12 Fun Facts About Alfa Romeo
If you’ve ever driven an Alfa Romeo car you know what a true joy it is. But how much do you know about the company’s history? Explore these fun facts to learn even more about your favorite automotive brand.
The auto company started around 1906 in Milan when French automaker Darracq opened an automobile factory. When the economy soured a few years later, the plant’s managing director, an Italian aristocrat, acquired the company and named it Alfa.
The French Alfa
The very first Alfa-branded car was the 24HP even though its 4.1-liter engine delivered 25 horses. It was well-engineered and quick, reaching 62 mph on wooden-spoke wheels.
Alfa Is An Acronym
Alfa doesn’t refer to a place or even a name, it’s an acronym for “Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili”, which translates to the Lombard Automobile Factory Company.
During WWI, automakers helped manufacture supplies for their respective countries. Alfa lacked the funds to make the switch, so Nicola Romeo stepped in to help. He acquired the company and re-branded it with the addition of his name.
The Alfa Romeo pays homage to Milan. The left side with the cross comes from the Milanese coat of arms, while the right side, the snake, comes from the Visconti family crest. The Visconti’s were the former rulers of Milan.
Alfa Romeo cars had great success at races like the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Formula, the Vanderbilt Cup, and many more thanks to their superior handling and lighter construction.
At the 1923 Targa Florio, Sivocci painted a white square and a four-leaf clover on the side of his racer, bringing him luck to win the race. Unfortunately, Sivocci died while testing a new high-performance car. After his death, all Alfa Romeo racing cars featured his iconic four-leaf clover inside of a white triangle and have not used his racing number, 17, since to signify his passing and honor his legacy.
The Ferarri Connection
Before Enzo Ferrari began his own automotive company, Ferarri ran the Alfa Romeo racing team for about 10 years. His famous prancing pony logo even appeared on Alfa Romeo cars!
After WWII, Alfa Romeo decided to focus less on race cars and more on production vehicles with models like the 1900 and the Giulietta, which really put the company on the map.
Owned By The Government
When Nicola Romeo left the company in 1928, things were up in the air, to say the least. Alfa Romeo was then acquired by the Italian government in 1933. Alfa Romeo essentially remained under government control until 1986 when Fiat bought them.
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An Export Pause
In 1995 Alfa Romeo stopped exporting their cars to the United States, save for 100 models f the 8C Competizione around 2007. After a 20-year pause in exporting, the company resumed bringing cars to America in 2015 with the 4C sports car.
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