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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Plate' 2300C

Does anyone have any information on this car, recently restored by Symbolic in the US. I think the period shot was taken at an Italian hillclimb event in 1951. Even information on the bodybuilder Plate' would help.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Bump!.....
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-09-2009, 07:00 PM
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Any time I've ever seen him on a forum he's been more than happy to answer any questions about Symbolic's cars...Bill Noon. Email: bnoon@symbolicmotors.com

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 11:32 PM
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Plate-Alfa N. 002

N. 002.

I haven't yet learned which car was "N. 001" ... if there was a N. 001. Haven't found any sign of N. 003 either.

This is a pretty interesting car. My attempts to contact a previous owner (and then his widow) were ignored ... or the study might have progressed further by now? Sometimes it is difficult to be inspired when one feels alone in having any interest. It would certainly be nice to know more about the car's precise origins. It is almost certain that the body was not built by Luigi Plate himself (or his racing team) but it was almost certainly built to his wishes ... as was the rest of the car. Some Milanese or Torinese coachbuilder probably did the bodywork.

Note: Each time "Plate" is mentioned here, there should be an accent on the "e" but I don't know that this is possible here.

Luigi ("Gigi") Plate and Enrico Plate (a younger cousin) had an interesting collection of cars over the years and had a racing team (Scuderia Plate) that ran quite a variety of cars somewhat sporadically. Many of the cars were modified extensively by some noted Milanese tuners. Perhaps not over-reaching as much as the Scuderia Milan, it would seem that they also sometimes got a bit too clever and did not do the development work necessary to have some successes that were expected or hoped.

Luigi Plate was born in either 1894 or 1896 (sources agree as to the day but not as to the year) and raced a few different cars in the 1920's and 1930's. In 1946, he raced an Alfa Romeo 2300 a few times and it seems likely that it was this car that supplied the engine for the subject car.

It would seem that Plate had a tubular chassis built and fitted it with a tuned Alfa Romeo 6C2300 engine (700174) that dated from 1934. The chassis was given a certificate of origin 16 September 1948 but it was not recorded as "sold" to Luigi Plate until 28 March 1949. If "dretceterini" were here he would remind us that Gilco was a possibility as to the source of the chassis ... or the steel tubing. Plate registered N. 002 on a Milano plate in October 1949. The fact that he seems to have had the ability to assign a chassis number might imply something ... or perhaps he involved another specialty car builder who had the authorization to assign such a number?

At the Salone Torino in 1950, "Gigi" displayed a Plate 1500 racing chassis that had some Maserati parts in it ... if I recall the photos correctly. It is probably that chassis that was (also) entered at the Susa-Moncenisio in July of 1951 as a racing "Plate 1500" was entered for Alfonso Catella. Also without success I'm afraid. I wonder if it also had a "Plate" number!

Aside from the 1951 Susa-Moncenisio DNF in 1951 with Paolo Soprani for N. 002, I am not aware of any other race participations, but it probably made for an interesting road car after this? I can only guess at motivations for why N. 002 was seemingly not used after this time. Since "Gigi" was no longer a young man by this time it may be that he was not so personally "involved" in the racing by this point? As Curami and Vergnano noted in their book, La Sport, (source of your period photo?) the racing "sports" Maserati and Ferrari cars made it rather more difficult to race with success in the larger classes unless you had one of their cars.

There were two "Plate" Maserati 4CLT cars entered at the GP del Valentino in June of 1952, one for Felice Bonetto and one for Harry Schell but neither car appeared at the race.

I suspect that any disappointments with the lack of success in racing was compounded by the death of Enrico Plate when he was hit by a Maserati while in the pits at a race in Buenos Aires in January of 1954?


N. 002 was sold in 1959 to an Italian-American (Piccione) from New York who was probably spending time in Italy as he registered it in care of the Automobile Club in Milano for a time. There a few more details that I could share with the owner of the car but perhaps nothing truly significant?

Unfortunately, the new body is not quite "correct" even though it is certainly nice. It has lost a bit of the magic of the original. Part of problem with imperfectly finished bodies that become restored "too perfectly" or which get remade new (and become "too perfect") is that they almost invariably become "bulkier" when the work is done and the body is painted. Somehow boxier and heavier appearing. I wonder which engine is fitted today? But then, I wonder about a lot of things!

