Filed under: History
This one is off-topic for sure, but it’s a great story about a gorgeous car and I figured you guys could at least appreciate it. If not, just skip it… We’ll be back with big news tomorrow. Until then, let’s check out what was going on at Alfa Romeo in 1934. Vittorio Jano was chief engineer at the time and he was working hard to match the design standard set by the newly released Auto Union ‘Silver Arrow’ and Mercedes W25. Alfa had to compete.
For some reason unknown to just about everyone, Jano decided to ship the project to an Italian outpost in Croatia where two brothers, Gino and Oscar Jankovits, were to complete the project. By 1937, the brothers had completed the car and were ready to show off their work to the brass at Alfa. There was a problem however… Jano had been fired and Alfa was no longer interested in the aerodynamic masterpiece.
Without Alfa’s involvement, the Jankovits couldn’t manage the v12 power and a straight six was substituted. They also added turn signals and other odds and ends to make it streetable. In 1941, however, the car was moth balled as the brothers prepared for World War II.
After the war, the Jankovits’ found themselves in a tough spot. Their country, Yugoslavia, had turned communist and they knew their freedom was about to become very limited. On Christmas day in 1946, the brothers dug the car out of storage, loaded it up with necessities, and hauled ass for the border. The oddly shaped car startled the border guards and they immediately began firing. Bullets whizzing by their heads, the brothers pressed on and made it through.
The rest of the story is pretty irrelevant from there. I mean, how can you top a border shoot out?
In any case, study the details of the Alfa… Sure, it’s gorgeously shaped and full of personality. But you know what? I think we could do better – then and now.
My vision? A sleeker shape similar to the So-Cal streamliner that hides a mid-mounted and blown Ford flathead, full disc covers over larger 18″ wheels and skinny rubber, light blue/silver “Made in America” paint, etc… Get to work Norwell – we need something to dream about.