The other day, just for fun, I posted a drawing of an interesting Alfa Romeo on Facebook. It was an Alfa I’d never heard of. A reader quickly commented and explained that it was an Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Carrozzeria Boano.The car was an assignment for the Argentine president Juan Domingo Perón. I dug a little into history and pieced this together …
In the spring of 1955 the Alfa Romeo factory received a somewhat special order. It came from the Argentine presidential palace, the President would like to have a special version of Alfa’s 6C 3000. Well, a stock of 6C cars at the factory wasn’t exactly available, so you had to find a donor car???. One of the factory’s engineers, Giuseppe Busso, got the job. On Alfa’s stock he found a donor car with chassis no. AR * 1361.00126. This was a Berlinetta, with a body of Colli. The car had driven 24 hours of Le Mans in 1953, in fact the last time Alfa Romeo officially participated in the race. The driver at the time was none other than Juan Manuel Fangio, another Argentine connection to the car. Allegedly, Fangio had later damaged the car violently. Busso had to remove the body and begin finding car parts. Then it was transferred to Mario Boano, whom would create a new body on his carozzaria Boano.
Video from the 1953 Le Mans
The result of Boano’s work was a futuristic design, with very aerodynamic shapes. Much inspiration was retrieved in the Touring-designed Disco Volante model, and is also erroneously being called Disco Volante Boano. The car in Italy, ready for departure to Argentina 1955
The car was handed over to Perón by Argentina General Labor Confederation (CGT); although there were rumors that they had to pay for the car … and that a lawyer was sent to Argentina to solve the problem. Perón’s first public appearance in the car was at Autodromo de Buenos Aires, where Perón drove three laps before a race.
During the few months Perón owned the car; it was damaged in an accident with a bus in Buenos Aires. An Italian bodywork wizard, Alberto Borghi, was called in to repair the damage to the car.
On 16 September 1955 Perón was deposed by the Liberating Revolution, fled to Paraguay and his property was confiscated and auctioned. Among the nine cars Perón owned was a Ferrari 212 Inter by Ghia, an Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Touring and a Giulietta Sprint.
The Boano was bought at the auction by William Decker, who then sold it to Carlos Lostaló, a local Maserati racing driver. Then on to another Maserati driver, Roberto Mieres. Around 1965, the car was painted “metallic gold”, and according to photographs small changes to the car could be observed, may already carried out during repair by Alberto Borghi: new mirrors, new fog lights and gone was the original chrome underneath the Alfa heart.
In 1967, Argentine JM Ahumada (whom probably only was an intermediary) puts the car up for sale at $ 10,500
The sales ad sounded as follows:
“ALFA ROMEO DISCO VOLANTE – Extremely rare 1954 “Flying Saucer” coupe with Boano coachwork. Built for Ex-dictator Juan Peròn. One of 6 produced, powered by 6-cylinder twincam 3.5-liter engine, fed through 6 Webers. 270 bhp at 6500 rpm, 5-speed gearbox. Tested at 170mph. Paintwork slightly blemished but otherwise excellent condition, $10,500.
Vintage Car Store, Inc., 93 S. Broadway, Nyack, N.Y.; (914) EL 8-3800 or (212) LO 2-6048″[/box]
The Boano leaves Argentina in 1968, when it was taken over by Mr. Ed Bond (Connecticut, USA). He kept the car for only a few years and sold it in 1970 to the current owner, Henry W Wessells III. Wessells, who underlines the car came to the US in 1970 painted black drove the car in classic races for nearly 14 years until he in 1984 struck some trees during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. The car suffered serious damage, especially the bodywork was completely damaged. Wessells decided to remove the body assembly completely…
Henry Wessells III sent the chassis and mechanical components to Hall & Fowler in England and had Carrozzeria Diamond in Turin to build a replica of the original Berlinetta Colli body. The same bodywork the car originally had driven with at Le Mans in 1953.
The car has competed in many classic races since, including Le Mans Classic where Phil Hill has been the driver of the car for Portello Scuderia team.
Whether the story ended happily, I’m not sure. The Boano is forever gone, but we got a Colli in return. Fangio’s racer (replica) runs to this day, Perón’s one-off we can only dream about …
Historical data is found at Alfista.es among others