Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A.
Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID)
24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy
Alexandre Darracq/Ugo Stella
Nicola Romeo
Milan, Italy
Area served
Key people
John Elkann (President)
Harald J Wester (CEO)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, NV
Fiat Group Automobiles
Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈalfa roˈmɛːo]) is an Italian luxury car manufacturer. Founded as A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, English: Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company) on June 24, 1910, in Milan, the company has been involved in car racing since 1911. It was owned by Italian state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale between 1932 and 1986, when it became a part of the Fiat group. In February 2007 the Alfa Romeo brand was transformed into the current Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary of Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A..
The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. In late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and the Italian partners of the company hired Giuseppe Merosi for designing new cars. On June 24, 1910, a new company was founded named A.L.F.A., initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Merosi. A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24 hp models. In August 1915 the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP the first car to be so badged.
In 1921, the Banca Italiana di Sconto, which backed the Ing. Nicola Romeo & Co, went broke and the government needed to support the industrial companies involved, among which Alfa Romeo, through the "Consorzio per Sovvenzioni sui Valori Industriali". In 1925, the railway activities were separated from the Romeo company, and in 1928 Nicola Romeo left. In 1933, the state ownership was reorganized under the banner of the Istituto per la Riscotruzione Industriale (IRI) by Benito Mussolini's government, which then had effective control. The company struggled to return to profitability after the Second World War, and turned to mass-producing small vehicles rather than hand-building luxury models. In 1954 it developed the Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which would remain in production until 1994. During the 1960s and 1970s Alfa Romeo produced a number of sporty cars, though the Italian government parent company, Finmeccanica, struggled to make a profit so it sold the marque to the Fiat Group in 1986.
Alfa Romeo has competed successfully in many different categories of motorsport, including Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, sportscar racing, touring car racing and rallies. It has competed both as a constructor and an engine supplier, via works entries (usually under the name Alfa Corse or Autodelta) and private entries. The first racing car was made in 1913, three years after the foundation of the company, and Alfa Romeo won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. The company gained a good name in Motorsport, which gave a sporty image to the whole marque. Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929 as an Alfa Romeo racing team, before becoming independent in 1939.

Alfa Romeo Cars

Current models
Historic models
Future models
Spider (2015), Giulia, C-SUV
Racing cars
Concept cars
2uettotanta, 2000 Sportiva, 33.2, BAT series, Carabo, Disco Volante, Diva, Navajo, Kamal, Nuvola, Pandion, Proteo, Scighera, Visconti, 4C, TZ3, Eagle, Giulia Sport, Canguro, Bella, Iguana, Vivace, Delfino, Vola, Zeta 6, Dardo, Caimano, Issima, Monospider


Foundation and early years

A 1908 Darracq 8/10 HP assembled by Alfa Romeo's predecessor, Darracq Italiana
The A.L.F.A 24 hp (this is with Castagna torpedo body) was the first car made by Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili in 1910.
The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. One of them, Cavaliere Ugo Stella, an aristocrat from Milan, became chairman of the SAID in 1909. The firm's initial location was in Naples, but even before the construction of the planned factory had started, Darracq decided late in 1906 that Milan would be more suitable and accordingly a tract of land was acquired in the Milan suburb of Portello, where a new factory of 6,700 square metres (8,000 sq yd) was erected. Late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and Stella, with the other Italian co-investors, founded a new company named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili), initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe Merosi, hired in 1909 for designing new cars more suited to the Italian market. Merosi would go on to design a series of new A.L.F.A. cars, with more powerful engines (40-60 HP). A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24 HP models. In 1914, an advanced Grand Prix car was designed and built, the GP1914, with a four-cylinder engine, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and twin ignition. However, the onset of the First World War halted automobile production at A.L.F.A. for three years.
ALFA 24HP (1910)
In August 1915 the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. Munitions, aircraft engines and other components, compressors and generators based on the company's existing car engines were produced in a vastly enlarged factory during the war. After the war, Romeo invested his war profits in acquiring locomotive and railway carriage plants in Saronno (Costruzioni Meccaniche di Saronno), Rome (Officine Meccaniche di Roma) and Naples (Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali), which were added to his A.L.F.A. ownership.
Car production had not been considered at first, but resumed in 1919 since parts for the completion of 105 cars had remained at the A.L.F.A. factory since 1915. In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP the first car to be so badged. Their first success came in 1920 when Giuseppe Campari won at Mugello and continued with second place in the Targa Florio driven by Enzo Ferrari. Giuseppe Merosi continued as head designer, and the company continued to produce solid road cars as well as successful race cars (including the 40-60 HP and the RL Targa Florio).
In 1923 Vittorio Jano was lured from Fiat, partly thanks to the persuasion of a young Alfa racing driver named Enzo Ferrari, to replace Merosi as chief designer at Alfa Romeo. The first Alfa Romeo under Jano was the P2 Grand Prix car, which won Alfa Romeo the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. For road cars Jano developed a series of small-to-medium-displacement 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder inline engines based on the P2 unit that established the architecture of the company's engines, with light alloy construction, hemispherical combustion chambers, centrally located plugs, two rows of overhead valves per cylinder bank and dual overhead cams. Jano's designs proved both reliable and powerful.
Enzo Ferrari proved a better team manager than driver, and when the factory team was privatised, it became Scuderia Ferrari. When Ferrari left Alfa Romeo, he went on to build his own cars. Tazio Nuvolari often drove for Alfa, winning many races before the Second World War.

