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Monday, April 5, 2021

Sad story of the Alfa Romeo 412 race car

Actually, you don't need a story consisting of a long series of words to describe the Alfa Romeo brand. This is because the activities of one of the oldest automotive brands from Italy have been going on for a long time with a row of four-wheeled vehicles that may have been countless to this day.
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica) features a pure Spider style with no folding roof, very long hood, 3-sided chrome air intakes for each side that are placed between the front fender and the passenger cockpit. (Picture from: Pinterest)
In the world of racing, the Alfa Romeo's name had also become a subscription of the championship podium in various world racing events since the 1930s. And of the many variants of Alfa Romeo racing cars, there is a racing car called the
Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale which in our opinion is very unique due to had been changed the bodywork many times, but has tragic fates until its existence then becomes a mystery until today.
This was 1939 Alfa Romeo 412 race car, initially bodied by Touring before changed to its spider body in the 1951 by Vignale. (Picture from: DailyRevs)
Some sources are said that it was a race car built in 1939 for Alfa Romeo with an initial bodywork built by Touring which was later changed in 1951 by Vignale under a more modern and aerodynamic style in accordance to the Alfa Romeo's style at that time.


Well, the 412 race car mentioned above was knew as a design result of Vittorio Jano in 1937, was originally bodied by Touring built on the 8C 2900A frame, identified with the number of 412151, and it is likely the car's name came from those numbers.
The real Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale driven by Bonetto (with Casnaghi as the navigator) while raced at the 1951 Mille Miglia. (Picture from: AlfaBB)
Furthermore, the Alfa Romeo 412 race car was powered by a 4,500 cc, 12 cylinder V-engine which was also used by the 12C race car of 1937. The engine was made in 2 monoblock of 6-cylinder engines in which capable of spewing of 430 hp and also equipped with a turbocharger.

The Alfa Romeo 412 race car debuted in the world of racing at the 1939 GP-Antwerp, which was held in May 1939 and managed to bring their racers at that time Giuseppe Farina and Raymond Sommer to the podium as the first and second place winners. Its briliant achievement continues at the GP. Luxemburg in 1939, it successfully won the second place with Clemente Biondetti behind the wheel.
The real Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale features with 4-sided chrome air intakes for each side and hand written racing livery #427 while raced at the 1951 Mille Miglia. (Picture from: AlfaBB)
After the 2nd World War ended, one of the 4 race cars made was brought to Switzerland by Willy Daetwyler and won the GP. Bremgarten in 1948. It is clear that those race car then took part in different races to its original body but also to other cars made by Vignale at the time.
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica) has 4 headlights, two at the end and two turn signals plus the center. (Picture from: Pinterest)
As quoted from Carrozzieri-Italiani, the last Alfa Romeo 412 race car known owned by Felice Bonetto for many years until 1953. Under Bonetto's ownership, the Alfa Romeo 412 race car took part in the Giro di Sicilia racing event at the end of March 1951 and experienced severe body damage due to the severity of the reace's off road terrains. Then the car brought back to Vignale to repaired and changed its bodywork to the very light spider-style as its second outfit.
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica) powered by was powered by a 4,500 cc, 12 cylinder V-engine. (Picture from: Carrozzieri-Italiani)
By using the new race car, in late April 1951, Bonetto (with Casnaghi as the navigator) took part in the classic race event of the 1951 Mille Miglia under the number of 427 and managed to finish in sixth place. In the next race which took place in Oporto in the same year, it won by beating the Ferrari 166 and Maserati race cars.

There are also other sources said, after the 1951 Mille Miglia, the car was modified slightly so that it could be used legally on the public roads. And later when it appeared to race in Oporto, the 412 race car was seen to have a more modern look under the spider style of bodywork.
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica)'s engine consisted of two monoblock of 6-cylinder engines in which capable of spewing of 430 hp. (Picture from: GentlemenRacer)
The 2-seater Alfa Romeo 412 Vignale race car features a pure Spider style with no folding roof, very long hood, 4-sided chrome air intakes for each side that are placed between the front fender and the passenger cockpit. While on the front, it has 4 headlights, two at the end and two turn signals plus the center. This car also has a trilobo, appearing in full form for the first time.
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica) has two racing bucket seats and simple dashboard. (Picture from: GentlemenRacer)
Unfortunately, Felice Bonetto passed away in a racing accident during the 4th Carrera Panamericana racing event held in Mexico in the 1953. Since then, the race car has undergone several ownership changings. And finally it was discovered that it was under possession of Enrico Nardi until the 1960s.😭
The Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale (replica) powered by was powered by a 4,500 cc, 12 cylinder V-engine. (Picture from: GentlemenRacer)
The Alfa Romeo 412's death occurred in 1960, when it was dismantled, in which the car's frame, engine and body were separated and each had a different fate since then. As we are knew, the chassis was used to make a new car model called the Silver Ray and sold under the Plymouth brand in the United States.😭

It is powered by a 320 hp V8 Plymouth's engine and is said to have been designed by Giovanni Michelotti, the famous Italian automotive designer, and was intended to be a prototype of the next production series but never been happened and remained to be the only car.
The 1960 Plymouth Silver Ray Prototype built on the Alfa Romeo 412 chassis and designed by Giovanni Michelloti. (Picture from: Carrozzieri-Italiani)
It was rumored, that the original Alfa Romeo 412 engine was remained in Nardi's workshop for many years until his daughter sold it at an auction at the end of 1998 and it was bought by Larry Auriana, an American collector (the possibility that he was still have it until recently), who was later restored by the Berkeley-based workshop named Epifani Restorations. 
Things are different to the Alfa Romeo 412's original body, whose its fate is unknown to this day. Could be said, that's a pretty tragic ending to such a beautiful, unique, and alluring 'suits', most likely it won't last and today it really gone.😭 And what you see in the video above is a replica of the Alfa Romeo 412 Vignale. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CARROZZIERI-ITALIANI | RMSOTHESBYS | DAILYREVS | GENTLEMANRACER | ALFABB ]
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