by Koen Beekmann and Karl Schnelle
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Authors unless otherwise stated.
In this 11th installment, we cover two “old-timers”. In the previous part, the 1970’s Togi Alfasud was examined. Now we look at two cars from a much earlier period: the 1930 Alfa Romeo 1750 Gran Sport and the 1927 Lancia Lambda Torpedo. Both were introduced in 1977, perhaps as an experiment by Togi. Or perhaps they were thinking this was the end of the line. Nevertheless, it was six more years before another model was introduced! Also remarkable was that a Lancia was introduced and not just another Alfa!
1750 Gran Sport
The Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sport was manufactured from 1929 to 1933, with bodies by coachbuilders such as Touring and Zagato.
Togi released several versions including plain, Mille Miglia, and a carbone. The Mille versions have three red headlights in front and seem to come with race numbers 5,6, or 25. Both top up and top down versions were made. A 1750 GS won the 1930 Mille as number 84 driven by Tazio Nuvolari!
The a carbone, also called gasogeno, was released by Togi in 1980 and was a modification to run on wood or charcoal when fuel was unavailable. A 1750 ‘competed’ in the 1933 Mille Miglia with this setup but was entered for demonstration only! A regular Alfa 8C 2300 won that year!
Variations: Not many have been identified. Mille Miglia versions have chrome or black wheels. Also, ivory-colored versions have been seen on the internet with matching wheels. The current Togi website is still selling all the versions!
After many, many Alfas came out from Togi, they introduced this oddball in 1977, or 1980 perhaps: the Lancia Lambda Series VII from 1927. Some of the Togi boxes list it as a passo corto, or short-wheelbase version. A very remarkable car for its time with the first self-supporting body and independently sprung front wheels. This made it a relatively light car with good road holding. The engine was a V4.
The Lambda is also a remarkable model because it is the Togi with the most realistic details. At that time, it was also a very high-quality model, perhaps even comparable to today’s CMCs. You can clearly see that Mr. Lorenzini, the owner, really did his best to outdo himself. At that time he was producing increasingly high-quality models that could compete very well with other brands, even considering their high price. I wonder if they considered the potential market for these two oldies, after years of releasing current Alfa models. We are, however, talking about the time that the models of, for example, Rio and the l ‘Age d’Or were popular.
If we look at the model, the great details stand out for that time period. The hinges of the 4 small doors, for example, are minuscule and neatly made. And they really hinge, just like the door handles that also look very realistic and really work. The steering is just like the real one with a worm gear, and it works very realistically with a few turns of the steering wheel. The rear suspension with leaf springs also works. And then the sliding pillar shock absorbers in front, they also work just like in the real car and are independent.
For a Togi, this model also has a beautifully detailed engine, and striking that at this time the model came out with the closed hood made of real fabric. The opened hood was just made of hard plastic, unfortunately. The fabric is a bit rough for this 1: 23 model, but it is very charming. It is not a really opening hood but a piece of sewn fabric over a diecast frame.
The overall model looks very different from the Togi’s up to that time and also cost a little more, but no other Togi offered so much value for its high price. Moreover, it is also a model with good proportions.
Why did Togi finally release a Lancia, while Lorenzini was a real Alfista? Was it made at Lancia’s request? Could be, but we do not know really.
The enthusiastic crowd for this model is smaller than for the Togi Alfas because the model is still regularly offered on ebay and does not get more than reasonable prices. Why? Generally speaking, there is less enthusiasm for models that are pre WW II, and unfamiliarity with this Lancia will also play a role.
An uncommon variation for any Togi is this unpainted kit, shown below.
Togi even printed its own color brochure for the Lambda, where two models were retouched in a photo in the pre-Photoshop era.
Some sources say it lasted in the Togi catalog only until 1983, but the current website is selling the Lancia in red or white!
The next installment in this series will be coming out shortly: the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider!