This is one of 6,999 examples made, an Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint. Bertone takes the credit for the admirable styling.
Bertone did the coupé, Touring did the Spider and, I suppose, Alfa Romeo did the handsome saloon one sees very little of. In 1962 this must have been certain to make the neighbours sit up and notice, especially in the UK and Ireland where the British marques had such a dominant presence in the market. It would have cost more than three times the price of Cortina or Austin 1800. So if you wanted to
make an impression, a car like this would certainly do so. Only the super-rare OSI-bodied version would have been a more exclusive variant on this chassis.
The 2600 Sprint looked long but was only 4.53 m from stern to stem. The styling carefully accentuates the size; the tiny turret glass-house sits neatly and distinctly separate from the body but seems to have plenty of space inside. The car sat on a 2.58 m wheelbase (2.72 m for the saloon, 2.5m for the Spider).
The heart of this steed is the six-cylinder twin ohc engine, banging out 130 bhp, more than enough to frighten Jones in his Corsair. The bore and stroke were 83 x 79.6 mm and power went through a four-speeder, with a maximum speed of 109 mph. Contemporary reports described handling characteristics of understeer and body roll with a disappointing lack of directness to the steering (4 turns lock to lock). At least the steering had no slop and the gearchange offered crisp and clear actions. To stop the beast, all-round disc brakes.
This is the 1965 OSI-bodied saloon, neat and almost German in its restraint:
While we think of today as distinct period of engine-format uncertainty, the sixites were also a time of alternation. Michael Sedgwick in “Classic Cars of the 1950s and 1960s” (1983, Tiger Books) writes “Sixes were moving up into the prestige bracket. Big fours were still viable in family sedans, but not in luxury models – as Amstrong Siddeley discovered to their cost in 1956 when they challenged the new compact Jaguar with their Sapphire 234…the lumpy feeling of the four-cylinder engine was the last straw.”
“The pattern of four-versus-six remained uneven. Rover, who concentrated most of their efforts on sixes went back to an overhead camshaft four in 1964 for their very successful 2000, while Fiat tended to withdraw from the six-cylinder market in the later 1960s. The Humber Super Snipe ended a run over a quarter of a century in 1967, while Alfa Romeo’s 2600 and Lancia’s Flaminia were neither of them impressive sellers. On the other hand, Triumph introduced a 2-litre inline six for 1964 and did very well with it.” As did BMW.
On the ashtray front, the driver’s tray is oddly located, between the undercroft and the gear wand. It could very well have been higher up, at the same level as the glove box. In the rear, the after-market safety belt reel is in the way, evidence that the ashtray was placed without consideration of the need for the safety belt. Absent the reel, the tray is nicely positioned, not that there would ever be so many passengers in the back of a 2+2 like this one.
The car is another item from Deane Motors‘ rather nice catalogue.