The history of the discos is fascinating but not entirely clear. Much of this thread has just fogged things up.
All of these sports racing cars are Discos. It doesn’t matter what any of us think. It doesn’t even matter if it quite makes sense. Alfa Romeo, and all of the old timers who were there, fondly called all of these cars Discos. The flying saucer cars, those were the Disco Volante. But the name “Disco” still covers all of these cars.
Anderloni himself was bemused by the whole thing. As the designer of the flying saucer, he had more right than Stu to be upset by the confusion. But in his own book “Disco Volante” Anderloni didn’t correct the misnomer: he explained it and accepted it.
The cars became diverse. The first two cars were Disco Volante models, one with the new 4 cylinder, one with the old 6 cylinder left over from the C50 and derived from the 6C3000. [The two engines, 4 & 6, are sisters]. The earliest test photos, interesting, are of the 6 cylinder car.
What we now
think of as the hillclimb car was soon underway. That car was called the car with narrow sides [“Fianchi Stretti”]. That car proudly wore Carrozzeria Touring badges in all period photographs.
This elegant Touring design is entirely different from the subsequent Colli 6C3000CM bodies or from the early Colli 1900 Spider. That was a different private car built at arm’s length from Alfa, and bodied by Colli.
The car that went to Bonnier is 00125, isn’t it? –the Fangio LeMans coupe. It was for sure at Zagato in the summer of ’55 with no body at all, and showing no serious deep damage. In 56 it was raced including at Varacas.
When Henry Wessells got the car from Bonnier it was blue with a yellow hood, but the design had already morphed a little over time and races, and it would continue to change. It went through a series of owners and colors and more races and crashes before Hayashi.
Henry also owned 00126, which was another Colli racing coupe, then rebodied by Boano for Alfa [and Peron], then rebodied to Colli pattern after Henry’s big crash.
00128 is still with Peter Kaus, but no longer under the PF show car body. The PF body appeared at Amelia Island but it was carried clumsily by an historically unrelated 6C2500 chassis. The 6C3000CM chassis may now become something else, maybe the Fangio MM car it probably was, maybe not. Henry has never owned this car.
The 6C3000PR was fated to be the last of the Discos. The car was a 3.0 but not with the same technical characteristics as the old C50 engine. Bore was the 87mm of the 3.5 litre car but the stroke was reduced and so the engine speed could increase. There were other detail engine differences. And the PR
was more than shortened—it had a new frame design. No old car was made into the PR
. The car was tested, crashed, burned. Several spare engines and some other parts—and some drawings—survive.
Much of the confusion was the result of Alfa’s pace of development. The Disco began as a simple tube frame holding Alfa 1900 based running gear, and became perhaps the quickest sports racing car in the world. There never was any shame or embarrassment. The Disco Volante body was tried, then superceded. Even the early 6 cylinder motor needed a more sophisticated chassis. The later 6C3000CM simply provided that chassis.
In 1953, Fangio placed second in the Mille Miglia in a broken 6C3000CM. In that same race, the always-too-fast Sanesi led the race until a fault caused his crash. The Alfas were faster than the Lancias, or even the big engined Ferraris. The car was powerful, the car had friendly handling on all surfaces, the car even had great brakes: in the front were 4 leading shoes, each derived from the already oversized 1900 brakes, sticking in and out of the rims and wrapping around the spindles, all attached to a cast backing plate incorporating all of the wheel cylinders. Amazing stuff.
Some of the mistakes in this thread are just chassis numbers and registry history. But the error that must be corrected is the misconception that the 6C3000CM was “not much of a sports car.” The 6C3000CM was fast, powerful and quick.
The proof of that was lost in history. Alfa’s pace of development could not be maintained. It wasn’t just the Discos, it was the Corto Gara, then it was the design and development of the Giulietta, the design of the new Grand Prix car, and the new small car. Results required consistency that Alfa sorely lacked. But the 6C3000CM was something else, and the performance at the '53 MM is proof enough.
But there’s more: I have been looking for a photo that I know I saw in MotorSport. I can’t find it. It’s Henry’s old car, Phil Hill driving, I think at the LeMans historic meet, surrounded by D Types. The 6C3000CM has had an impressive new career racing against the continuously developed Jaguars.