8C 2900B Touring Spider (1937)
In 1928 Nicola Romeo left, and in 1933 Alfa Romeo was rescued by the government, which then had effective control. Alfa Romeo became an instrument of Mussolini's Italy, a national emblem. During this period it built bespoke vehicles for the wealthy, with bodies normally by Touring of Milan or Pinin Farina. This era peaked with the Alfa Romeo 2900B Type 35 racers.
The Alfa factory (converted during wartime to the production of Macchi C.202 Folgore engines: the Daimler-Benz 600 series built under license) was bombed during the Second World War, and struggled to return to profitability after the war. The luxury vehicles were out. Smaller, mass-produced vehicles began to be produced beginning with the 1954 model year, with the introduction of the Giulietta series of berline (saloons/sedans), coupes and open two-seaters. All three varieties shared what would become the Alfa Romeo overhead Twin Cam four-cylinder engine, initially 1300 cc. This engine would eventually be enlarged to 2000 cc and would remain in production until 1995.
When I see an Alfa Romeo go by, I tip my hat.
—Henry Ford talking with Ugo Gobbato in 1939

Post war

Once motor sports resumed after the Second World War, Alfa Romeo proved to be the car to beat in Grand Prix events. The introduction of the new formula (Formula One) for single-seat racing cars provided an ideal setting for Alfa Romeo's Tipo 158 Alfetta, adapted from a pre-war voiturette, and Giuseppe Farina won the first Formula One World Championship in 1950 in the 158. Juan Manuel Fangio secured Alfa's second consecutive championship in 1951.
Alfa Romeo production between 1998 and 2012
In 1952, Alfa Romeo experimented with its first front-wheel drive compact car, "Project 13-61". It had the same transverse-mounted, forward-motor layout as the modern front-wheel drive automobile. Alfa Romeo made a second attempt toward the late 1950s based on Project 13-61. It was to be called Tipo 103 and resembled the smaller version of its popular Alfa Romeo Giulia. However, due to the financial difficulties in post-war Italy, the Tipo 103 never saw production. Had Alfa Romeo produced it, it would have preceded the Mini as the first "modern" front-wheel drive compact car. In the mid-fifties, Alfa Romeo entered into an agreement with Brazil's Matarazzo Group to create a company called Fabral (Fábrica Brasileira de Automóveis Alfa, "the Brazilian Alfa automobile factory") to build the Alfa Romeo 2000 there. After having received government approval, Matarazzo pulled out and under pressure from Brazil's President Juscelino Kubitschek the state-owned FNM company instead commenced building the car as the "FNM 2000" there in 1960.
During the 1960s, Alfa Romeo concentrated on competition using production-based cars, including the GTA (standing for Gran Turismo Allegerita), an aluminium-bodied version of theBertone-designed coupe with a powerful twin-plug engine. Among other victories, the GTA won the inaugural Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am championship in 1966. In the 1970s, Alfa Romeo concentrated on prototype sports car racing with the Tipo 33, with early victories in 1971. Eventually the Tipo 33TT12 gained the World Championship for Makes for Alfa Romeo in 1975 and the Tipo 33SC12 won the World Championship for Sports Cars in 1977.
By the 1970s, Alfa Romeo was again in financial trouble and creative measures were attempted to shore it up, including an ultimately unsuccessful joint venture with Nissan endorsed by Ettore Massacesi of Alfa Romeo's parent company, the Italian-government owned Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) and Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga. By 1986, IRI was suffering heavy losses, and IRI president Romano Prodi put Alfa Romeo up for sale. Finmeccanica, the mechanical holdings arm of IRI and its predecessors owned Alfa Romeo since 1932. Prodi first approached fellow Italian manufacturer Fiat, which offered to start a joint venture with Alfa. Prodi was initially unsupportive, citing the strained industrial relations between Northern and Southern Italy, with Fiat being based in Turin and Alfa being based in Milan.
Fiat withdrew its plan for a joint venture when Ford put in an offer to acquire part of Alfa Romeo and restructure the company, while increasing its stake over time. However, Fiat put in a bid to acquire the entirety of Alfa Romeo and offer job guarantees to Italian workers, an offer that Ford was unwilling to match.
It also did not hurt any of the parties involved that an acquisition by Fiat would keep Alfa Romeo in Italian hands. In 1986, the deal was concluded with Alfa Romeo merged with traditional rival Lancia into Fiat's Alfa Lancia Industriale S.p.A.
Models produced from the 1990s combined Alfa's traditional virtues of avant-garde styling and sporting panache with the economic benefits of product rationalisation, and include a "GTA" version of the 147 hatchback, the Giugiaro-designed Brera, and a high-performance exotic called the 8C Competizione (named after one of Alfa's most successful prewar sports and racing cars, the 8C of the 1930s).
In 2005 Maserati was bought back from Ferrari and under Fiat's full control. The Fiat Group plans to create a sports and luxury division from Maserati and Alfa Romeo. There is a planned strategic relationship between these two; engines, platforms and possibly dealers will be shared in some markets.
In the beginning of 2007, Fiat Auto S.p.A. was reorganized and four new automobile companies were created; Fiat Automobiles S.p.A., Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., Lancia Automobiles S.p.A. and Fiat Light Commercial Vehicles S.p.A. These companies are fully owned by Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.

