Since 1948 I have been puzzled by references in all motor magazines to the 1 1/2-litre two-stage Alfa-Romeos as Tipo 159. Having a comprehensive collection of Alfa data, the following factory-authenticated data may be of interest and help to clear up this little mystery.
Since the demise of the Monoposto (not Tipo P3, you notice) and the Tipo “C” cars (Dennis Poore type), all racing Alfa-Romeos have been type-numbered to a system, which works as follows:
The Tipo 308 was the 3-litre 8-cylinder;
The Tipo 312 was the 3-litre 12-cylinder;
The Tipo 316 was the 3-litre 16-cylinder;
and so on, the first figure denoting the litreage and the latter the number of cylinders.
Now: the 1 1/2-litre car was originally called the Tipo 158 (1.5-litre, 8-cylinder), and by now it is obvious what I am driving at. When these cars were brought out later in 1939-40 with altered nose cowling, etc., they were called Tipo 158B, and after the war, when they were given two-stage blowers, they were called Tipo 158C. Perhaps after this stage we have two more improved models, but suddenly the cars blossom out with Tipo 159. I am, as a collector of racing-car data, most interested to know the reason for the 159 as I wish to keep my records 100 per cent. accurate, so perhaps any reader having factory data to explain this apparent mystery would make it available in these pages, with the Editor’s consent, of course. Whatever the explanation. I am sure the 1949-51 Alfa-Romeos did not have nine cylinders ! I await the result with interest.
I am, Yours, etc.,