History of Alfa-Romeo
The first Alfa Romeo factoryThe story begins in Naples, a long way from Alfa Romeo’s native Milan. That’s where a Frenchman Alexandre Darracq together with some Italian investors created a branch of his Parisian company in 1906 for a licensed production of two car models. One was equipped with a single-cylinder engine with an output of 8 and 10 hp. The other had a more powerful, but already two-cylinder 14 hp engine. The branch received the name Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) – open Italian company Darracq. In 1909, one of the investors – Milan aristocrat chevalier Ugo Stella became the chairman of SAID.
Anonima Lombarda Fabrica Automobile By the end of 1909, sales of Darracq cars had fallen dramatically. In 1910, Ugo Stella created a new company on the basis of SAID under the name of A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili). Founded with Italian co-investors and still in partnership with Darracq, production has moved to Portello, near Milan. Thus, since 1910 in Lombardy, on an area of 6700 m2 a plant for the production of cars under the brand ALFA appeared.
Alfa Romeo Torpedo 20/30 HP The First World War stopped ALFA car production plant for three years. And in August 1915, the company came under the leadership of a Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who shifted production to the military needs for the Italian and Allied troops. Produced aircraft engines, compressors and generators were based on the company’s automotive engines. At the end of the war, Romeo invested the profits of the greatly expanded plant in the acquisition of railway factories in Saronno (Costruzioni Meccaniche di Saronno), Rome (Officine Meccaniche di Roma) and Naples (Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali). All of them were included in the ownership of the A.L.F.A. Automobile production was not renewed at first, but in 1919 it was decided to renew 105 cars from the parts left over from 1915. In 1920, with the release of the Torpedo 20/30 HP the company’s name was changed to Alfa Romeo.
Nicola Romeo In 1928, Nicola Romeo left, leaving the bankrupt Alfa, and at the end of 1932 it was saved by the government. Alfa Romeo became a symbol, the national emblem of Italy of Mussolini’s rule. During this period, Alfa Romeo was building bespoke luxury cars with bodies from Touring of Milan or Pininfarina. The sporty Alfa Romeo 2900B Type 35 became a maximum of this era.
The emblem of the company uses the symbols of the city of Milan – a snake (a huge snake) swallowing a man, and a red cross on a white field – symbols of enterprise and power, designed to promote world success. Legend has it that the ancestor of the Lombard family Visconti killed a Saracen in a duel during the First Crusade who had a man-eating serpent on his shield, while the red cross on the white field recalls the heroic deed of the Milanese, who first put a cross on the wall of Jerusalem during the First Crusade.
Since the first steps under the Alfa brand, and later under the Alfa Romeo brand, cars with high driving qualities have been produced. The company’s cars constantly participate in various automotive competitions to prove their speed and reliability.
Under the leadership of Ugo Stella produced a series of cars that quickly became competitive in the market. Its designer from 1910 to 1926 was Giuseppe Merosi. Alfa Romeo logo of 1915
24 HP – the first car, which with good reason could be called Alfa, reached a speed of 100 km/h. Under this brand cars were produced until 1915.
Torpedo 20-30 HP – the first car created in 1920 under the brand name Alfa Romeo.
In 1920, Merosi creates his masterpiece Alfa Romeo RL, which becomes the flagship of the plant in Portello. At the auto show in London, the British immediately began to call it “little Rolls-Royce”. The car was produced until 1927, and a total of 2,631 copies were produced.
The first victories in automobile competitions were won in 1920, they coincided with the revival of automobile sport after World War I.
In 1923, the designer Vittorio Jano comes to the company from Fiat, not without the help of a young Alfa racer named Enzo Ferrari, to replace Merosi as chief designer of Alfa Romeo. Five months later, the P2, a two-seat 8-cylinder race car, is produced. In 1925 it brought the company a victory in the world championship and became a legend.
In 1925, the Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 is produced, which uses the best technical developments of the P2 model. In honor of Nicola Romeo the car is assigned an emblem “NR”.