Carabinieri aand Italian goverment

In the 1960s Alfa Romeo became famous for its small cars and models specifically designed for the Italian police and Carabinieri; among them the "Giulia Super" or the 2600 Sprint GT, which acquired the nickname of "Inseguimento" (literally "to chase or predate"). The colours of the Alfa Romeos used by the Polizia were/are green/blue with white stripes and writing, known as "Pantera" (Panther), enhancing the aggressive look of the Alfa (particularly the Giulia series), while the Carabinieri Alfas were dark blue with white roofs and red stripes, known as the "Gazzella" (Gazelle) denoting the speed and agility of these "Pattuglie" (armed response patrol units). However, the term "Pantera" became used interchangeably and the image helped create a no-nonsense, determined and respected perception by the general public of the men that drove these cars, true to their history.
Italian State Police Flying Squad "Panther" 1971 Alfa Giulia Super
Since then, Alfas remain the chosen mount of the Carabinieri (arm of the Italian armed forces seconded only partly for civilian policing purposes), Polizia Autostradale (highway police) and the conventional police service (Polizia). Successively, the following Alfa Romeo Berlinas have found favour for Italian police and government employment.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta
  • Alfa Romeo "Nuova" Giulietta
  • Alfa Romeo 33 (Only Polizia di Stato)
  • Alfa Romeo 75
  • Alfa Romeo 164 (Official Vehicles)
  • Alfa Romeo 155
  • Alfa Romeo 156
  • Alfa Romeo 166 (Official Vehicles)
  • Alfa Romeo 159.
Since the 1960s, the Italian Prime Minister has used Alfa Romeos (and lately the new Maserati Quattroporte) as preferred government limousines. The 164 and 166 have found particular employment in the last two decades.

Recent developments

Alfa Romeo has been suffering from falling sales. Some analysts concluded that the automaker suffered large operating losses in the mid-2000s - estimated to be about 15 percent to 20 percent of annual revenues, or about 300 million to 500 million euros a year. For the year of 2010, it sold a total of about 112,000 units which was significantly lower than Fiat CEO Marchionne's global sales target of 300,000. Alfa then wanted to achieve 170,000 sales in 2011, including 100,000 Giulietta and 60,000 MiTo, but it actually sold 130,000 units that year. Its medium-term target remains 500,000 units by 2014 including 85,000 from N. American market.

Return to the United States

Giulietta Spider
Alfa Romeo was imported to the United States by Max Hoffman from the mid-1950s. The Giulietta Spider was born by request of Max Hoffman, who proposed an open version of the Giulietta. In 1961 Alfa Romeo started importing cars to the United States.
In 1995 Alfa Romeo ceased exporting cars to the United States, the last model to be sold being the 164. Rumours began of their return, however as the FAQ on Alfa Romeo's English website had said "The long-awaited return of Alfa Romeo to the United States market should take place by 2007, with a range of new models."
Alfa Romeo's return to United States was confirmed on 5 May 2006 by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. It resumed sales in the United States with the 8C Competizione in October 2008. In 2008, Alfa Romeo and Chrysler were reported to be in discussions, with Alfa Romeo possibly using Chrysler manufacturing plants that have been shut down due to unneeded product.
A new Alfa Romeo Spider will also be based on the Mazda Miata platform The underpinnings of the car—built at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan, plant—will share the rear-wheel drive technology that Mazda is planning for the next generation of the MX-5 model (often known as the Miata), but the automakers will style different bodies for each brand. The cars will look different from the outside and will also receive different engines. The automaker will reintroduce itself to Americans in the second half of 2013 with the Alfa 4C, another two-seater sports car. The Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. and Mazda Motor Corporation agreement about Spider/MX-5 should be finalized later in 2012, and production of the Spider could begin in 2015.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 4, 2009, that Chrysler would announce that it is dropping several models of Dodge and Jeep while phasing in Alfa Romeo and Fiat 500 models.
The Alfa Romeo 4C was announced to be the first mass-produced car to re-enter the US market in 2013. In 2012, this re-entry was again delayed, this time to early 2014. However at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, Sergio Marchionne stated that Alfa Romeo will return to the U.S. market by 2015 with mainstream models.

