The first Alba was designed and built in 1952, and as was normal at the time in Portugal, France and Italy, it was equipped with the infallible 1089cc Simca-Fiat engine. The Alba’s styling was quite remarkably ahead of its time, especially when put next to the DM or the FAP of the same era. Both the DM and FAP had comparatively very archaic aesthetics.
The Alba racing team achieved early success in the hands of Martins Pereira and Francisco Corte Real Pereira. The latter, who helped develop the car, won the 1100cc class Boavista Circuit race two years in a row in 1951 and 1952. With three racing cars built, the company focused its competitive efforts on national events. Corte Real was usually at the wheel for circuit events and Martins Pereira competed in regularity tests and rallies.
In 1954, the ACP, Portugal’s motorsport governing body, imposed new regulatory changes which increased engine capacities from 1 litre to 1.5 litres. Small Portuguese builders like Alba had to find new engines if they were to comply. Alba began to develop several engines initially by increasing the bore of its 1.1 litre unit to 1.3. The company also later did a similar job on a Peugeot block.
But with the rapid ascendancy of the Porsche engine, which proved to be unbeatable in both the Denzel and 550 Spyder, Corte Real Pereira devised a daring plan to help Alba compete. Taking an old Alfa Romeo 6C 1.7-litre unit, the company then reduced the bore size to 1.5, thus developing a curious 1.5 litre six-cylinder engine. The newly equipped Alba raced in Boavista, 1955 and 56, then in Vila Real 1958 without much success.
Alba’s life in competition continued for some time without notable success until 1961, when Corte Real Pereira finished third in the Rally Nocturno de Salgueiros.