Since 1927, the production of diesel and aircraft engines and trucks is developed.
In 1929 is created racing team Scuderia Ferrari.
The first car under the brand name ALFA – 24 NR In 1932, with the increasing number of customers appears the need to organize service centers. Sales offices are established in England, France, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
At the end of the same year, the company is taken over by the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (L’Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale – IRI).
In the second half of the 1930s the company is full of energy. Under the management of Ugo Gobbato, the workshops are modernized, mass production is established and the production of trucks and buses is resumed.
In 1938, after Vittorio Jano (he moved to Lancia, where he managed the production of such models as Appia, Aurelia and Flaminia) comes Orazio Satta Puliga, who becomes the third outstanding designer in the history of the company.
In 1938, Alfa’s racing team is created, but during this period, sports activities depend on the political climate in the country: Mussolini forbids Italian racers to participate in competitions in France.
In 1939, the development of the car 6C 2500 begins. Production of aircraft engines increases. The construction of the Pomigliano d’Arco plant begins.
World War II causes much damage to the company’s plants, the Pomigliano d’Arco being less affected. It took time to restore production. It was decided to start limited production of cars, using the chassis of the pre-war 6C 2500 with a new aerodynamic sports body. Thus the Golden Arrow (Freccia d’Oro) was born.
In 1947, Clemente Biondetti wins the Mille Miglia, confirming the economic recovery of the company and a symbol of overcoming the consequences of the war.Alfa Romeo 6C 2500
In 1950, based on the chassis of the magnificent 6C 2500 a new 159 model is produced: significant changes have affected the engine of the car, but externally it has remained almost the same.
In the autumn of 1950, at the Paris Auto Show, and later in London, the Alfa Romeo 1900 was presented with a 1.9-liter engine, rated at 90 hp and 150 km/h. Two years later the Alfa Romeo 1900 Coupe and the Alfa Romeo 1900 Spider debuted, the body of which was designed by the Pininfarina body shop.
In the 1950s, the company switches to mass conveyor production.
In 1954 at the Turin Motor Show was presented the Giulietta Sprint, combining the qualities of a passenger car and a sports car – it was a great success with the public. It was followed by Giulietta Berlina, Sprint, Sprint Veloce, Spider, Spider Veloce.
The Alfa Romeo 1900 and Giulietta have scored numerous wins in the Turismo and Gran Turismo races.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta SprintCollaboration with design studios in the development of car bodies gives birth to the so-called “Italian style”.
At the end of 1958 a cooperation agreement with Renault was signed, which allowed in early 1959 to begin production of the Dauphine Alfa Romeo.
To expand production, it was decided to assemble the Alfa Romeo 2000 in Brazil and Mexico, and the assembly of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Romeo van in Spain and South Africa.
In 1960, a comprehensive program to increase production began, which included building a new plant near Milan, expanding the plant at Pomigliano d’Arco and building a new production facility in Areza. As well as expanding the sales network in Italy and abroad. After the construction of the new plant Alfasud in Pomigliano d’Arco the company’s logo has changed slightly – only the word Alfa Romeo remains, without specifying the city. In this form it is depicted to this day.
From 1960 to 1972 the company was managed by Giuseppe Luraghi.
The new complex in Pomigliano d’Arco is now used to start serial production of Renault diesel engines and the assembly of the new Renault R4 small car. The plant in Portello concentrates on the production of various versions of the Giulietta (Berlina, TI, Sprint, Sprint Veloce, Spider, Spider Veloce, Sprint Speciale and S.Z.) as well as Alfa Romeo 2000 and 2600.
In 1962, a new Alfa Romeo model, the Giulia TI, debuted with a 1570cc engine.
In 1964 an independent division Autodelta is created, which produces sports cars for races on the basis of production cars, as well as produces unique copies of the machines.
In 1965, for participation in the competition the Giulia GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerita) with a lightweight body is produced.