Design and technology

Technological development

Alfa Romeo has introduced many technological innovations over the years, and the company has often been among the first users of new technologies. Its trademark double overhead cam engine was used for the first time in the 1914 Grand Prix car, the first road car with such an engine, the 6C 1500 Sport, appeared in 1928.
Alfa Romeo tested one of the very first electric injection systems (Caproni-Fuscaldo) in the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 with "Ala spessa" body in 1940 Mille Miglia. The engine had six electrically operated injectors, fed by a semi-high pressure circulating fuel pump system.
Mechanical Variable Valve Timing was introduced in the Alfa Romeo Spider, sold in the U.S. in 1980. Electronic Variable Valve Timing was introduced in the (Alfetta).
The 105 series Giulia was quite an advanced car using such technologies as: All-wheel disc brakes, plastic radiator header tank it had also the lowest Drag Coefficient (Cd) in its class. The same trend continued with the Alfetta 2000 and GTV, which had such things as 50:50 weight distribution, standard fit alloy wheels and transaxle.
Newer innovations include complete CAD design process used in Alfa Romeo 164, robotised/paddle control transmission Selespeed used in the 156; the 156 was also the world's first passenger car to use Common rail diesel engine. The Multiair -an electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation technology used in MiTo was introduced in 2009.

Body design

Many famous automotive design houses in Italy have accepted commissions to produce concepts and production vehicle shapes for Alfa Romeo. These include:
  • Bertone
  • Giorgetto Giugiaro / Italdesign
  • Pininfarina
  • Zagato
  • Centro Stile Alfa Romeo
The last mentioned, the Centro Stile, has rapidly gained international credibility with its work. The 8C Competizione super-coupé, and the MiTo hatchback are the results.
Construction techniques used by Alfa Romeo have become imitated by other car makers, and in this way Alfa Romeo body design has often been very influential. The following is a list of innovations, and where appropriate, examples of imitation by other car manufacturers:
Alfa 6C 2500 S
  • 1950s: Monocoque body design in the Giulia: While not an imitation per se, this construction technique became extremely widespread, and remains so to the present day.
  • 1960s: Aerodynamics: The 116-series Giulia had a very low Cd. Toyota in particular sought to produce a similarly shaped series of vehicles at this time.
  • 1970s: Fairing of bumpers: In order to meet American crash standards, Alfa formulated design styling techniques to incorporate bumpers into the overall bodywork design of vehicles so as to not ruin their lines. The culmination of this design technique was the 1980s Alfa Romeo 75. The process was widely copied, particularly in Germany and Japan.
  • 1980s: The Alfa 164: The design process and influence of this car is almost completely out of all proportion to previous Alfas. The 164 introduced complete CAD/CAM in the manufacturing cycle, with very little directly made by hand in the vehicle. In addition, the 164's styling influence continues into the present day line of modern Alfas. Most manufacturers incorporated design ideas first expressed in the 164 into their own designs, including greater reliance on on-board computers.
  • 1990s: The pseudo-coupé: The Alfa 156 and 147, while four-door vehicles, represented themselves as two-doors with prominent front door handles, and less visible rear door-handle flaps. Honda has used this design style in the latest Civic hatchback, and a somewhat similar idea is also seen in the most recent Mazda RX-8 four-seat coupé.
  • 2000s: The Brera and 159: These vehicles' design, by Giorgetto Giugiaro, have proven influential in sedan and coupé styling, demonstrating that concept vehicles are often immediately translatable into road car form, providing that initial design takes place using CAD systems.
Alfa Romeo models have also inspired some very interesting and often beautiful concept cars. Here follows a short list of concept cars, and their impact on car design:
    1950s - The B.A.T. cars
    The Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica prototype cars were designed by Bertone as an exercise in determining whether streamlining and wind-tunnel driven designs would result in high performance on a standard chassis, and whether the resulting vehicles would be palatable to public. Alfa 1900 Sprint were the basis of the B.A.T. 5, 7 and 9. The later B.A.T. 11 was based on the 8C Competizione.
    1960s and 1970s - Descendants of the Tipo 33
    The Tipo 33 racing car, with its high-revving 2000 cc V8 engine became the basis for a number of different concept cars during the 1960s and 1970s, two of which ultimately resulted in production vehicles. Most made their appearances at the Auto Salon Genève. Here is a brief list:
    • Gandini/Bertone Carabo (1968) - Marcello Gandini expressed ideas that would come to fruition in the Lamborghini Countach.
    • Tipo 33.2 (1969)- Designed by Pininfarina, this car ultimately resulted in the 33 Stradale road car
    • Gandini/Bertone Montreal Concept (1967) - making its appearance at the 1967 Montreal Expo, this Giulia-based concept resulted in the production Alfa Romeo Montreal road car with a variant of the Tipo 33 V8 engine.
    • Bertone/Giugiaro Navajo (1976)- A fully fibreglassed vehicle, and in some ways the epitome of Giugiaro's 'Origami' style of flat planes.
    1980s-today - Modern ideas
    In general, concept cars for Alfa Romeo have generally become production vehicles, after some modification to make them suitable for manufacture, and to provide driver and passenger safety. The Zagato SZ, GTV and Spider (descended from the Proteo), Brera and 159 are all good examples of Alfa Romeo's stylistic commitment in this direction.
    The future
    Alfa Romeo concept cars have mostly emphasized performance in combination with historical tradition. The Nuvola Concept, and the independently designed Diva Concept cars have demonstrated that this ethos is the centre of Alfa conceptualisation. The Centro Stile website also gives designers very good direction in terms of the combination of line and form Alfa prefers to see in the design process of its cars' bodywork.

