A Story That Made History

 
The future belongs to those who have a great history

The History Of A Myth
The legend started in 1910, when Cavalier Ugo Stella acquired the shares of Società Italiana Automobili Darraq, the Italian plant of a French car maker. The first plant was at number 95 Strada del Portello in the north-west outskirts of Milan and the company was called "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili" (Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company), hence the acronym A.L.F.A.

 
1910s - The Birth Of A Legend
  • 1910 - The Birth of a Legend - The origins of Alfa Romeo date back to The Società Italiana Automobili Darracq, founded in 1906 and located at 95, Strada del Portello, Milan, Italy. When economic hardship hit in 1909, company shares were acquired by the organization's managing director, Italian aristocrat Ugo Stella. On June 24, 1910, Stella relaunched and renamed his plant Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili - A.L.F.A. or "Alfa". Alfa's young technical director, Giuseppe Merosi, was an ambitious young man who started out selling bicycles. Soon after, Merosi was designing cars and motorcycles for Fiat and Bianchi. At Alfa, Merosi designed the first vehicle to come off the new production line at Portello in Milan, Italy. The 24HP featured a single block 4.1-liter engine, single drive shaft and reached a top speed of 62 mph.
  • 1914 - Merosi Designed the Alfa Grand Prix - Anxious to establish a reputation in international racing, Alfa assigned Giuseppe Merosi the task of designing a competitive sports car based on the 40-60 HP. The result was the Alfa Grand Prix, the first automobile to feature a twin spark ignition. The 4 cylinder 4.5-liter engine helped it to reach a top speed of 87 mph.
  • 1915 - WWI Forced a Change of Plans - During the First World War, Alfa lacked the funds needed to convert its automobile manufacturing. Nicola Romeo - a successful electrical engineer from Naples, Italy - purchased Alfa and other companies, and started producing airplane engines and portable compressors. The firm was called Società Anonima Italiana Nicola Romeo & Company. The new badge was changed to read "Alfa-Romeo Milano".
  • 1918 - Alfa Prospered During WWI - Automotive production ceased during the war. Merosi was transferred to the Railway Workshops in Naples, Italy, but the company continued to prosper. In the winter of 1918, investors decided to take the company public with a new make on the original name - "Alfa Romeo". The new company name was officially registered February 3, 1918.
  • 1919 - The Return to Automotive Production - Alfa Romeo resumed production at the end of the First World War. They began by assembling parts that were still in stock, and shortly after started designing new models. The Grand Prix - which had been sold-off during the war - was reacquired. It proceeded to turn heads in a series of important Italian races in the early 1920s, such as the Mugello circuit, Parma-Berceto and Brescia circuit. A bright new era had begun.


 

1920s - The Race Era
  • 1922 - Alfa Romeo Launched Merosi's Masterpiece - Alfa Romeo launched its RL, featuring a straight-6 engine with an overhead rocker arm and valves, and brakes on all 4 wheels. The Alfa Romeo RL was a tremendous success. It became known as Giuseppe Merosi's masterpiece. International orders poured in, and 2,640 automobiles were built.
  • 1923 - Alfa Romeo RL, Sivocci and his Four-leaf Clover - The legendary Alfa Romeo race car driver, Ugo Sivocci, wanted to break a string of second- place finishes. To prepare for the legendary Targa Florio race in Sicily, he painted a white square with a "Quadrifoglio"- a four-leaf clover - on the front of his Alfa Romeo RL Targa Florio. As luck would have it, he finished in first place. Ascari finished second and Masetti fourth, both of whom were driving RLs. The victorious results of this difficult, open road, endurance race marked the beginning of Alfa Romeo's racing success. Shortly after his famous victory at the Targa Florio, Sivocci was testing a new race car at the Monza circuit that did not bear his lucky four-leaf clover and he tragically crashed and lost his life and a legend was born. This marked the beginning of a tradition: all future Alfa Romeo race cars would feature the four-leaf clover on a white triangle - with the missing corner symbolizing the loss of Sivocci. Today, Sivocci's clover remains a symbol of race-worthy capabilities and, of course, a symbol of good luck.
  • 1924 - The Launch of the P2 - This marked the era of Vittorio Jano, one of the legends of Alfa Romeo racing. The great designer's first creation was the P2, the first Alfa Romeo with an 8-cylinder supercharged engine and two forced-induction carburetors. Only six models were built. P2 became one of the best Grand Prix automobiles of the 1920s.
  • 1925 - Alfa Romeo Won its First World Championship - Gastone Brilli Peri won Alfa Romeo's first World Championship in Jano's Gran Premio Tipo P2. Four Alfa Romeos crossed the finish line - one after the other - with a 45-minute lead on the fifth-placed driver. The spectacular victory gave Alfa Romeo a reason to add the laurel wreath to its logo.
  • 1928 - Alfa Romeo's First Victory at the Mille Miglia - Considered the "The World's Best Motor Race", the Mille Miglia is an open-road endurance race consisting of a thousand-mile figure eight that loops through the Italian cities of Brescia and Rome. In 1928, Campari and Ramponi won the record-breaking race in the new Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 compressor. Alfa Romeo realized that its cars were becoming status symbols, and the company began to consider mass production.
  • 1929 - The "Alfa" of Ferrari Racing Team - Enzo Ferrari established his Scuderia Ferrari racing team in Modena, Italy. It included more than 40 of the finest racing drivers of the age, including Ascari, Campari and Nuvolari. The team managed all of Alfa Romeo's racing achievements. The cars were known as "The Ferrari Racing Team Alfas".