The seventies are marked by sporting success. In 1975, the car 33 TT 12 brings victories in the championships, ahead of Porsche and Renault Alpine. In 1977, the success is repeated. The GTA is the only car in the world to win seven consecutive 24-hour races, from 1970 to 1976.Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA 65
In 1974, Luraghi leaves the company. He is succeeded by Ettore Massaccesi, who begins to reorganize production for the first time since the modernization undertaken by Ugo Gobbato in the mid-1930s.
In 1983, the car Arna (Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli) is produced, as the name suggests, jointly with Nissan.
In 1986, the company enters the group FIAT. The design of the new model range is carried out with the preservation of traditions, individual style and technology of Alfa Romeo.
Decade of production growth. The plant in Pomigliano d’Arco produces Alfa Romeo 155 following the 145th and 146th, the plant in Areza – the new Spider and GTA.
1997 is the year of the car Alfa Romeo 156. In 1998, it is awarded the title of “Car of the Year”, and in the same year the magnificent Alfa Romeo 166 debuts.
In 2000, the company turned 90 years old.
Alfa Romeo 156 GTAIn September 2001, two gems, the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA and Sportwagon GTA, continuing the tradition of the legendary Giulia Sprint GTA, were presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
In 2001 the Alfa Romeo 147 was awarded as “The Best Car of the Year 2001”.
In 2003 the Alfa Romeo GT made its debut at the Bologna show, the body of which was developed in collaboration with Vegtopet. The car realized the best sports traditions of the company.
In the same year, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the concept 8C Competizione was presented, and at the Geneva Motor Show was shown the concept Alfa Romeo Centro Stile Kamal.
In 2004 at the Geneva Motor Show Alfa Crosswagon with permanent all-wheel drive made its debut. In the same year the Italians are updating their flagship – the 166 sedan.
In 2004, the company widely celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Giulietta, the first mass-produced car. Legends live on and continue to be born.
2005 is the debut year for the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan. The model came to replace already outdated 156th. Despite the indignation of fans of the brand about the newly appeared on the usual place handles rear doors, Alfa 159 is one of the most beautiful cars of recent years. But the Brera that came on the scene the same year makes everything and everyone pale into insignificance. An insanely beautiful all-wheel-drive coupe makes a splash at the Geneva Motor Show and wins the title of the best car of the show. Alfa Romeo 159
In 2006, Alfa Romeo gets even stronger on its feet: it launches 159 Sportwagon wagon and an open version of the Brera model – Alfa Romeo Spider. But the most pleasant event for admirers of the Italian brand was the decision of the company, after a long struggle to give the green light to the supercar 8C Competizione. It did not have time to announce it officially, as the office of the company was flooded with preliminary applications for this 450-horsepower monster. The excitement turned out so that the run, consisting of only 500 cars, was gone even before the appearance of the model on the conveyor. The first trucks will reach buyers no earlier than the fall of 2007.
In autumn 2006, took place another significant event in the history of Alfa Romeo. First of all, for Russia. The Italian brand risked to return to our market. The Major company that took such a responsibility is going to sell two thousand cars a year. And in Russia is represented absolutely the entire model range, including beauties Brera and Spider.
But in 2009 Major is closing the sale of Alfa Romeo in Russia. And a year later, in 2010 in St. Petersburg there is a new dealer of Alfa Romeo in Russia – Alfa Cento Ltd.
Alfa Romeo car production: company and plants in different countries
“Alfa Romeo” is a brand with history, under this brand expensive racing cars have been produced for many years, the producer country of which is Italy. The company appeared at the beginning of the XX century, at the dawn of the automotive industry, and was called in those early days “Societa Anonima Italiana Darrac” after the name of the founder – a Frenchman. The first cars did not sell out as quickly as one would have liked, the company passed into the hands of the new owner and was named “Alfa”, as short for “Anonima Lombarda Fabrika Avtomovilli”.