    The badge

    Evolution of Alfa Romeo's badge
    Alfa's badge incorporates emblems from fifth century Italy. It was designed in 1910 by an Italian draughtsman, Romano Cattaneo, who used two heraldic devices traditionally associated with Milan: on the right is the Biscione, the emblem of the House of Visconti, rulers of Milan in the 14th century; on the left is a red cross on a white field, the emblem of Milan, which Cattaneo had seen on the door of the Castello Sforzesco. In 1918, after the company was bought by Nicola Romeo, the badge was redesigned with the help of Giuseppe Merosi. A dark blue metallic ring was added, inscribed "ALFA — ROMEO" and "MILANO" separated by two Savoy dynasty knots to honour the Kingdom of Italy. After the victory of the P2 in the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925, Alfa added a laurel wreath around the badge. In 1946, after the abolition of the monarchy, the Savoy knots were replaced with two curvy lines. The name "MILANO", the hyphen, and the lines were eliminated when Alfa Romeo opened its factory at Pomigliano d'Arco, Naples in the early 1970s. The serpent and man appear to be Jonah and the serpent, images often found in liturgical art as far back as the third century.


    Brian Redman driving with Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12
    Main article: Alfa Romeo in motorsport
    Alfa Romeo has been involved with motor racing since 1911, when it entered two 24 HP models on Targa Florio competition. In the 1920s and 30s it scored wins at many races and motoring events such as Targa Florio, Mille Miglia and Le Mans. Great success continued with Formula One, Prototypes, Touring and Fast Touring. Private drivers also entered some rally competitions, with fine results. Alfa Romeo has competed both as a constructor and an engine supplier, via works entries Alfa Corse, Autodelta and private entries. Alfa Romeo's factory racing team was outsourced to Enzo Ferrari's Scuderia Ferrari between 1933 and 1938. Drivers included Tazio Nuvolari, who won the 1935 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.


    The quadrifoglio emblem (also called the 'cloverleaf') has been the symbol of Alfa Romeo racing cars since 1923. Following WWII, it has also been used to designate the higher trim models of the range (comparable to BMW M Performance or Volkswagen GTI models). The quadrifoglio is usually placed on the side panels of the car, above or behind the front wheels. The symbol consists of a green or gold cloverleaf with four leaves, contained with a white triangle.

    History of the symbol

    Ugo Sivocci at the wheel of 1923 Alfa Romeo P1
    The quadrifoglio has been used on Alfa Romeo cars since the death of Ugo Sivocci in 1923. As a friend of Enzo Ferrari, Sivocci was hired by Alfa Romeo in 1920 to drive in the three-man works team: (Alfa Corse) with Antonio Ascari and Enzo Ferrari. Sivocci was thought to have enormous experience, but often hampered by bad luck and considered the eternal second-placer. To banish his bad luck, when the Targa Florio came around, the driver painted a white square with a green four-leaf clover (the quadrifoglio) in the centre of the grille of his car. Sivocci had immediate success, crossing the finish line first. The quadrifoglio subsequently became the symbol of the racing Alfa Romeos with the victory at the Targa Florio. Almost as if to prove the magic effects of this symbol, Sivocci was killed while testing Merosi's new P1 at Monza, a few months after winning the Targa Florio. The Salerno driver's P1, which went off the track on a bend, did not have the quadrifoglio. Since this period in 1923, the bodies of Alfa Romeo racing cars have been adorned with the quadrifoglio as a lucky charm. The white square was replaced with a triangle in memory of Uvo Sivocci.
    Quadrifoglio badge on the Alfetta 159
    Cloverleaf, or Quadrifoglio, badges now denote high-end in comfort and engine size variants of Alfa Romeo cars. Some modern Alfas wear a cloverleaf badge which is typically a green four leaf clover on a white background (quadrifoglio verde), but variants of blue on white have been recently observed as well.
    The Alfettas of the early 1980s had models available sold as the "Silver Leaf" and "Gold Leaf" (quadrifoglio oro). These models were the top of the range. Badging was the Alfa cloverleaf in either gold or silver to denote the specification level. The Gold Leaf model was also sold as the "159i" in some markets, the name in homage to the original 159.


