Alfa Romeo Prototipi 1948–1962

by Patrick Dasse

“While most prototypes produced by other manufacturers have been destroyed over the intervening years, legend has it that we have the Alfa Romeo employee Luigi Fusi to thank for the continued existence of these wonderful vehicles. Allegedly, Fusi squirreled the cars away in various places around Alfa Romeo’s Portello works, away from the prying eyes of the company management.

(English / German) Time to turn over the sofa cushions once more and hunt for loose change. . . . Wasn’t it just the other day that the 5-book set Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ gave you a severe case of FOMO? Well, now two new books are begging admittance, and these two should get anyone who follows Italian coachwork of the 1960s excited.

A representative example of the scope and style of the descriptions; one column is English, the other German.

Chronologically, these books slot in ahead of the aforementioned TZs. The timeline catches your attention right away because Europe is still severely affected by the aftermath of WW II and already Alfa Romeo engineers are coloring outside the lines. Sure, bread-and-butter grocery getters are what the country needs in order to fire up economic activity and what the proverbial man in the street needs to get around, but sports cars, ah, that’s what the engineers and designers need to stay sharp.

Lots of lovely photos of exotica that never make it into the coffee table bling books.

So, prototipi, some of which even progress to not just actual running cars but racing machinery. Even knowledgable Alfisti will not be able to conjure up an image for all the models on this list—which is why author Dasse has done the conjuring for you, using once again his MO of tunneling into the “overwhelmingly huge” Alfa Romeo archive for period photos, published for the most part for the very first time:

  • 6c 2500 Competizione and 3000 Competizione
  • Disco Volante 3000 and 2000
  • 3000 CM
  • 3000 PR
  • 1900 Sport
  • 2000 Sportiva
  • Giulietta Spider Tipo 750 Monoposto
  • 750 Competizione
  • Alfa Romeo-Abarth 1100 and 1000
  • Conrero Sport 1150
  • Giulietta GT
  • *Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica
  • *Conrero Alfa Romeo
  • *Sport Spider Colli
  • *Pininfarina Giulietta Speciale 2 Posti Aerodinamica

* These models are relegated to an Appendix because, strictly speaking, Alfa Romeo was not involved in their development.

From a documentary point of view, the factory and third-party photos here are of course of singular interest. Plus, whatever identifications or annotations they had originally is here vetted and amended or corrected as necessary by Dasse and a host of experts including Alfa Romeo staff. This type of analysis yielded several new data points which the text does call out, and one can only hope that readers will appreciate what enormous detective work is required to iron out inconsistencies. If this is not relatable, simply know that you’re on solid ground when you quote chapter and verse from a Dasse book, which also applies to those cases where he is unambiguous in saying that the known information remains inconclusive.

These candids were clearly never meant for public consumption.

Nor was this. An Alfa man hanging his head in frustration.

In keeping with the previous books, the photos are thoroughly captioned, and identified to whatever extent possible by VIN or referenced against internal documents/reports or race results and the like. There is, however, no accompanying in-depth narrative so be prepared to engage in your detective work to follow up on leads.

That a good number of the cars shown here have survived, both at the Alfa Romeo museum or in private hands, is rather unusual (Vol. 2 contains a brief history and guided tour of the museum).

Real men don’t measure. It did not fit. Worse, a few days earlier workers had let this Disco Volante fall off the transporter that was to take it to the airport to head to the US for the auto show circuit. And after the aborted loading shown here, the truck collided with a scooter on the way back to Portello!

When you turn the last page your head will be buzzing with detail—and you’ll probably have forgotten what Dasse wrote right at the very beginning: “I would ask that this book is seen simply as a piece of the puzzle, a tool which will hopefully help those interested in forming a better picture of the cars’ history. For those who don’t know, Dasse runs his own publishing house so he can punch his own ticket.

In none of his books has Dasse ever said why he is so fascinated with this era of Alfa Romeo, and in none of his books has he ever said what the long-term plan here is. Depending on how you count (i.e. including the Alleggerita books and spin-offs) there are almost 20 already, and with every new book the wow factor of standing in front of the whole line-up increases. Better start fattening that piggy bank for the next round!

You don’t have to be an Alfa geek to know you’ve seen these flanks and nose on a series production model.

Alfa Romeo Prototipi 1948–1962
by Patrick Dasse
Dingwort Verlag, 2023
Volume 1: 300 pages, 311 b/w & 28 color photos, hardcover
Volume 2: 302 pages, 302 b/w & 49 color photos, hardcover
List Price: $249 / €169
ISBN 13: 978-3-87166-094-8
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