Alfa Romeo

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Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A.
Type Società per azioni
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID)
Founded 24 June 1910 in Milan, Italy
Founder(s) Alexandre Darracq/Ugo Stella
Nicola Romeo
Headquarters Turin, Italy[1]
Area served Worldwide
Key people John Elkann (President)
Harald J. Wester (CEO)
Products Automobiles
Production output 119,451 units (2010)
Owner(s) Fiat S.p.A.
Parent Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.
Website AlfaRomeo.com

Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈalfa roˈmɛːo]) is an Italian manufacturer of cars. Founded as A.L.F.A. on June 24, 1910, in Milan,[2] the company has been involved in car racing since 1911, and has a reputation for building expensive sports cars.[3] The company 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,[4] and since February 2007 a part of Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.

Contents

Models

List of Alfa Romeo models


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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 the late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and a new company was founded named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili English: Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company), initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe 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 becoming the first car to be badged as such.

In 1928 Nicola Romeo left, with Alfa going broke after defense contracts ended, and at the end of 1932 Alfa Romeo was rescued by Benito Mussolini's government, which then had effective control. The Alfa factory struggled to return to profitability after the Second World War, and turned to mass-producing small vehicles rather than hand-building luxury models. The company, in 1954, developed the classic Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which would remain in production until 1995. 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 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. They have 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.[5]

History

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 fist 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.[6] 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 a more suitable location 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 suitable 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, which featured a four-cylinder engine, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and twin ignition.[7] However, the onset of the First World War halted automobile production at A.L.F.A. for three years.

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. When the war was over, Romeo invested his war profits in acquiring locomotive and railways 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.

Alfa Romeo production between 1934 and 1939[8]
Year Cars Industrial
vehicles
1934 699 0
1935 91 211
1936 20 671
1937 270 851
1938 542 729
1939 372 562

Car production had not been considered at first, but resumed in 1919 since parts for the completion of 105 cars were still lying at the A.L.F.A. factory since 1915.[6] In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP becoming the first car to be badged as such.[9] 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 away 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 Alfa road cars Jano developed a series of small-to-medium-displacement 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder inline power plants based on the P2 unit that established the classic architecture of Alfa 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 to be both reliable and powerful.

Enzo Ferrari proved to be a better team manager than driver, and when the factory team was privatised, it then 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 prior to the Second World War.

8C 2900B Touring Spider (1937)

In 1928 Nicola Romeo left, with Alfa going broke after defence contracts ended, and at the end of 1932 Alfa Romeo was rescued by the government,[9] which then had effective control. Alfa became an instrument of Mussolini's Italy, a national emblem. During this period Alfa Romeo built bespoke vehicles for the wealthy, with the bodies normally built by Touring of Milan or Pinin Farina. This was the era that peaked with the legendary Alfa Romeo 2900B Type 35 racers.

The Alfa factory (converted during wartime to the production of Macchi C.202 Folgore engines) 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 in Alfa's factories 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 classic Alfa Romeo overhead Twin Cam four-cylinder engine, initially in 1300 cc form. This engine would eventually be enlarged to 2 litres (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[10]

Post war

Once motorsports 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 2010[11]
Year Cars
1998 197,680
1999 208,336
2000 206,836
2001 213,638
2002 187,437
2003 182,469
2004 162,179
2005 130,815
2006 157,794
2007 151,898
2008 103,097
2009 103,687
2010 119,451

In 1952, Alfa-Romeo had experimented with its first front-wheel drive compact car named "Project 13-61".[12] It had the same transverse-mounted, forward-motor layout as the modern front-wheel drive automobiles. Alfa-Romeo made a second attempt toward the late 1950s based on Project 13-61. It was to be called Tipo 103. It even 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 the production. Had Alfa-Romeo succeed in producing Tipo 103, it would precede the Mini as the first "modern" front-wheel drive compact car.

During the 1960s, Alfa concentrated on competition using production-based cars, including the GTA (standing for Gran Turismo Allegerita), an aluminium-bodied version of the Bertone-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 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.[13][14]

By the 1970s Alfa was again in financial trouble. The Italian government company Finmeccanica bowed out in 1986 as Fiat Group bought in, creating a new group, Alfa Lancia Industriale S.p.A.,[9] to manufacture Alfas and Lancias. Models produced subsequent to 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 brought under Fiat's full control. The Fiat Group plans to create a sports and luxury division from Maserati and Alfa Romeo.[15] There is a planned strategic relationship between these two; engines, platforms and possibly dealers will be shared in some market areas.[16]

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.[17]

Carabinieri and Italian government

Italian State Police Flying Squad "Panther" 1971 Alfa Giulia Super

In the 1960s Alfa Romeo became famous for its small cars and models specifically designed for the Italian police — "Panthers" and Carabinieri; among them the glorious "Giulia Super" or the 2600 Sprint GT, which acquired the expressive nickname of "Inseguimento" dir. trl. "to chase or predate" (this car is wrongly supposed to be the one that the famous Roman police marshal and unrivalled driver Armandino Spadafora brought down on the Spanish Steps in 1960 while following some robbers — it was actually a black Ferrari 250 GT/E — this picture of Giulia,[18] one of the dozens about this legend, is taken from a film and not at the Spanish Steps). The colours of the Alfa Romeos used by the Polizia were grey/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" (Antelope) 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.