To promote its products, the board of directors decided to exhibit samples at races, a move that brought fame to both the pilots and the Alfa firm. Production was completely reoriented to racing cars, and there were already some decent developments, but the First World War stopped the successful campaign.
The company was taken over by Niccolò Romeo, who, by the way, added his name to the brand, and turned its attention to military equipment, and also focused on the production of railway trains. Nevertheless, either common sense or good advisers told him that it would be worth to resume the production of race cars.
Thus, in 1920, cars “Alfa” again asserted itself and took a prize in the races. Success accompanied the company about 10 years, and then she went bankrupt as a result of inept management. The company Niccolo Romeo received good financial support from the Italian defense industry, but when the terms of contracts expired, it turned out that in other areas of the firm did not succeed enough to support itself.
In the 1930s, Benito Mussolini saved the company by bringing it under the aegis of the state. “Alfa began selling cars all over Europe and successfully competed with the German brands. E. Ferrari himself before creating his own series of cars used the products of “Alfa Romeo”.
World War II again obliged the company to address to the military theme, as well as to hide the most successful racing samples from the eyes of the “Allies”, who would certainly take them to Germany.
The company made its big breakthrough after the war, when it brought in a chief engineer from the Porsche plant. Combining the achievements of German and Italian automotive engineering has borne fruit, and the company safely conquered the top of the racing Olympus.
Up to ’80s the management changed several times, and it cost Alfa Romeo its independence – it was bought by Fiat Group, which still owns the brand.
A tangled history of successes and failures, endless changes of owners and occupation, as well as the transfer of plants have led to the fact that now many do not even know the place of actual production of Alfa Romeo cars.
The plant in Milan
The first Alfa Romeo plant in the suburbs of Milan, where the workshops of other car companies were also based, opened back at the beginning of the last century. Here were produced such models as:
The plant was considered the main plant until 1962, then production was moved to Areza, but it continued to operate until the late ’60s as an auxiliary plant.
The Areza plant
The second and largest factory of the company, which produced not only cars, but also engines for them, and produced the following models of Alfa Romeo:
After taking ownership of Alfa Romeo, the Fiat Group continued to use this plant for a while, and then moved production, leaving only the engine assembly shop. As soon as they were no longer relevant, the plant closed altogether, putting several hundred people out of work and triggering strikes.
The Italian government has not yet figured out how to dispose of the huge area, and it has turned into ruins. Only part of it is open for visitors to the Alfa Romeo museum.
Pomigliano d’Arco factory
Was also built when Alfa Romeo was an independent company, in 1968. From the assembly line were produced such models as:
Seven years ago, the plant stopped producing Alfa Romeo cars and began producing Fiats.
Plant in Turin
The Mirafiori factory has belonged to Fiat since the 1930s and is one of the largest in Italy. Since 2011, Alfa Romeo cars of the latest models are also produced there:
Due to financial problems, the company almost lost this plant, but managed to defend it.
Plant in Piedimonte-San Ghermano
Also owned by the Fiat Group, it is a modern car manufacturing complex, but more compact than the Turin plant. Alfa Romeo models have come off its assembly line, such as:
This plant belongs to Maserati, and it assembles the Alfa Romano 4C model, which is the joint brainchild of Maserati and Fiat designers. It is a two-seat high-speed sports car for rich clients, with an excellent design and technical characteristics.
Plant in South Africa
In the 1960s, Alfa Romeo opened a plant in South Africa in East London. It was very profitable at the time and helped spread the products far beyond one continent. Production flourished until the 80’s, when Europe and the Republic of South Africa had a period of mutual claims. We didn’t just have to close the plant; we had to liquidate all the expensive equipment so as not to have to pay duties.
Plant in Argentina
This plant belonged to the American businessman John Kaiser, who in 1960-1962 was actively cooperating with Alfa Romeo and took over the production of the model “Empire”. Subsequently, the plant passed into the ownership of the Republic of Argentina by decree of Juan Peron.