There is an undeniable editorial tendency to wish to lump some series of specials into predictably describable blocks of production cars. This seems to be what is being attempted here. Such an attempt to generalize cannot do justice to describing the cars that were built by Alfa Romeo in this confused time period that began as early as 1934 when Scuderia Ferrari was the racing arm of Alfa Romeo. But, Scuderia Ferrari was of diminished importance (to Alfa Romeo racing) by 1938 when Alfa Corse had taken over their own racing activities.
Fusi lumped all the chassis numbers from 915001-915086 (1939) and 915087-915118 (1940) together as "256" (or 6C2500 Super Sport?) in his published listings. This is clearly an overview of production that is not supported in each case by certain individual cars ... if we interpret the "256" moniker as belonging only to the racing versions. But, is that interpretation accurate?
I will ask him about some of this, but if you were to ask Anselmi, I doubt he would indicate that he believed his listing (shared earlier in this thread) to be necessarily complete. Anselmi lumps "256" and "Super Sport" together for the racing models that have been identified thus far. He is clearly not comfortable calling all seventeen of the cars he listed as "256". And, even if he believes that "256" should perhaps be used most "purely" in a racing sense, there might be some acknowledgement that it was perhaps used in a marketing sense across the board for all the early 6C2500 versions that replaced the 6C2300?
I think it is undeniable that "256" was an official Alfa Romeo moniker for the 2500cc engine at a minimum. Registration records for two very special 6C2300B MM racing cars record the following engine changes. And it is quite evident that there was at least a third. But, even these records do not tell the whole story and the first actually gives potentially misleading information.
815001 is a car that appeared early in this thread, first with its original "spider corsa" bodywork in a block of photos (link to posting #1, UK registration beginning "VNO") that showed three different cars and then again when it had been rebodied by Pinin Farina (posting #40) as a road-going cabriolet. For registration and taxation purposes, this car was declared in February, 1946 to have received a "256 I.T." engine, raising the taxable horsepower rating from 25hp to 26hp. The 256 engine was actually fitted much earlier but the change had not been noted, probably due to the "works" nature of the car and upcoming wartime distractions. As an aside, this car was one of those that attracted the ire of Anselmi when it first appeared on the scene in rebodied form that was evocative of certain "Corsa" cars but the body was not accurate to its own original as it originally appeared. It was subsequently redone in a more correct manner. The period Pinin Farina rebody that was removed may appear on another car in the future?
815008 is a car that received a "256 I.T." engine as well, but the engine change for that car was recorded in March of 1939.
815009 is a car that appeared (race #80) on the MM event of 1940, fitted with fuel injection. It had raced earlier in "256" form without injection. I have not yet done the paper-trail research to reveal any overt mention of "256" in historical documents.
These three "6C2300B MM" cars clearly all became "256" in specification during their lives. Were there others? Perhaps. Time and research may tell.
Once the 6C2500 series was slated for production, it was natural that some engines were also prepared similarly for "sport" and outright racing purposes. Because these cars were born as 6C2500, it seemed perhaps less necessary to acknowledge them as "256". Despite this, some cars were called "256" as well and we tend to focus on the most exciting versions that appeared most frequently in print.
Outside the chassis numbers that have already appeared in this thread, I note that there are others that have claimed the "256" moniker. And, 915012 has (for many years) an alloy plate on the firewall that says simply "256" and there is not yet any indication that it had a racing history, so far as I know.
Clearly, there were variations within "Pescara", "Mille Miglia", "Sport", "Super Sport", "256" and any other designation you might care to mention. So, I would argue that none of these designations alone can be considered an adequate description for any car. As an example, if you look at enough 6C2500 engines and pay close attention, you might note that a good number of them are stamped with the compression ratio near the engine number. That ratio can give implications as to the intended use and market. Not much point in selling a high-compression engine into a market that had poor fuel! Gearboxes, steering boxes and rear end housings had ratios fitted that were allied to the intended use and other characteristics of the car. Sometimes there are hints as to there having been changes in these important specifications.
Each car must be described individually. For cars that went through multiple changes in configuration, this is not always easy. But it can make these same cars very fascinating. Many of those cars are the ones that the "market" says are worth the most ... and are therefore sometimes the cars that are most imitated.
For more than 20 years I have been seeking specific information about any car and engine from the 6C2300 and 6C2500 series. Also earlier and later Alfa Romeo cars (RL, 6C1500, 6C1750, 6C1900, 8C2300, 8C2900, Tipo B, Tipo C, AR1900, Giulietta, etc.) and there are forms available to show the variations that are to be found typically with each series. I share information with those who share information. If you have specific information about any car, please feel free to request a form applicable to the car adding ".net" to the address below along with a basic description of the car you know or knew.
John de Boer
The Italian Car Registry