Tuesday, August 1, 2023



Alfa Romeo:

The 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. Alfa is an acronym for “Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili”, which translates to the Anonymous Lombard Automobile Factory Company.

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.

The A.L.F.A. 12 HP was the second car produced, following the he success of the 24 HP, first car made by A.L.F.A

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 to Alfa Romeo.

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.

For the 1923 Targa Florio — the notoriously dangerous road race in Sicily — Alfa’s factory team fielded four specially-prepared lightweight RL models. These were driven by Antonio Ascari (father of the two-time F1 world champion Alberto Ascari), Ugo Sivocci, Giulio Masetti and a little-known Modenese named Enzo Ferrari.

Prior to the race, Sivocci had a green four-leafed clover on a white square painted on the front of his car as a good luck symbol. 

It seemed to pay off; some 200 yards from the finish, Ascari’s car, on course for victory, went off the track, requiring repairs to get going again.

In their enthusiasm, Ascari’s mechanics clung on to the back of his car as he revved up and roared across the line to an apparent victory. This, however, was against the rules, leading Ascari’s win to be declared null and void. With Ascari forced to return to where he broke down and cross the line for a second time, this handed the win to Sivocci in his clover-adorned car and marked Alfa’s first major international win.

A few months later, Sivocci crashed his Alfa P1 and died while racing at Monza. Due to complications surrounding the paintwork, the car he had been driving was not wearing its good-luck charm, an affirmation for many of the power of the quadrifoglio verde.

Following Sivocci’s crash, superstitious drivers, mechanics and engineers at Alfa began to insist on the inclusion of the clover symbol on the firm’s racing cars and, to mark Sivocci’s absence, the white square background was replaced by a triangle.

Cars have not used Sivocci's racing number, 17, since his death to signify his passing and honor his legacy.


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 put the company on the map.


When Nicola Romeo left the company in 1928, things were up in the air. Alfa Romeo was then acquired by the Italian government in 1933. Alfa Romeo essentially remained under government control until 1986 when Fiat bought them.

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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