So many pre-war Italian cars might have made it on to our Top 12 list: the Lancia Lambda for its pioneering unitary construction; the Fiat Topolino for how it democratised transport; or the Lancia Aprilia for its advanced engineering. Instead, it’s one of the greatest sports cars of all time that has exerted an irresistible pull on us: the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750. Those ‘6C’ alpha-numerals simply signify six cylinders, but in Alfa lore that represents something very special. While there had been Alfa straight-six engines before (the G1 of 1921 and the Merosi-designed RL of 1923), it was engineer Vittorio Jano, who joined Alfa Romeo in September 1923, who catapulted the format to the height of success with his 1.5-litre ‘six’. The new powerplant entered production as the 6C 1500 in 1927.