Incredible Garage Find: 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900C Cabriolet

This 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900C represents an incredible discovery, as it’s one of just 88 made and retains its original, numbers-matching Tipo 1308 engine. The Alfa comes with a fantastic story that is the stuff of every car guy or gal’s dreams, with the Alfa first being used by a U.S. Army Sargent stationed in Germany, who then sold it to its second owner, a school teacher who brought it back to the U.S.A. She has owned it ever since, representing 55 years in the care of its second owner, who parked it in the family garage in 1983. Find the 1900C here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $289,500.

That’s all the money, sure – but cars like this don’t come along often. The story is great, and when you see a listing like this where the longtime owner has clearly provided photos of her happier days with the car, it’s telling. The second owner was a U.S. citizen teaching in an American elementary school at the time, and while I’d love to know how she and the sergeant’s paths crossed, that little nugget isn’t divulged. Ms. Barbara Urbielonis took great care of the Alfa, ensuring it was serviced at the local Alfa dealer in Frankfurt before it made the move to the states in 1966. I’m not sure when or where the photo was taken, but Barbara looks like a very classy gal.

The best part about this car is that it was clearly used as a summer runabout once it moved to New Hampshire. There’s a great lakes community in New Hampshire, and plenty of folks treat the summer season with the same reverence as one might show towards a Caribbean vacation. Plenty of good backroads, too, and scenic vistas with the White Mountains never too far away. What I’m saying is, it’s a great place to own an Alfa Romeo convertible. But, like many folks who reside in these vacation-oriented communities, cars, and boats get set aside and forgotten once their upkeep becomes too burdensome – and I also wonder if Ms. Barbara had trouble finding an Alfa Romeo mechanic who could service one of this vintage.

The 1900C was designed by Pininfarina, which is almost always a hallmark of a car that will someday become a collectible (not always, but usually). The larger engine in this coachbuilt cabriolet – the 1308 versus the 1306 in “lesser” cars – wasn’t dramatically different from the other engine, aside from having a double timing chain, aluminum sump, and a “…diagonal mounted oil filter base plate,” at least according to the experts on AlfaBB.com. The mileage is indicated as 98,615 KMs, which is believed to be accurate given it left Germany with just over 90,000 KMs. The Alfa was parked in the New Hampshire garage in 1983, the same garage it was removed from. What an incredible find, and a great story for the next owner.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I guess profit isn’t a dirty word in some peoples’ book.

    Like 7
    • bobk

      Profit is certainly not a dirty word in my book.

      Like 20
    • 455bobj

      Capitalism (buy low sell high) has served this country well for those who make good decisions. Profit is where the prepared mind meets opportunity.

      Like 22
    • Scott

      Profit is ok,it’s the greed that make some act the way they do!

      Like 6
    • Rodger

      Everything is worth what someone will pay, unless you live in a commune.

      Like 5
      • chrlsful

        worth is not in the payment, value is.

        Now the net shows what will be paid when supply and demand no longer rule the mrkt. It is (quite often) international deep pockets v deeper pockets.

  2. DRV

    She’s a smart teacher with car knowledge and great taste! This will be on the lawn at a few concours in a few years.

    Like 10
  3. Scott

    Frankfurt was a large American base until closure in the 90s. The DOD still runs dependent schools all over Germany. Many of the teachers spend decades overseas teaching the children of service members. It’s a great gig if you can get it. At every base they have lots where Soldiers and civilians put their cars up for sale before they rotate back to the US. These are affectionately known in the Army as “Lemon Lots”. I bought my son a BMW in Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg while he attended Heidelberg American High School. That car had been passed down through American Soldiers for years.

    Like 12
    • Milt

      Navel Air station Adak Alaska out on the Aleutian Islands also had a lemon lot. Vehicle shipping costs back to Anchorage were too costly so one 1953 Cadillac gained the title “Adak Cadillac”. Just open the glove box and a dozen signed over titles would fall out.

      Like 7
      • tl hamilton

        I bought a 1952 Willy’s Aero Lark Sedan on Adak in 1967. I wonder if it’s still there?

    • Queequeg

      Good old PHV!

  4. JRHaelig

    Once a car left the German registration system it could not go back in. They just circulated within the various US branches.

    In the early ’80s I bought a VW Golf, a nice Mercedes 230E and a Porsche 914, then sold them at purchase price when I PCS’ed.

    I also remember a guy arriving at my quarters with an early 70’s Maserati he was going to grey market home.

