Race Ready Roadsters – A Spotlight Feature from Motorclassica 2016.
History and heritage is a great love of mine; especially that of both the built and automotive variety, it’s something I’m passionate about; preserving and conserving history for future generations is a must. Whether it’s an overlooked ramshackle cottage of the mid 1800’s (given Australia has very little earlier built history than that) or well, a pair of mid war race cars… today we’ll focus on the latter, although in mention of the former; I will have a wealth of local insight and photographs coming to my new blog – which is still under construction, so I’ll leave the link and the title for that off here for now.
I said during my event feature posts from Motorclassica that I’d get around to posting the cars I chose to spotlight and with not much else going on right now I’ve chosen to post up a little two for one…
So I’ll start with the earlier of the two, a 1928 Lombard AL3 Roadster. Lombard was a French company which began manufacturing cars in 1927. Andre Lombard was a competition driver first and foremost who had a passion for automotive design. Following a failed partnership with Salmson Automobiles in the early 1920’s, Lombard went on to produce his first automobiles in 1926; the AL1 of which one prototype was built and displayed at Montlhéry Autodrome and later the AL2; 2 prototypes produced for display at Paris Motor Show. These prototypes led to the manufacturing of 94 AL3 production cars being built between 1927 and 1929.
The one you’re currently looking at is a 1928 model AL3 MKII and was delivered to Australia from France when new to compete in the 1929 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The car, driven by competition driver Bill Lowe finished 3rd overall after 31 laps in 3 hours and 31 minutes, but winning its class. The car was then fitted with a supercharger and raced again at Phillip Island throughout the 1930’s.
The current and fourth owners of the car; Neil and Geoff Murdoch purchased it and it was subsequently fully rebuilt. Thought to be 1 of only 8 Lombard AL3’s left in the world and one of even less which are still matching numbers race cars., that however doesn’t stop the Murdoch’s from driving and still using the car for historic events.
1938 Alfa Romeo 2300B MM Corsa Spider.
Wandering past a boxy Kombi and wedge shaped Alfa Romeo Montreal, I almost walked straight past the low slung and swoopy lined 6C Spider, which sat so low to the ground compared to what was around it it wouldn’t have been hard to miss at all, but once I spotted it, it stopped me in my tracks. More Art Deco masterpiece than car, the 6C only stood at about waist height (if that) but featured some of the most beautiful detail I have ever seen on a car.
The original 6C 2300 was designed by Vittoria Jano, Chief Engineer for Alfa Romeo (1923 – 1937) and the one you’re looking at is a 1938 6C 2300B MM(Mille Miglia – the highest performance model available) Corsa Spider. Very little was carried over from the previous year model 6C’s to the 2300B MM; which had a (mostly) all new chassis, new suspension and minor engine upgrades made to the 140ci DOHC straight six. The body is coach built by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera (Touring of Milan) and was the first touring car to use the Superleggera (Super Light) system of construction by which thin lightweight round steel tubing was used to create a framework before being covered in equally lightweight alloy body panels, the system was derived from and also used on airships of the time.
The car which was on display at Motorclassica is owned by Georg Leitl, who brought it over as a bare chassis and driveline from its previous home in England. The amazing bodywork was then hand crafted by Melbourne’s own Historic & Vintage Restoration, who were chosen not only because of their expert craftmanship but also as they had previously handbuilt Georg’s other Alfa; a 1939 6C 256 Berlinetta Compitizione coupe.
I do have one more spotlight from Motorclassica to come, but I shall save posting that for a rainy… or another 35’c day.