Slot Classic CJ-51

The 6C 2500 Sport Freccia d’Oro prototype was released to the public in September 1946. It was the first time the company had both designed and manufactured the body.

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It was designed by the engineers Ferruccio Palamidessi and Giuseppe Scarnati, supervised by their seniors, Raimondo Gatti and Ivo Colucci. It showed a marked influence of American models such as the 1946 Packard Clipper and its distinctive front. Even though the Sport version’s wheelbase was three metres long like the pre-war 8C, the front and rear axles had been broadened. Due to its large size the question was begged whether this was “the largest coupe in the world”.

Very soon did the Freccia d’Oro start its notable competition career, proving itself to be a worthy opponent. Its aluminium body swiftness to the car, and its fully independent suspension made it both reliable and sporty to handle.

In 1950 Mexico was the first Latin American country to complete its section of the Pan-American Highway, a project begun in 1937 with the aim of crossing the American continents from North to South. Miguel Alemán, the country’s president at the time, supported the creation of a motor sport competition to celebrate this achievement and at the same time attract foreign investment – it was called Carrera Panamericana or Pan-American Race.

Its total length was 3,373 km from Ciudad Juárez in the North to the border with Guatemala in the South. Taking into account the radical changes in climate and elevation it entailed, the competition posed a massive challenge to the drivers as well as the mechanics teams.

Alfa Romeo had followed the rules to the letter as the company had sent two completely stock Freccia d’Oro Sport equipped with a single 90 HP carburettor. After the first few stages of the race, nevertheless, in light of the maximum speeds its competitors were reaching it became obvious that the Americans’ sportsmanship had not been up to par. Completely disregarding the rules, they brought into the race souped-up cars that were much more powerful than the Italian ones. This was a great handicap for the Freccia d’Oro, in the first two thirds of the race in particular. In Northern Mexico’s long straight roads they could not reach the overwhelming speed of their competitors.

The last stage before reaching El Ocotal was the hardest of all. Both Freccia d’Oro cars were close to quitting due to the unevenness of the ground, unforgiving on this type of car, and they reached the finish line on their last drops of oil, since their crankcases were badly damaged. In spite of it all, the heroic recovery did not stop. At the end of the competition Taruffi placed fourth in the general classification and Bonetti was eighth – a feat indeed, taking into account the unfavourable circumstances in which both Alfa Romeos were competing.

Ángel Jiménez, extract from the CJ-51 booklet.


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