    Until the 1980s, Alfa Romeos, except for the Alfasud, were rear-wheel-drive.
    According to the current Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, in order to reap economies of scale, all new Alfa Romeo models will be made from the same basic platform (i.e., frame). Even Maserati will share components with some Alfas.
    The trim levels (option packages) offered today on the various nameplates (model lines) include the lusso ("luxury"), turismo ("touring"), and the GTA (gran tourismo alleggerita) ("light-weight grand tourer"). The GTA package is offered in the 147 and 156 and includes a V-6 engine. In the past, Alfa Romeo offered a Sprint trim level.
    During the 1990s, Alfa Romeo moved car production to other districts in Italy. The Pomigliano d’Arco plant produced the 155, followed by the 145 and the 146, while the Arese plant manufactured the 164 and new Spider and GTV. The 156 was launched in 1997, and became quite successful for Alfa Romeo; in 1998 it was voted “Car of the Year”. The same year a new flagship, the 166 (assembled in Rivalta, near Turin) was launched. At the beginning of the third millennium, the 147 was released, which won the prestigious title of “Car of the Year 2001”. In 2003 the Arese factory was closed.
    The Arese factory today hosts almost nothing and is nearly abandoned. What remains are some offices and the great Alfa Romeo Historical Museum, a must-see for Alfa Romeo fans.
    In the 60s, the main Alfa Romeo seat was moved from inside Milan to a very large and nearby area extending over the municipalities of Arese, Lainate and Garbagnate Milanese. However, since then the Alfa seat is known to be in Arese, since the offices and the main entrance of the area are there.
    In the late 1960s, a number of European automobile manufacturers established facilities in South Africa to assemble right hand drive vehicles. Fiat and other Italian manufacturers established factories along with these other manufacturers, Alfa-Romeos were assembled in Brits, outside Pretoria in the Transvaal Province of South Africa. With the imposition of sanctions by western powers in the 1970s and 1980s, South Africa became self-sufficient, and in car production came to rely more and more on the products from local factories. This led to a remarkable set of circumstances where between 1972 and 1989, South Africa had the greatest number of Alfa Romeos on the road outside of Italy. Even stranger, Alfa Romeos Brits plant was used from March 1983 until 1985 to build Daihatsu Charades for local consumption, but also for export to Italy in order to skirt Italian limits on Japanese imports.
    In late 1985, with the impending Fiat takeover and an international boycott of the South African Apartheid government, Alfa Romeo withdrew from the market and closed the plant. Tons of valuable parts were then bulldozed into the ground to escape paying import duties.
    Assembly plants by model
    Cassino Piedimonte S. Germano
    Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.
    Piedimonte San Germano
    Stabilimento Mirafiori
    Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.
    Maserati S.p.A.


    Current models


    Alfa Romeo MiTo
    The MiTo is a three-door sporty supermini officially introduced on 19 June 2008 in Castello Sforzesco in Milan; the international introduction was at British Motor Show in 2008.
    Alfa Romeo Giulietta
    The Giulietta is a five-door, small family car officially revealed at the Geneva Motor Show 2010. It replaced the 147.
    Alfa Romeo 4C
    The Alfa Romeo 4C is a small, lightweight rear wheel drive two seater Coupé sports car, similar in size to the Alfa Romeo MiTo. The car was revealed as concept car at the 81st Geneva Motorshow in 2011. The production version was launched to the European market at the 83rd Geneva Motorshow in 2013 and was launched to the American market at the Los Angeles Motorshow at the end of November 2013.

    Future models

    Truck and light commercial vehicles

    In 1930 Alfa Romeo presented a light truck in addition to heavy LCVs based to Büssing constructions. In the Second World War Alfa Romeo also built trucks for the Italian army ("35 tons anywhere") and later also for the German Wehrmacht. After the war, commercial motor vehicle production was resumed.
    In co-operation with FIAT and Saviem starting from the 60s different light truck models were developed.
    The production of heavy LCVs was terminated in 1967. In Brazil the heavy trucks were built still few years by Alfa Romeo subsidiary Fábrica Nacional de Motores under the name FNM. The last Alfa Romeo vans were the Alfa Romeo AR6 and AR8, rebadged versions of Iveco Daily and Fiat Ducato. The company also produced trolleybuses for many systems in Italy, Latin America, Sweden, Greece, Germany, Turkey and South Africa. Later, Alfa Romeo concentrated only on passenger car manufacturing.
    • Alfa Romeo Romeo (1954–1958)
    • Alfa Romeo Romeo 2 (until 1966)
    • Alfa Romeo Romeo 3 (1966)
    • Alfa Romeo A11/F11
    • Alfa Romeo A12/F12
    • AR8 (based on first generation Iveco Daily)
    • AR6 (based on first generation Fiat Ducato)
    • Alfa Romeo F20 (Saviem license)
    • Alfa Romeo 50 "Biscione" (Büssing-NAG 50)/ 80 (1931–1934)
    • Alfa Romeo 85 / 110 (1934 - n/a)
    • Alfa Romeo 350 (1935 - n/a)
    • Alfa Romeo 430 (1942–1950)
    • Alfa Romeo 500 (1937 - n/a)
    • Alfa Romeo 800 (1940–1943)
    • Alfa Romeo 900 (1947–1954)
    • Alfa Romeo 950 (1954–1958)
    • Alfa Romeo Mille (Alfa Romeo 1000) (1958–1964)
    • Alfa Romeo A15 (Saviem license)
    • Alfa Romeo A19 (Saviem license)
    • Alfa Romeo A38 (Saviem license)
    • Alfa Romeo 40A.
    • Alfa Romeo 80A
    • Alfa Romeo 85A.
    • Alfa Romeo 110A.
    • Alfa Romeo 140A.
    • Alfa Romeo 150A.
    • Alfa Romeo 430A.
    • Alfa Romeo 500A
    • Alfa Romeo 800A.
    • Alfa Romeo 900A.
    • Alfa Romeo 902A.
    • Alfa Romeo 950A.
    • Alfa Romeo Mille (bus) (Alfa Romeo 1000)
    • Alfa Romeo 110AF (1938)
    • Alfa Romeo 140AF (1949)
    • Alfa Romeo 800AF
    • Alfa Romeo 900AF
    • Alfa Romeo Mille AF (Alfa Romeo 1000)


