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6C 2300 B Mille Miglia
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  Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 B Mille Miglia

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1938 - 1939
Numbers built:107
Designed by:Touring
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 15, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionSix years after Vittorio Jano's 1500 'six' put Alfa Romeo on the automotive map, the Italian manufacturer launched the fourth incarnation of the engine. After being upgraded to 1750 and 1900, the new version displaced just over 2.3 litres. The engine was very similar to the previous units and was constructed from cast iron and light alloy. The state of the art valve-train consisted of two overhead camshafts actuating two valves per cylinder. In its initial form the 2300 produced just under 70 bhp.

The first car equipped with the new engine was the 6C 2300 Turismo, which was launched at the 1934 Milan Motorshow. This Castagna bodied four door saloon was later joined by the Alfa Romeo constructed Gran Turismo, which was fitted on a shorter wheelbase chassis. A high compression engine producing 95 bhp formed the basis for the sporty twin Carburettor Pescara model. Of this high performance model just 60 examples were constructed. It was named after the 6C 2300 filled all podium places of the Pescara-Targa Abruzzo 24 Hours race. The Pescara model followed the specifications of the race winning machine.

Only a year later a heavily modified version was introduced, simply dubbed 6C 2300 B. The engine was only slightly refined, but many of the chassis and suspension components were brand new. Derived from the marque's racing cars, the suspension was now independent all around with wishbones at the front and swing axles at the rear. Another big improvement was the revised aerodynamic styling, which improved top speeds by quite a bit. The line up remained unchanged with the long wheelbase Turismo, and the shorter Gran Turismo and Pescara models.

Minor modifications were made for 1938 when the second series of the 6C 2300 B was presented. The Turismo and Gran Turismo models were now simply known as the LWB and SWB. A class winning performance in the 1937 Mille Miglia led to a name change from Pescara to MM for the high performance version. Production lasted until 1939, when the 2300 B was replaced by the 6C 2500, which would serve up to 1952.

Although the performance of the 6C Alfa Romeo might seem poor for today's standards, they were true exotics in their day. In fact the combination of all-round independent suspension and a twin cam engine was far from the norm half a century later. Unfortunately the six-cylinder Alfas are often overshadowed by the voluptuous custom coach-built French cars of the same era, but unlike these the 6C managed to combine good looks with a refined chassis and engine.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications