emphasis on performance.

The sporting character of the new 6C was demonstrated by competition success, first in the Mille Miglia in 1937 where Giovanbattista Guidotti (who had apparently learned well from previous Mille Miglia co-drives with Nuvolari) and Mussolini’s chauffeur Ercole Boratto finished fourth overall behind the Two-Nines of Pintacuda and Farina and the Delahaye of Schell. Guidotti’s drive in the 6C 2300 earned Alfa the important "National Touring" class laurels.

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