What: 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva
Who: People who want a great car that’s also a convertible
Why: Some people say the 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva is old-school; we’d argue it’s a classic. It continues to look sophisticated and define automotive luxury in a way that no other brand can, even if it manages to outlive nearly all its competitors on the road.
The series goes back to the mid-50's, when Alfa Romeo sought to revive the glory of its pre-war period and decided to move away from tailored machinery to a mass-produced line. With the idea of producing limited volumes for Alfa Romeo’s sporting clientele, and using it for racing in the sports class, the illustrious company went on to built only four series: two spiders and two coupés. This resulted in the production of Sportiva as a road-going version, and ‘flying saucers’ called Disco Volantes for the track – both designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone.
The coupé used front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to distinguish itself from lesser sports cars, but it didn’t command attention in the same way as its rivals. Under the timeless coupé’s long hood lies a four-cylinder motor with its light-alloy and iron blockhead. It was bored out to give 1997.4 cc and with hotter cams, 9:1 compression and dry sump, twin Weber 50DCO3 carburettors, it punched out 138 bhp at 6500 rpm. The two-seater also features a front suspension by double wishbones, coil springs and dampers, finned inboard drum brakes, rear-end treatment, a wrap-around rear window, and a tubular space frame chassis covered by an all-aluminium body. Today, this rarer-than-a-Ferrari 250 GTO deserves to be regarded not only as a ground-breaking work of art, but also as a historically significant engineering masterpiece.