Some people believe the fact Alfa built just the one Castagna Vittoria in 1995 is a good thing.
For others it’s another precious part of Alfa Romeo’s long and illustrious history of building cars.
Either way, the one-off 1995 Alfa Romeo Carrozzeria Castagnav is due to go to auction on November 15.
The working prototype is based on an Alfa Romeo 75, already regarded as a desirable Italian classic, and was produced by the historic coach builders Carrozzeria Castagna.
Originally founded in 1849 in Milan, the company is best known for trimming coaches on the Orient Express, and the creation of radical and innovative vehicles such as the Alfa Aerodynamica (pictured).
After its collapse in 1954, the brand was revived in 1995 and presented its first model, this Castagna Vittoria, at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show.
Although based on the 75, it bears more resemblance to the striking SZ.
Up front, the overhanging nose juts out over the iconic Trilobo-motif grille, the profile features a ‘c-line’ around the windows akin to 21st-century Bugattis and the rear is dominated by a distinctive Kamm tail.
Unlike most concept cars, however, this one drives, and drives well.
It is powered by Alfa Romeo’s much-loved 3.0-litre ‘Busso’ V6 that produces 190kW at 5740rpm, mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The suspension has been uprated and now features Koni coaxial shock absorbers all-round and independent coil springs up front.
Adding new Brembo 6-piston self-ventilating disc brakes to the package means this Alfa Romeo is a serious driver’s car, rare for often powerless concept cars.
Once a standard method of automotive construction and design, coachbuilding is now almost exclusively reserved for low-volume and high-end vehicles.
This is due to the high proportion of hand-built, bespoke parts, such as the ones found on the Castagna Vittoria.
The base Alfa Romeo 75 has been entirely rebuilt, re-bodied and retrimmed in its transformation.
The aluminium body panels have been hand-hammered over the steel frame, and the interior has been overhauled with dark green leather, sporty Alcantara and carved wooden trim elements with Vittoria branding.
The Alfa is numbered and stamped as ‘Car 0001’ and comes with all of its identification and restoration paperwork, as well as the base car’s original manual, and even an ABC miniature of the car presented on a display plaque.
First presented at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, the car has attended numerous prestigious events since.
Amongst these are the 1995 Mille Miglia, ‘The Uniques’ in 2010 and Essen’s ‘Techno Classica’ in 2012, where it received the Youngtimer Award.