The country one: 1953 Alfa Romeo AR51 “Matta”


We are all used to thinking of Alfa Romeo as an elegant or sporty vehicle, and in any case to a vehicle that runs on asphalt, but this has not always been the case.


In addition to the vans, in fact, the Alfa also built this off-road vehicle commissioned by the Italian police: we must in fact imagine the Italy of the immediate post-war period when the paved roads were the exception and not the rule. The Milanese factory then built this vehicle using the already tested four-cylinder engine, double overhead camshaft already used on 1900cc sedans and coupes.


Obviously this AR51 began its life in 1953 as a military vehicle, remaining in service until 1979 when it was registered as a civil vehicle and repainted in a questionable metallic burgundy, in any case apart from the color and some posthumously mounted accessory, the vehicle it is substantially original: little rust, original motor and gearbox and it still runs and drives; a restoration should not be a nightmare. Find it for sale here in Casabianca, Italy, with bidding at $2,550 and reserve not met.


One thought on “The country one: 1953 Alfa Romeo AR51 “Matta”

  1. Here some comments from a Matta guy:
    the historical description is correct, I must add that in 1954 Alfa Romeo introduced a civilian version with tilting rear side door, AR52 the model name, only 154 produced.
    The original color for a Fifties italian National Police car IS Rosso Vinaccia M.d.S. – Milizia della Strada (mashed grape red as used by road patrols from 1928 to 1945), Lechler catalog MIL A 9 – 8066.
    Apart the “black panthers” parenthesis, Alfa 1900 Super TI G and Ferrari 250 GTE, in the late Fifties all average duty police vehicles changed their color in “Fern Green” (Lechler MIL A 15 – 8231) until the early Seventies, when the current light blue / white livery was adopted (Lechler MIL A 18 – 8236, with a lot of similar variants).
    A Police Matta dismissed in the late Seventies should carry traces of the three above mentioned colors.
    Rear back rest grilles “around” rear seats are exclusive of the Police Matta, Carabinieri had them not, as the tail lights are correct, being similar to those for civilian version and not to those for the Army (with double full light+shadowed “combat” lights system).
    The Police Matta pictures included in the ad show a too light red car, good maybe for Fire Chiefs; if anyone wants to see a Matta with the correct color have a look at Alfa Romeo Arese Museum web site, last March 17th we met there for “Backstage 3” event, there was one red running around the short track. Otherwise photobase has plenty of them.

    Let’s see how the bidding ends…

    Giuseppe Maranghi – Laveno (VA – Italy) and AR51*00609* + AR51*00834* + AR52*00082*

    Liked by 1 person

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