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Old 03-01-2007, 03:58 PM
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Alfa Romeo RM 1923-1925

Alfa Romeo RM #1
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File Type: jpg ARHA006_RM Sport 1923-1925B.jpg (876.4 KB, 18 views)
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:01 AM
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One of Alfa’s lesser known - indeed, unique - sports models from the past is the extraordinary ‘time warp’ half-track offered here. Complete and original in all known respects, it is believed to be the sole surviving four-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo half-track in the world. The vehicle has spent nearly all its life in the New England area in the USA and was understood to have been exported there from Italy when new to undertake service as winter transport in the mountains, presumably for a wealthy skiing and motoring enthusiast. Due to its remarkable nature the car has survived for more than eighty years in unmolested original condition. After careful checking over by well known Alfa expert Jim Stokes in England the car started on the handle with excellent oil pressure and the entire drive system was operational.

The car is based on an Alfa Romeo RM chassis with the normal 2-litre 4-cylinder RM engine but which has been modified to dry sump specification - no doubt to deal with the inclines and side slopes of mountainous terrain. The track mechanism was built using Citröen patents under licence as proclaimed by a plaque on the wheeled bogey carrying the legend ‘Propulseur – Kegresse-Hinstin (Licence 48) André Citröen’. The front wheel hubs are marked with the Citröen gear motif. The drive system is based on that used in the Citröen Kegresse but the main transmission box is an Alfa Romeo unit made specially for this application and incorporates the original RM transmission brake. The four-speed gearbox feeds via a propshaft into another enormous transmission case, housing a second gearbox with a dual range. The concept of the track laying system was developed by Adolph Kegresse when Technical Manager for Czar Nicholas II as early as 1910. By 1920 Kegresse assisted by Jacques Hinstin was running the department Chenilles for André Boas and André Citröen at Engrenages Citröen, Citröen Gear Company. In 1921 three Kegresse Citröens climbed the Lautaret and crossed the Mont Genevre Pass clearly showing their ability over snow. This RM and its track gear both exhibit early chassis and licence numbers. The RM chassis numbers run from 1923-1924 and are listed as 12001 – 12265 and it is listed that the early numbers were restricted to prototypes which at 12023 could date this vehicle very early in 1924 or possibly even late 1923. At Retromobile in 2005, two Sahara Citröens were on show one with a licence number of 425 thereby showing how early the RM’s track gear is.

This must have been a very expensive car for Alfa Romeo to build; perhaps they foresaw a strong American winter sports market that never materialised.

The lovely, patinated condition of the rear seat and grab handles suggests that the car saw frequent use at some stage in its life. The well used state of the wonderful wooden skis which are carried on front wings and designed to fit under the front wheels in difficult terrain also suggests that the car saw regular service in snowy New England winters.
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