 
1930s - Win After Win
  • 1930 - 6C 1750 Became a 1930s Icon - Once again, it was Jano who unveiled an iconic automobile. The 6C 1750 was a variation of the 6C 1500, with a more powerful engine. Its exceptional performance was proven the following year when Nuvolari and Guidotti won the Mille Miglia race with a record setting average speed of 62 mph; they were followed by three more 6C 1750s - a truly epic result.
  • 1931 - Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Delivered Italy's First Win at Le Mans - Jano's latest creation was designed to end domination of Le Mans by the British and French. With an innovative 8-cylinder engine and long wheel base, the 8C 2300 was up to the task. Drivers Lord Howe and Sir Henry Birkin won the 1,875-mile race at speeds averaging 78 mph.
  • 1932 - Nuvolari Triumphed in Jano's P3 - The Tipo B, also known as the P3, was Alfa Romeo's first automobile specifically designed for endurance races. It was Jano's finest single-seater, as it was slender, fast and high tech with differential gears and two V-drive shafts to transmit power to the rear wheels. Nuvolari won every race that year in the P3, including the Monaco Grand Prix, the Targa Florio, the Italian Grand Prix, the French Grand Prix, the Coppa Ciano and the Coppa Acerbo.
  • 1933 - Ugo Gobbato Became the New Director of Alfa Romeo - In 1933 Alfa Romeo was bought out by Italy's Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI) and Nicola Romeo was replaced by Ugo Gobbato. Under the new director, Alfa Romeo's racing tasks were transferred to the Ferrari team and the prancing horse replaced the four-leaf clover on all racing cars.
  • 1935 - European Speed Records - German automakers were dominating the world of racing, so Alfa Romeo decided to evolve. Luigi Bazzi designed the powerful Bimotore for Scuderia Ferrari; only two were built. This single seater with two 8-cylinder inline engines broke two European speed records. Nuvolari pushed the Bimotore to a speed of 200 mph over a mile, reaching a top speed of 226 mph. On July 28, 1935, an epic victory was achieved at the most challenging circuit of all, the Nürburgring. Driving Jano's old P3, Tazio Nuvolari triumphed over modern German sports cars and wrote a memorable page in Alfa Romeo's racing history. Representatives of the German government were forced to congratulate Nuvolari, who showed once again that he was the number one driver.
  • 1936 - The American Dream: Nuvolari Won the Vanderbilt Cup - Scuderia Ferrari entered three Alfa Romeos at the Vanderbilt Cup in New York. Nuvolari was still recovering from a bad crash in Tripoli, Libya, that compromised his health, but that did not stop him. He went on to win the Vanderbilt Cup in an Alfa Romeo Gran Premio Tipo C. This victory sealed Nuvolari's and Alfa Romeo's position across the Atlantic.
  • 1937 - The Aerodynamic Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 - The 8C 2900 was the world's most beautiful sports car. Its two-seater chassis made it ideal for motor racing. It was also produced as the 8C 2900B in two stylish variations: the short wheelbase, Spider Corsa, and the long wheelbase, Coupe Touring. The racing version immediately delivered a result that went down in the history of Alfa Romeo racing: an incredible three-win feat at the 1938 Mille Miglia.
  • 1938 - Born to Win: The Alfa Romeo 158 - Designer Gioacchino Colombo helped shape Alfetta, the most enduring single-seater in modern racing history. Slender but incredibly nimble, it took first and second place during its debut at the Coppa Ciano race in Italy. The initial victories were followed by an unbroken series of Grand Prix triumphs that continued until 1950, when it won its first Formula 1® title.


For a premier vehicle experience in central Ohio, visit Bob-Boyd, your Alfa Romeo dealer in Columbus Ohio. The legend of Alfa Romeo vehicles continues today with the 4C, Giulia and Stelvio.


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