For more than 100 years Alfa Romeo has been an Italian motorsport legend. No other car manufacturer can boast a history as extraordinary as that of Alfa Romeo. Discover the heritage and pedigree of this legend through time with a timeline of the personalities, the racing victories and the distinctive vehicles of Alfa Romeo’s past.
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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.
The first Alfa Romeo badge consisted of two symbols of the city of Milan - the serpent of the Visconti family coat of arms on a blue background and the red cross of the city banner on a white background - all enclosed in a metallic ring with the words “ALFA” and “MILANO” separated by two Savoy knots.
The international. To establish the Alfa brand in international racing, in 1914 Giuseppe Merosi designed the Alfa Grand Prix, a car based on the canons of a new racing formula, which established the maximum cylinder capacity as four and half cylinders. Various technical innovations were adopted for the engine, with the application of double angled overhead valves driven directly by two overhead camshafts.
The 20-30 HP was the first "torpedo" racing car built immediately after the war. The price of the car, designed by Giuseppe Merosi, was prohibitive for the time, particularly for the years immediately after the war. The output was therefore aimed at very high level in terms of engineering power and finish, targeted at an elite band of users throughout the world, but only 124 cars were produced.
Alfa Romeo won its first World Championship award in Monza with Gastone Brilli Peri behind the wheel of a P2. The finish line witnessed a magnificent Alfa “four of a kind”, with the fifth car coming in 45 minutes later. The win was celebrated on the badge by adding a laurel wreath.
The unbeatable. Designed by Vittorio Jano in 1923-24, the P2 was the first Alfa with an 8 cylinder supercharged engine and two 'draught' carburettors, i.e. located downstream of the compressor. Its participation in the international Grand Prixs of 1924 and 1925 let to the winning of the first World Cup championship, which led to the brand adopting a new crown encircling the brass coat of arms. The P2 was considered one of the best Grand Prix cars of the 1920s and laid the foundations for the Alfa legend. Six examples were produced.
Derived from the 6C 1500, with oversized engine and cylinder capacity, the 6C 1750 immediately began to accumulate impressive Grad Prix victories. At the 1930 Mille Miglia, with Nuvolari and Guidotti (average speed record: 100 Km/h) the Alfa confirmed itself queen of the Sport category.
The most beautiful sports car in the world. A car that thrilled due to its good looks, roadholding and docile handling. The first version was set up in 1934 with a two-seat chassis that could be used in Sport races. The 8C 2900 B model was launched on the amateur market in two different chassis versions: short (two-seater open-top racing car) and long (4-seater touring Coupé). The vehicle was unrivalled from its racing debut, with an extraordinary triplet at the Mille Miglia, up to 1939.
The first car of the post-war years was the magnificent "Freccia D'oro", an original version of the 6C 2500 Sport with a rounded, cut-off tail end.
Alfa Romeo was doing well everywhere on the track: at the Mille Miglia Biondetti came first driving a 2900, Trossi and Varzi won 1st and 2nd places with the 158-8 cylinder at the Italian Grand Prix in Milan.
Designed by Giuseppe Busso, the new 6C 3000 prototype was able to deliver, in this racing version with three twin-barrel carburettors and a dynamic air take, an impressive 168 HP at 6000 rpm for a top speed of 225 Km/h.
The superb, classic SS version of the 6C 2500 Touring won the Concorso d'Eleganza di Villa d’Este, and was named after the event.
The most original stylistic take on the 1900. The name "flying saucer" owes a little to science fiction, a little to the description of the first UFOs in the collective imagination. It was a low and curvy open-topped car that drew heavily on Alfa's experience in the aeronautical field. The aerodynamic properties of the body offered excellent penetration results even in the presence of a side wind. The car remained at the experimental stage.
The first car with a person's name, and a girl's one at that. Introduced to the public in 1954 in the coupè Sprint, with a youthful, dynamic shape by Bertone, this car was a sure-fire success. Its attributes: neat, practical and agile with great performance.
The saloon and open-topped versions both won immediate public acclaim for their mechanical qualities and the understated elegance of the shape. 1959 saw the appearance of Bertone's Sprint Speciale and the SZ by Zagato, with its decided racing spirit.
Heir to the Giulietta, the Giulia was a three-box saloon with an unprecedented stub end style. The Giulia was the first to adopt a crumple-zone body and feature a five-speed gearbox.
The most famous sports versions are the TZ, the TZ2 and the GTA with its evolutions. The Giulia range was extended by a coupé (Giulia Sprint GT) and the celebrated open-topped version (1600 Spider "Duetto"). The same year, the 2600 was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show: the saloon version of this distinguished and elegant car was able to accommodate 6 people in the greatest comfort.