    Design has always played a large role in the history of Alfa Romeo. There have been many Alfa Romeo concept cars, often made by famous design houses and designers. The BAT series of concepts from the 1950s was a collaboration with the Italian design house Bertone. Other famous Italian coachbuilders and design houses like Pininfarina, Bertone, Zagato and ItalDesign-Giugiaro have also played a great role in Alfa Romeo's history, and even today some of models are designed and constructed by them.

    Other production

    Although Alfa Romeo is best known as automobile manufacturer it has also produced commercial vehicles of various size, railway locomotives, tractors, buses, trams, compressors, generators, an electric cooker, marine and aircraft engines.

    Aircraft engines

    An Alfa engine was first used on an aircraft in 1910 on the Santoni-Franchini biplane. In 1932 Alfa Romeo built its first real aircraft engine, the D2 (240 bhp), fitted to Caproni 101 D2. In the 1930s when Alfa Romeo engines were used for aircraft on a larger scale; the Savoia Marchetti SM.74, Savoia-Marchetti SM.75, Savoia-Marchetti SM.79, Savoia Marchetti SM.81 and Cant Z506B Airone all used Alfa Romeo manufactured engines. In 1931, a competition was arranged where Tazio Nuvolari drove his Alfa Romeo 8C 3000 Monza against a Caproni Ca.100 airplane. Alfa Romeo built various aircraft engines during the Second World War; the best known was the RA.1000 RC 41-I Monsone, a licensed version of the Daimler-Benz DB 601. This engine made it possible to build efficient fighter aircraft like the Macchi C.202 Folgore for the Italian army. After the Second World War Alfa Romeo produced engines for Fiat, Aerfer and Ambrosini. In the 1960s Alfa Romeo mainly focused upgrading and maintaining Curtiss-Wright, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric aircraft engines. Alfa Romeo also built Italy's first turbine engine, installed to the Beechcraft King Air. Alfa Romeo's Avio division was sold to Aeritalia in 1988, from 1996 it was part of Fiat Avio. Alfa Avio was also part of developing team to the new T700-T6E1 engine to the NHI NH90 helicopter.

    Aero-engines produced by Alfa Romeo

    • Alfa Romeo D2
    • Alfa Romeo 110
    • Alfa Romeo 115
    • Alfa Romeo 121
    • Alfa Romeo 125
    • Alfa Romeo 126
    • Alfa Romeo 128
    • Alfa Romeo 135
    • Alfa Romeo Lynx
    • Alfa Romeo Mercurius
    • Alfa Romeo RA.1000
    • Alfa Romeo RA-1050
    • Alfa Romeo R.C.10
    • Alfa Romeo R.C.34
    • Alfa Romeo R.C.35
    • Alfa Romeo AR.318