Since then, Alfas remain the chosen mount of the Carabinieri (renowned 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:[19]

  • 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 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 the Alfa’s 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 wants to achieve 170,000 sales in 2011, including 100,000 Giulietta and 60,000 MiTo, and 500,000 by 2014 including 85,000 from N. American market.[20]

Return to the United States

Giulietta Spider

Alfa Romeo was imported to the United States by Max Hoffman starting from the mid 1950s.[21] The Giulietta Spider was born by request of Max Hoffman, he made proposal to produce an open version of the Giulietta.[22] In 1961 Alfa Romeo started importing cars to the United States.[23]

In 1995 Alfa Romeo ceased exporting cars to the United States,[24] the last model to be sold being the 164. Rumours began of their return, however as the FAQ on Alfa'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. Alfa Romeo resumed sales in the United States with the 8C Competizione in October 2008.[25] Alfa Romeo and Chrysler are currently in discussions, with Alfa Romeo possibly using Chrysler manufacturing plants that have been shut down due to unneeded product.[26]

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.[27]

The Alfa Romeo 4C will be the first mass-produced car to re-enter the US market in 2013.[28]

Design and technology

Technological development

Alfa Romeo has introduced some technological innovations over the years, and the company has often been among the first users of new technologies. Alfa Romeo's trademark double overhead cam engine was used for the first time in the 1914 Grand Prix car,[29] the first road car with such an engine the 6C 1500 Sport appeared in the 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 which were fed by a semi-high pressure circulating fuel pump system.[30]

Mechanical Variable Valve Timing was introduced in the Alfa Romeo Spider sold in U.S. markets in 1980.[31] Electronic Variable Valve Timing was introduced in the (Alfetta)Template:Citation needed.

The 105 series Giulia was a quite advanced car using such technologies as: All-wheel disc brakes,[32] plastic radiator header tankTemplate:Citation needed it had also the lowest Drag Coefficient (Cd) in its class[33] The same trend continued with the Alfetta 2000 and GTV, which had such things as 50:50 weight distribution,[34] standard fit alloy wheelsTemplate:Citation needed and transaxle.[35]

Newer innovations include complete CAD design process used in Alfa Romeo 164,[36] robotised/paddle control transmission Selespeed used in 156,[37] the 156 was also world's first passenger car to use Common rail diesel engine.[38] The Multiair -an electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation technology used in MiTo was introduced in 2009.[39]

Body design

Over the life of the marque, many famous automotive design houses in Italy have accepted commissions to produce concepts and production vehicle shapes for Alfa Romeo. A selection of these include the following

  • 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 result of their work.

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:

  • 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 boasted 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 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 Alfa's. Most manufacturers incorporated design ideas first expressed in the 164 into their own designs, including greater reliance on on-board computers.Template:Citation needed
  • 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 Guigaro, have proven influential as regards 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 served as the inspiration and basis of some very interesting and often beautiful concept cars. Here follows a short list of concept cars, and their impacts 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.[40] 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 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/Guigaro Navajo (1976)- A fully fibreglassed vehicle, and in some ways the epitome of Guigaro'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 car's bodywork.

The badge

File:Alfa Romeo logo evolution.jpg
Evolution of Alfa Romeo's badge

Alfa's badge incorporates emblems from fifth century Italy.[41] 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.[41][42] In 1918, after the company was purchased by Nicola Romeo, the badge was redesigned with the help of Giuseppe Merosi. A dark blue metallic ring was added, containing the inscription "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.[41] 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.

Motorsport

Brian Redman driving with Alfa Romeo 33 TT 12

Alfa Romeo has been involved with motor racing since 1911, when they entered two 24 HP models on Targa Florio competition. In the 1920s and 30s Alfa Romeo scored wins at many of the most famous and prestigious 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. The most legendary Alfa Romeo driver is Tazio Nuvolari, who took one of the most legendary victories of all time by winning the 1935 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

Production

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.[43]

Quadrifoglio badge on the Alfetta 159

Cloverleaf, or Quadrifoglio, badges denote high-end in comfort and engine size variants of Alfa Romeo cars, but previously denoted Alfa Romeo racing cars in the pre-Second-World-War era. The image first appeared in 1923 when Ugo Sivocci presented one prior to the start of the 14th Targa Florio as a good luck token to the team. This became the symbol of competition Alfas, denoting higher performance. 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.