    Like 7
  5. art

    I don’t think the issue is merely profit from a “find”. The real issue here and with other automobile finds is whether the buyer was dealing fairly with the elderly lady owner or her estate in what was offered for this rare car. That is the question but we can only speculate as to what was paid, was indeed fair.

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      What the estate sold the car for is likely reflected the amount of effort they put into researching the car and if they contacted more than one interested party. The internet is a wonderful source of information, it’s the great equalizer for those willing to put forth the effort and use it. Within a few minutes they should have been able to realize they had something special and needed reach out to multiple dealers to protect their interests.

      Steve R

      Like 6
      • Mountainwoodie

        Yes and no. The internet by virtue of the wide exposure to potential buyers inflates the asking price in many cases. Its a legitimate query as to whether someone took advantage of the owner or her estate given the condition of the car and the ask. I mean clearly no one has done anything to clean it up. That said I fall on the side of ‘Caveat Emptor’.

        Just on the basis of what the car is, condition wise, leaving aside its speculation value, I wouldn’t give you five grand for it. But then I am cheap.

        Like 2
    • Scott

      I believe that’s a very reasonable question/thought.

      Like 2
    • chrlsful

      Thank You !

  6. Capt RD

    Should have mentioned it was “Gullwing” selling it — wouldn’t have wasted my time looking. Maybe Beverly Hills Car Club will buy it next.
    No use speculating if the estate got fair value.

    Like 13
    • Mike Hawke

      amen

      Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      Direct hit.

      Like 1
  7. Danger Dan

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, Peter and gullwing changed my life. He bought my car and paid for it in 12 hours. He marked it up a small amount and probably still has it. That outfit was a pleasure to deal with and I have to thank them. DD

    Like 7
  8. Don P

    I suspect this listing is just a quick feeler to gauge interest. If the above comments reflect that Gullwing is a knowledgeable reputable shop, a serious auction would have waited for some clean up and much better photos.
    To me it looks like they snapped a few pictures as they picked it up and got it out on the web to start the selling process not intending to actually sell it here.

    Like 5
    • Amorypaz Amorypaz

      From a marketing standpoint that makes all the sense in the world, Don P. By the way, if Don P stands for Don Pepe, your tequila did quite a number on me back in 1985. I got out of that scrape with all my teeth and half my self respect. Either way, that’s a savvy insight as to the purpose of the above offer.

      Like 1
  9. Martin Horrocks

    Fabulous car which will make sense to someone. When you build a concours car, rarity, completeness and provenance are probably the most important attributes in a project. This Alfa ticks all of those.

    Price seems crazy, but then I´m not a concours guy and the price is only the start of this project. Mechanically, at least, Alfa 1900s are neither difficult nor expensive.

    Like 3
  10. glen kay

    again onley for the rich and famous

    Like 1
  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I knew that it was a Gullwing find as soon as I saw that price.

    Peter even put himself in one of the pictures!

    Since this isn’t in his showroom, I wonder if it is a consignment.

    Like 1
  12. lbpa18

    Man, what beautiful lines. Must have been a heart stopper in the fifties.

    Like 2
  13. Bill McCoskey

    The moment I saw the photos, I knew it was Miss Barbara’s car. My family had a small “cottage” on lake Wentworth in New Hampshire, and Miss Barbara’s car was well known in the late 1960s & early 70s, when I used to spend my summers there.

    I once got a ride in the Alfa when my family was shopping in the local town of Wolfboro Falls. She came out of a store to find me drooling all over her beautiful Alfa. She asked me if I wanted a ride in it, and my face must have said it all, because she smiled and said “Hop in”, and off we went. [Dad said it was OK.]

    This had to be about 1967 or 1968, because dad had recently bought a new 1967 Plymouth Fury III wagon, and we had been using the wagon that day. Miss Barbara certainly knew how to handle that Alfa, and while I was just a bit scared in how fast we went, I was also wonderfully happy during and after that ride back to the cottage. My parents showed up about 15 minutes later in the wagon, but Miss Barbara was long gone.

    Thanks Barn Finds for giving me the opportunity of fondly remembering that ride, and sharing it with B. F. members.

    Like 17
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Great story! Thanks for sharing, Bill.

      Like 1
  14. HARM R SMIT

    This will only go up in value with a considered restoration.

  15. Queequeg

    What a beauty!

  16. chrlsful

    as said PK/GwMotors hasa business model that wrks well w/those across the river (east). Some consignment-like, some not. However, plez do not question ethics w/o knowledge of facts. I for 1 see him as fair and better yet? an enthusiast himself. He has more than making a living in mind/action.

    Like 1

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