    Media and public profile

    In Italian, an Alfa Romeo enthusiast is an "Alfista", and a group of them are "Alfisti". There are many thriving Alfa Romeo owners clubs and Alfa Romeo Model Registers.
    The Graduate
    Dustin Hoffman's Spider runs out of gas in The Graduate.
    Probably the most famous appearance and presence on screen of any Alfa is in the 1967 hit film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft. It gave worldwide celebrity to the "Spider". The Spider depicted on screen had its engine note accurately recorded, and electrical foibles (the non-functional fuel gauge) reproduced. On the strength of the Spider's appeal, Alfa Romeo continued sales of the Spider into the 1990s, and a special edition named the Alfa Graduate was available in the United States in the 1980s.
    The entire set of scenes featuring the Spider in the Graduate were replicated in satire by Mike Myers in his comedy, Wayne's World 2. The Spider here cuts outSimon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" when passing under a bridge (implying music being played on a radio), but still has a non-functional fuel gauge - causing it to ultimately grind to halt (fortunately at the correct church!)
    The Spider was designed by Pininfarina; derived from several design studies dating back to the late 1950s, the Spider is believed to be the last design on which Battista Farina personally worked.
    James Bond
    One of the most prominent roles was when James Bond (Roger Moore) stole and then drove a graphite GTV6 in 1983's OctopussyIn the scene it is pursued by two Bavarian BMW 5-series police cars.
    A pair of black Alfa Romeo 159 Ti cars appeared in the opening scenes of the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace, in the car chase with James Bond's Aston Martin DBS around Lake Garda, Italy. Noteworthy attention was paid to the auditory qualities of the Alfa Romeos, which have the characteristic 'Big V-6' sound on-screen. The same film also features a Carabineri Alfa 156. Rene Mathis also has an Alfa Romeo, a white 2600 GT coupé.
    Other films
    • Giulietta Masina in Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits is courted by a "Romeo" in a Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, a double play on words.
    • The Italian Job (1969) which starred Micheal Caine and had Alfa Romeo Giulia Saloons as Police cars.
    • Michael Caine in Robert Parrish's 1974 film The Marseille Contract where John Deray (Michael Caine) makes a race in an Alfa Romeo Montreal in the French mountains of the provence with a Porsche 911 conducted by a girl.
    • Edward Fox's character, the titular Jackal, in 1973's The Day of the Jackal drives a white Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. He repaints the car blue in a forest clearing to avoid police, then crashes it.
    • Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in The Godfather drove a black Alfa Romeo 6C while in exile in Sicily. This was actually the car that was booby-trapped and explodes with Apollonia, his Sicilian wife, in it.
    • Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) gave his daughter a black Alfa Romeo 2600 Touring Spider on her 16th birthday in the 2002 movie S1m0ne.
    • John Malkovich, as Tom Ripley, in Ripley's Game, drives a red Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon.
    • The 1982 film The Soldier featured an Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan as a getaway vehicle.
    • In the French film "36 Quai des Orfèvres" from 2004 police officer Léo Vrinks (Daniel Auteuil) drives a black Alfa Romeo GT.
    • In the 1985 comedy "Fletch", the title character (Chevy Chase), posing as an emissions inspector, commandeers a 1983 Alfa Romeo Spider that was in the process of being stolen by a teenager (David Harper).
    • Gerard Butler, as George Dryer, drives a black 1990 Alfa Romeo Spider in the 2012 romantic comedy film Playing for Keeps.
    • Alfa Romeo Giulietta was used as a hero car in the 2013 film Fast & Furious 6, Driven by Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster).
    • The 2013 thriller Trance featured an Alfa Romeo 156 sedan, nicknamed the red car.
    • A black Alfa Romeo 159 is used in the 2013 film Welcome to the Punch by the films lead actor James McAvoy.
    • In the television crime film series Ein Fall für Zwei ("a case for two", over 250 episodes made so far), the leading actor Claus Theo Gärtner, who plays the role of the private detective Josef Matula, has always been driving Alfa Romeo, starting from Giulia Super to the latest Alfa Romeo models.
    • Alfa Romeo had also a "role" in the Austrian detective series Kommissar Rex (Inspector Rex). At the beginning, Tobias Moretti drove a 155 and later Gedeon Burkhard drove a 166.
    • In recent times, the BBC 2 Series 'Top Gear' has had quite an impact on the popular conception of the Alfa Romeo. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson insists that "nobody can call themselves a true petrolhead" until they have owned one.
    In the first printing of Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons, the members of the Swiss Guard all drive Alfa Romeo sedans (called 'Alpha Romeos' throughout the book).
    In the Ian Fleming novel Moonraker, James Bond becomes involved in an impromptu race with a young man driving an Alfa Romeo while he pursues Hugo Drax. This scene results in the death of the young man, the destruction of his car, and the eventual destruction of Bond's Bentley Mark IV.

    Marketing and sponsorship

    Alfa Romeo II on its first sail
    During the years Alfa Romeo has been marketed with different slogans like: "The family car that wins races" used in the 1950s in Alfa Romeo 1900 marketing campaign, "racing since 1911" used on most 1960s Alfa advertisements, In the 1970s the Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV was marketed as "if this kind of handling is good enough for our racing cars, it’s good enough for you." The Giulia Sprint GTA was marketed as "The car you drive to work is a champion". More recent slogans used are "Mediocrity is a sin", "Driven by Passion", "Cuore Sportivo", "Beauty is not enough" and present day "Without heart we would be mere machines". Also other more recent ones are: "It's not a car, it's an Alfa Romeo.", one of them after a couple argue in Italian. Another instance where a female colleague tells her male colleague that she didn't get a car she got an Alfa Romeo.
    As part of its marketing policy, Alfa Romeo sponsors a number of sporting events, such as the Mille Miglia rally. It has sponsored the SBK Superbike World Championship and Ducati Corse since 2007, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed for many years, and was one of the featured brands in 2010 when Alfa Romeo celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has been used since Monza 2010 race as the safety car in Superbike World Championship events.
    In 2002, Alfa Romeo I, the first Alfa Romeo super maxi yacht was launched. It finished first in at least 74 races including the 2002 Sydney—Hobart Race. Alfa Romeo II, commissioned in 2005, measures 30 metres (98 ft) LOA. It set a new elapsed-time record for monohulls in the 2009 Transpac race, of 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds. It finished first in at least 140 races. In mid-2008 Alfa Romeo III was launched for competitive fleet racing under the IRC rule. Alfa Romeo III measures 21.4 metres (70 ft) LOA and features interior design styled after the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

    Last updated on 10 October 2014 at 13:43.

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