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 of 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 in 1984-85 to build Daihatsu Charades both for local consumption but also for export to Italy, to skirt Italian limits on Japanese imports.[44]

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. After the plants closing, literally tons of valuable parts were bulldozed into the ground to escape paying import duties.

Assembly plants by model[45]
Plant Owner Location Model(s)
Cassino Piedimonte S. Germano Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. Piedimonte San Germano Giulietta
Stabilimento Mirafiori Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. Turin MiTo

Automobiles

Current models

MiTo Giulietta
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta front 20100704.jpg
Alfa Romeo MiTo

The MiTo is a three-door sporty supermini officially introduced on 19 June 2008 in Castello Sforzesco in Milan,[46] 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.[47] It replaced the 147.

Future models

Historic models

6C Gran Sport (1931)
8C 2300 (1931)
2600 Touring Spider (1961)
GT Junior (1965)
Montreal (1970)
GTV6 (1980)
Spider (1992)
156 (1997)
8C Competizione (2008)
Alfa Romeo Autotutto F12 ambulance
Road cars Racing cars
1910

1910-1920 24 HP
1910-1911 12 HP
1911-1920 15 HP
1913-1922 40-60 HP

1911 15 HP Corsa
1913 40-60 HP Corsa
1914 Grand Prix

1920

1921-1922 20-30 HP
1920-1921 G1
1921-1921 G2
1922-1927 RL
1923-1925 RM
1927-1929 6C 1500
1929-1933 6C 1750

1922 RL Super Sport
1923 RL Targa Florio
1923 P1
1924 P2
1928 6C 1500 MMS
1929 6C 1750 Super Sport

1930

1931-1934 8C 2300
1933-1933 6C 1900
1934-1937 6C 2300
1935-1939 8C 2900
1939-1950 6C 2500

1931 Tipo A
1931 8C 2300 Monza
1932 Tipo B (P3)
1935 Bimotore
1935 8C 35
1935 8C 2900A
1936 12C 36
1937 12C 37
1937 6C 2300B Mille Miglia
1937 8C 2900B Mille Miglia
1938 308
1938 312
1938 316
1938 158
1939 6C 2500 Super Sport Corsa

1940


1948 6C 2500 Competizione

1950

1950-1958 1900
1951-1953 Matta
1954-1962 Giulietta
1958-1962 2000
1959-1964 Dauphine

1951 159
1952 6C 3000 CM

1960

1962-1968 2600
1962-1976 Giulia Saloon
1963-1967 Giulia TZ
1963-1977 Giulia Sprint
1963-1966 Giulia Sprint Speciale
1965-1967 Gran Sport Quattroruote
1965-1971 GTA
1966-1993 Spider
1967-1969 33 Stradale
1967-1977 1750/2000 Berlina

1960 Giulietta SZ
1963 Giulia TZ
1965 GTA
1965 Tipo 33
1968 33/2
1969 33/3

1970

1970-1977 Montreal
1972-1983 Alfasud
1972-1984 Alfetta saloon
1974-1987 Alfetta GT/GTV
1976-1989 Alfasud Sprint
1977-1985 Nuova Giulietta
1979-1986 Alfa 6

1972 33/4
1973 33TT12
1976 33SC12
1979 177
1979 179

1980

1983-1994 33
1984-1987 Arna
1984-1987 90
1985-1992 75
1987-1998 164
1989-1993 SZ/RZ

1982 182
1983 183
1984 184
1985 185

1990

1992-1998 155
1994-2000 145
1994-2000 146
1995-2006 GTV/Spider
1997-2005 156
1998-2007 166

1993 155 V6 TI

2000

2000-2010 147
2007-2009 8C Competizione
2008-2010 8C Spider
2003-2010 GT
2005-2010 Brera
2005-2011 159
2006-2010 Spider

Trucks and light commercial vehicles

Romeo2 LCV

In 1930 Alfa Romeo presented a light truck in addition to heavy LCVs based to Büssing constructions.[48] 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, which were rebadged versions of Iveco Daily and Fiat Ducato. The company also produced trolleybuses for many systems in Italy, Latin America,[49] Sweden,[50] Greece,[51] Germany, Turkey and South Africa. Later, Alfa Romeo concentrated only on passenger car manufacturing.

