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110 Years of Alfa Romeo!

Happy Birthday Alfa Romeo

The brand will be 110 years old with one of the most beautiful emblems in the world, the green Visconti dragon and the red cross on a white background of the city of Milan. 110 years full of emotions and passion, marked by grandiose victories and bitter defeats, outstanding technical achievements and disastrous mismanagement. Again and again on the verge of ruin, icons of automotive engineering were created despite or precisely because of this. 

No sooner was the Alfa 24 HP 1910, the first car on the market, than the young company slipped into the First World War and its first bankruptcy. After the takeover by the investors around the engineer Nicola Romeo , the financial means were available to successfully start the automobile races that were launched at the time. Ugo Sivocci's victory at the Targa Florio 1923 brought international attention, followed by an almost uninterrupted series of victories in major races, above all 11 first places at the Mille Miglia , plus Grand Prix -Win at home and abroad. Design engineers like Giuseppe Merosi and Vittorio Jano , race directors like Enzo Ferrari , drivers like Tazio Nuvolari , Antonio Ascari and Rudolf Caracciola cemented the Nimbus Alfa Romeo as that of an automobile manufacturer that builds cars that win races - and that wealthy private drivers can buy for everyday use.

Ugo Sivocci on his way to his first victory in an Alfa Romeo at the Targa Florio in Sicily in 1923

When Formula 1 was founded after the war, the light Alfa Romeo racing cars ("Alfetta 159") dominated the Grand Prix circuits for years before the management of the now nationalized car manufacturer suddenly and for a long time bid farewell to the premier class of racing.

13. May 1950, Silverstone (England) Juan Manuel Fangio wins the European Grand Prix with the Alfa Romeo 158

The brand's sporting genes and the successful racing history of the first four decades have to serve to appeal to younger buyers and to increase the number of units. Under the new boss Giuseppe Luraghi and his chief technicians Orazio Satta Puliga and Giuseppe Busso, the dream Alfa Romeos from the heyday of the brand are created. In Italy, too, it is the “golden” 1950s, the economy is booming, and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta as a sedan, coupé and Spider will be the showcase for all those who have made it.

Design icon of the "Dolce Vita" of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce 1965

In 1959, Alfa Romeo sold as many units in just one year as in the entire company's history up to then, almost 30,000 units. While in 1960, north of the Alps, Daimler-Benz was about to take over the tumbling Munich car manufacturer, the excavators for the most modern automobile plant in Europe are rolling in Arese near Milan . Two years later, Alfa Romeo opened its factory in its hometown, not knowing that only a few years later, with the 1968 revolts and the workers' struggles, the hardest years would begin.

The Alfa Romeo Arese plant now houses the Alfa Romeo Museum , which is absolutely worth seeing.

The influence of politics is increasing, the Milanese are quietly telling each other which party will get how many jobs in the flourishing state-owned company. There is evidence that unemployed bakers' assistants are placed in the paint shop, unskilled workers in the technical offices, illiterate people are put in suits and hired as drivers. The "assenteismo", the unfounded absence from the workplace, climbs to a record high, productivity plummets. The racing department Auto Delta , which has now been spun off, is simultaneously celebrating brilliant victories in road and hill climbs, sports car icons such as the light Alfa Romeo Sprint GTA (Gran Turismo Allegerita - in German "lightweight GT") ) and the Alfa 33 cars only show their competitors the taillights.

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 stradale , the Alfa Romeo designed by Franco Scaglione is considered one of the most beautiful Alfas. The 33 equipped with a 2 l V8 engine costs more than one million euros today.

These are the years in which Alfa Romeo authorized dealers maintain their own teams and let them go to the start. One of the most successful branches in Italy was the Alfa agency in Siena, which in 1968 sent a young man into the race who was supposed to go from apprentice to chief mechanic in no time: Amerigo "Joe" Bigliazzi sat in the weekend Cockpit, on weekdays he worked on customer and racing cars. The wiry young-at-heart Italian started again at an age when others are thinking of quitting and founded his own workshop primarily for classic car customers - a reason for Nostalgic to station the Alfa Romeo fleet in Siena from the start.
After 75 years of heart and soul, Alfa Romeo lost its independence in 1985 and became part of the then Fiat Group, now FCA Automobiles. The new owners strive not to let the history of the brand be forgotten and bring exciting models such as the Alfa Romeo 8C and the little brother Alfa Romeo 4C onto the market, who cannot deny their athletic genes. In 2018, the start took place in the premier class of automobile sport - Formula 1.

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (historical images kindly provided by Alfa Romeo Automobilismo Storico Centro Documentazione Arese)

Are you interested in the history of Italian sports car construction? Then we have an exciting trip to the cradle of Italian sports car construction for you in our program. You drive 4 days behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo Spider from the heyday of Alfa Romeo through Emilia Romagna, visit the Casa Enzo Ferrari and the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello and much more. Click here for detailed information about the Nostalgic trip to Emilia Romagna.

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Nostalgic is the premium provider for unforgettable adventure trips & incentive travel with vintage cars as well as an exclusive partner of Mercedes-Benz.
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