The winning mount of the 1950 and 1951 F1 World Champions is caught driving in Paris.
This red race car seen here is an Alfetta, also known as the Alfa Romeo 158/159. It's the model with which Nino Farina won the first modern Formula 1 World Championship for Drivers in 1950. A year later, Juan Manuel Fangio won the title, which became his first of five such titles. These first two photographs were taken last Sunday night in Paris (notice the Notre Dame cathedral in the background of one of the photos). The unidentified owner said it's an original (not a replica) 158 and he only added the headlights behind the front grille for night driving.
However, after comparing photographs, we suspect it is the 159 from 1951. The reason being is because it has fins behind the front wheels. We also suspect that the hood is a new component since it lacks the cooling slots in the engine cover. So it's possible that this might have been Fangio's 1951 winning mount. The 158/159 was conceived towards the end of the '30s. During that period the mighty German race cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, known also as the Silver Arrows, were winning many Grand Prix racing trophies. Alfa Romeo, along with other European manufacturers, decided to concentrate its efforts in Voiturette racing.
The car made its debut in the summer of 1938. It was raced by Emillio Villoressi and won its first race. It won a few more races before the war, the last one being the Tripoli Grand Prix that took place on May 12, 1940. After World War II began and during the war, it was kept hidden from the Germans. It resumed its racing career in 1946 and dominated Grand Prix racing until its forced retirement, due to technical regulations change. The 158/159 was propelled by a supercharged inline 8-cylinder engine that in its final year was capable of 425hp.
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