I saw a couple of historic prints with a guy about thirty years ago and took a couple of very inadequate copy photos. Those prints have now passed to a friend and I took a couple of better (but still hasty) photos of those prints a couple of years ago and they appear below. I could almost certainly borrow the originals for better scans if it should become necessary. The tail lights appear to be from the late fifties or early sixties so these photos may date from the late 1950's when the car was sold to Piccione ... or maybe when he offered it after that?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 06:41 PM
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Plate P-002

I finally had a chance to see this special car several days ago. It seems to have the steering box, the front axle, the gearbox and transmission from a 1934 6C2300. The engine no longer had an ID plate but the front engine plate is marked "6C700174" and it seems likely that the engine is also largely from the same 6C2300 donor. All the pieces are modified a bit ... or a lot.

The chassis is intriguing in that it is largely tubular and the tubes are constructed so as to act as oil (and/or water) reservoirs and passages. The suspension incorporates some original Alfa stuff but it is all modified to hang on cantilever arms that make it kind'a-sort'a "independent" without being truly independent in any way. The brakes are modified to hydraulic actuation and are also quite special when it comes to the shoes. The original mechanical cam actuators are now used to make for a hand-brake/emergency brake arrangement. The cast aluminum shoes are marked marked "Brevetto G. Plate" and I've found some documentation that he was experimenting with this set-up as of (or prior to) 1937 .... along with other characteristics described above. It may well be that a portion of the chassis was indeed built during the 1930's and only received the necessary "origins" documentation during 1948? Pretty cool stuff!

There are some disappointments in that the "restoration" seems to have attempted several "improvements" that seem completely unnecessary as the original configuration (as much as it can be determined) seems entirely sufficient.

More to follow ...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 06:45 PM
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Enrico Plate

A correction ...

It is astonishing how many errors can be found in several brief biographies about each of the racing-related Plate' individuals. Enrico was the son of Luigi's eldest brother, so was a nephew and not a "cousin" or a "brother" or "not related", each of which is sometimes reported.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 06:48 PM
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Luigi "Gigi" Plate'

An official birth document recorded Luigi's birth date as 4 January 1894. When he got married during 1951 he wrote that he was born one day earlier and was baptized on the 4th. I do not know which is correct. Other dates can be found as well.

It is not unusual for old documents to be off by a day or more. Even Enzo Ferrari's birth is reportedly incorrect in official documents.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 06:56 PM
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Late 1950's in Italy

Corrado Bellabarba supplied this image which is cropped from a photo postcard he found with a friend in Italy. It shows P002 as of circa 1958 at a hotel near Genova with a cover thrown over it.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 05:15 PM
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Garage
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Originally Posted by iicarJohn View Post
The engine no longer had an ID plate but the front engine plate is marked "6C700174" and it seems likely that the engine is also largely from the same 6C2300 donor.
Thanks for sharing your insights, John -- they're always interesting to read.

The last two pages of this PDF document from the 2300/2500 Register web site seem to indicate that factory records exist making reference to chassis 700.157 with engine 700.174 as a 6C 2300 cabriolet "Royal" (no coachbuilder or production year mentioned).

BTW, AlfaBB supports Unicode (like most web sites) and accepts and correctly shows accented and other special characters (as in "Luigi Platé") when copied and pasted into the text box.

-Ruedi
'63 2600 Touring Spider (AR 191437, the car that started the 2000/2600 International Register, reassembly in progress)
ex-'65 2600 SZ (AR 856043, now being restored in Austria)
Maintainer of a private 2600 SZ register (not the one in the Netherlands).
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 06:16 PM
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6C2300 700157 & engine 700174

Thank you Ruedi!

I am convinced that the listing shared by the 6C registry has a layout error. They've apparently taken one of my older listings (or a derivative) when the two entries were sequential (where I now have an entry or two separating them) and incorrectly entered the engine number 700174 into the space of the engine number for 700157. Easy to do if not paying close attention and have no direct connection to the source material!

Of more interest is the apparent fact that Angela Cherrett seems to have responded to a query from Peter Marshall (UK) about chassis/engine 700174 and she replied (a number of years ago) that the original configuration was "cabriolet 4 posti". There is a bit of additional historical detail so I think she probably has a lead for us as regarding the original donor 6C2300 of 1934. I will check with her.

I have re-read the birth record for Luigi Plate and now see that the declaration was made on 4 January 1894 but refers (in somewhat fine print) that Luigi was born "il tre del corrente" (gennaio 1894). So, think that we can say quite definitively that he was born 3 January 1894 since this is also what was written down when his marriage was recorded 1951 as an addition to the same birth record. This becomes a good reminder that the internet is not always accurate as a reference source since the majority of the entries you'll find there are not accurate at all.

I am now in the process of contacting Luigi Plate's daughter to try to see what she may be able to tell us.

More to follow ...

John
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