LCVs
Alfa Romeo 430
  • Romeo (1954–1958)
  • Romeo 2 (until 1966)
  • Romeo 3 (1966)
  • A11/F11
  • A12/F12 (until 1983)
  • AR8 (based on first generation Iveco Daily)
  • AR6 (based on first generation Fiat Ducato)
  • Alfa Romeo F20 (Saviem license)
Trucks
  • Alfa Romeo 50 "Biscione" (Büssing-NAG 50)/ 80 (1931–1934)[52]
  • Alfa Romeo 85 / 110 (1934 - n/a)
  • Alfa Romeo 350 (1935 - n/a)
  • Alfa Romeo 430 (1942–1950)[53]
  • Alfa Romeo 500 (1937 - n/a)
  • Alfa Romeo 800 (1940–1943)[53]
  • 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 1000 (Mille) Aerfer FI 711.2 OCREN trolleybus in Naples
Buses
  • Alfa Romeo 140 A.
  • Alfa Romeo 900 A.
  • Alfa Romeo 950.
  • Alfa Romeo Mille (Alfa Romeo 1000)
Trolleybuses
  • Alfa Romeo 110AF (1938)
  • Alfa Romeo 140AF (1949)
  • Alfa Romeo 900
  • Alfa Romeo Mille (Alfa Romeo 1000)

Concepts

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 joint collaboration project 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 these great names.

Other production

Although Alfa Romeo is best known as automobile manufacturer it has produced also commercial vehicles, railway locomotives,[6] tractors, buses, trams, compressors, generators, cookers, marine and aircraft engines.

Aircraft engines

D2 aircraft engine

An Alfa engine was first used on an aircraft in 1910 on the Santoni-Franchini biplane.[54] In 1932 Alfa Romeo built its first real aircraft engine the D2 (240 bhp), which was 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.[55] In 1931, a competition was arranged where Tazio Nuvolari drove his Alfa Romeo 8C 3000 Monza against a Caproni Ca.100 airplane.[30] 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 built also Italy's first turbine engine, installed to the Beechcraft King Air. Alfa Romeo's Avio division was sold to Aeritalia in 1988,[56] from 1996 it was part of Fiat Avio.[57] Alfa Avio was also part of developing team to the new T700-T6E1 engine to the NHI NH90 helicopter.[58]

Aero-engines produced by Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 115

Media and public profile

In Italian the owner of an Alfa Romeo is an "Alfista", and a group of them are "Alfisti".[59] There are many thriving Alfa Romeo owners clubs and Alfa Romeo Model Registers.

The Graduate

Probably the most famous appearance and presence on screen of any Alfa is in the 1967's hit film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft.[60] 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.[40]

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.[61] The Spider here cuts out Simon & 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.[62]

James Bond

One of the most prominent roles was when James Bond (Roger Moore) stole and then drove a graphite GTV6 in 1983's Octopussy. In the scene it is pursued by two Bavarian BMW 5-series police cars.[63]

A pair of black Alfa Romeo 159 Ti cars appeared in the opening scenes of the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace.[64] They featured in the car chase with James Bond's Aston Martin DBS V12 around Lake Garda, Italy. Noteworthy attention was paid to the auditory qualities of the Alfa's, 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, a white 2600 GT coupe.

Other films
  • 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.[67]
  • The 1982 film The Soldier featured an Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan as a getaway vehicle.
Television
  • 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.[69]
Top Gear

In recent times, the BBC 2 Series 'Top Gear' has had quite an impact on the popular conception of the Alfa Romeo. Co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson insists that "nobody can call themselves a true petrolhead" until they have owned one.[71]

Literature

In the first printing of Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons, the members of the Swiss Guard all drive Alfa Romeo sedans (albeit inaccurately referred to as '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 in the novel results in the death of the young man, the destruction of his car, and the eventual destruction of Bond's Bentley Mark IV.[72]

Marketing and sponsorship

Alfa Romeo II on her 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,[73] 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."[74] The Giulia Sprint GTA was marketed as "The car you drive to work is a champion".[75] More recent slogans used are "Mediocrity is a sin", "Driven by Passion", "Cuore Sportivo" and "Beauty is not enough".

As part of its marketing policy, Alfa Romeo sponsors a number of sporting events, such as the Mille Miglia rally.[76] 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.[77][78] The Alfa Romeo Giulietta has been used since Monza 2010 race as the safety car in Superbike World Championship events.[79]

In 2002, Alfa Romeo I, the first Alfa Romeo super maxi yacht was launched. She has been first to finish in at least 74 races including the 2002 Sydney—Hobart Race.[80] A new state-of-the-art super maxi, Alfa Romeo II, was commissioned in 2005, measuring 30 metres (98 ft) LOA. Alfa Romeo II set a new elapsed-time record for monohulls in the 2009 Transpac race, of 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds[81] She has been first to finish 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.[82]

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