About Alfa Romeo
Established in the year 1910 in Milan, Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. is an Italian car manufacturer with a reputation for manufacturing high-end sports cars. Right from its early days, Alfa Romeo cars had an aura about them, so much so that Henry Ford is reported to have said once that every time he sees an Alfa Romeo go by, he tips his hat!
Since 2007, Alfa Romeo is a part of the Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. Alfa Romeo manufactures a limited number of cars each year, compared to numerous other mass-market car makers; in 2010 for example, only about 112,000 cars were produced.
French automobile manufacturer Alexandre Darracq, along with some Italian investors, founded Alfa Romeo in 1906 as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID). However, following the slow sale of the cars, a new company by the name A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) was established. The company produced its first non-Darracq car in 1910.
In the year 1915, Italian engineer and entrepreneur Nicola Romeo took over the company and produced military vehicles for Italian and allied war efforts. The company’s name was changed to Alfa Romeo in 1920 and the first car to be sold by this brand name was Torpedo 20-30 hp.
However, the company went broke in 1928. Eventually, in 1932 Benito Mussolini's government took control of Alfa Romeo.
The Alfa factory that produced Macchi C.202 Folgore engines during the war period was bombed during the Second World War. In order to gain success, the company went into manufacturing smaller vehicles instead of the luxurious ones from 1954. The coupés, Giulietta series of berline (saloons/sedans) and open two-seaters were introduced.
In the sixties, the company produced aluminium-bodied GTA. It also introduced a sports racing prototype, Tipo 33.
In 1986, the parent company Finmeccanica sold the company to the Fiat Group and Alfa Lancia Industriale S.p.A was formed. In 2007, Fiat Auto S.p.A. was reorganised and four new automobile companies were formed including Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A.
Alfa Romeo’s success in racing
Within a year of its inception in 1910, Alfa Romeo forayed into racing. The company won the inaugural Grand Prix championship in 1925. Alfa Romeo has to its credit several wins in motorsports including Formula One, sports car racing and touring car racing.
In 1966, GTA won the inaugural Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am championship. Tipo 33SC12 won the World Championship for Sports Cars in 1977. Alfa Romeo 159 bagged the third position in 2006 European Car of the Year awards and won the Auto Bild Design Award in the same year.
Alfa Romeo trivia
Alfa Romeo Spider was a plot device in the 1967 film The Graduate that brought immense popularity to the brand. Alfa Romeo 159 appeared in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008) as well as Angels and Demons (2009).
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