A car whose name augured well. The 1750 name is a homage to the fabulous 1750 of the 1930s. It replaced the Giulia saloon and was designed to offer superior performance, power and top-class comfort. The body was a new, penetrating design with a broad bonnet for an engine and luggage compartment. It took part in the competitions for standard-production touring cars – and won them. Some innovative changes were introduced in 1970, including a dual braking circuit, iodine headlights and high-pivoting brake and clutch pedals.
A golden year: the Giulia's success had created a climate of optimism, work was proceeding apace on the car that would become the Alfetta, while the Tipo 33/2 litre also made its winning debut (Fléron uphill race in Belgium). The GTA driven by Andrea De Adamich was again European Champion.
GTAs won in Zolder (Belgium), the Tourist Trophy in the UK, in Budapest and the Nürburgring 6 Hour race.
Alfa Romeo realised the time had come to replace its 1960s bestseller: the result was the 'new' Giulietta. The new Giulietta, introduced in 1977, featured a special, clever wedge shape, low and aggressive front-end and high, short tail with sporty qualities and excellent aerodynamics.
Hruska took over as head of design for the Alfa Romeo Group, replacing the great Orazio Satta. These are his words, taken from an interview in 1970: "Alfa Romeo is no ordinary car factory... Enthusiasm for a means of transport is a kind of illness.
It is a way of living, a very particular way of conceiving a motor vehicle. It’s all about sensations, passion, all things that have more to do with the heart than with the brain."
To celebrate 75 years of Alfa. Introduced in May 1985, the Alfa 75 was the last rear wheel drive model. With an original style and high performance, the car was remarkably successful on the market. Versions of the 75 were produced until 1992 with a crescendo of exterior and engineering changes. These include the Turbo version, the "Milano", for the US market, the 2.0 Twin Spark, the 3.0 V6, the 1.8 Turbo Quadrifoglio Verde, the 2.0 Twin Spark and the 2.0 Turbodiesel.
The new medium-sized car. The 33 replaced the Alfasud, from which it inherited its approximate mechanical layout. The car's shape was completely different, however: it featured an unusual, modern line with a hatchback body designed by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo. Capable of satisfying the needs of a very wide array of users, it was one of the most long-lasting and popular models. Various stations and 3 series followed one another: series II in 1986 with more variants and a revamped passenger compartment and III of 1990 with 6 boxer engines and 1 Turbo diesel engine.
The 156 blazed a new trail for Alfa Romeo In addition to its underlying revolutionary design and exciting performance, the car was above all a new way of thinking and engineering a car.
The technical innovations included Common-Rail diesel engines and a Selespeed sequential gearbox inspired by the world of racing.
The 155 replaced the 75 but its technical configuration was new, beginning with front wheel drive and independent suspension also at the rear, for greater safety and handling. The sportiness and performance were typical of Alfa Romeo.
The range included numerous versions and two different series. Notable examples include the 155 GTA and 155 V6 TI sporty versions with top-level mechanical content that allowed Alfa to win the Italian Superturismo and, above all, the DTM championship in 1993.
Yet another confirmation of a winning design. Alfa Romeo greeted the new millennium with the Alfa 147, that wasted no time in winning the German "Golden Steering Wheel" prize. A compact and sporty car with performance, safety, equipment and comfort comparable to higher-category cars. The styling was a development of many features of the 156, with retro details like the V line on the bonnet inherited from the classic Villa d’Este.
At the beginning of the year, the Geneva Motor show, hosted the launch of the 4C Concept, the new Concept Car designed by the Alfa Romeo style Centre. A magnificent coupé, distinguished by its sinuous, spare shape, the 4C Concept was launched in the brand new "Lava Red" shade. An ultra-light supercar: it weighed in at less than 850 Kg due to the use of materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium in its constituent parts. The 4C Concept is a distillate of appeal and technology, accessible to all.
The open-top sports car legend continued. The Alfa Spider made its debut in 2006 at the Geneva International motor show. The most attractive result of the new generation of Alfa Romeos: created by Centro Stile with Giugiaro and Pininfarina, this quintessentially Italian car was made to be enjoyed, providing sheer power and great handling. The Alfa Spider this is all about simple, essential style, the performance of a cutting-edge sports car and top-level engineering. The return of a legend.
1910 - 1912
1915 - 1925
1925 - 1945
1945 - 1950
1950 - 1960
1960 - 1972
1972 - 1982
1982 - 2015