The 1950s and ‘60s were golden years for Italian coachbuilders, with plenty of work to go around and plenty of innovation in the world of automotive design. Case in point, this 1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV, to be auctioned by Gooding and Company at its annual 2019 Pebble Beach auction next weekend.
Based on Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM chassis 00128, which hailed from a short-lived factory racing campaign with the 3000 CM model, this car was shipped off to Pinin Farina (then spelled as two words) in Turin when its racing days were finished, soon after the 1953 season. By April 1956, Pinin Farina had rebodied the car, removing its original coupe panel work to replace it with a sleeker design. Dubbed the Alfa Romeo Superflow by its creator, the car was shown at the Torino Motor Show in its first iteration with tail fins, transparent Plexiglas fenders, gullwing-style roof panels and a glass canopy-style roofline.
Soon, designers at Pinin Farina had other ideas and keen to show them off, Superflow became Superflow II. This time, the see-through fenders were ditched for steel items while the the metal tail fins were replaced with clear plexiglass versions. The canopy roof remained, but the front end was modified to remove the grille and add a hood scoop and lower air intake. A color change from white to red, and the Superflow II was ready for its debut at the Paris auto show in September 1956.
Nearly two years passed before Pinin Farina got the bug to make more changes, but that they did. This time, the coupe bodywork was replaced with an open-roof design featuring reworked headlights, large headrests incorporated into the bodywork and the deletion of the rear fins for a rounded tail treatment, similar to Alfa Romeo’s Duetto Spider which would debut several years later. Now called the Super Spider, our subject car was shown at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show.
Finally, for 1960, the Super Spider was transformed into Superflow IV, which is how the car appears today. Superflow IV kept the rounded tail section, but made a return to the glass canopy of previous versions. The roof panels slid open, while the side windows were removable. Again, the styling project made the show rounds, starting with the 1960 Geneva Motor Show.
At the end of its show tour in Europe, it was sent to the U.S. via airplane and was shown around the country before landing at an Alfa Romeo dealership in Colorado. From there, it went to another Alfa dealership in the same state, then its first private owner in the early 1960s. Later, it spent time in various collections, was once rebodied to resemble the car’s racing days, then rebodied again with its Pinin Farina coachwork that was saved. Since then, the Alfa Romeo Superflow IV has been seen such shows as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Villa d’Este, and Salon Privé.
Gooding & Company has a pre-sale estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 on the 1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV, and while it’s wonderful just to look at, we expect it’s also lovely to drive with a 275-hp, 3.5-liter twin-cam straight-six engine underhood, exquisite finned, inboard drum brakes, and a five-speed gearbox. Bellissimo!