Alfa Romeo History
The legend of Alfa Romeo started in 1910 when Cavalier Ugo Stella acquired the shares of Societa Italiana Automobili Darraq (Italian plant of a French car maker). Cars were produced in Naples, but the factory was later moved to Portella which is close to the city of Milan. By 1915, the factory changes its name to ALFA short for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili which means Lombardian Car Factory and the last name of the entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who took control of the company.
Unique Iconic Design
Many talented Alfa Romeo designers have influenced the way other car makers design their products. It began with Sergio Pininfarina who designed the first mass-produced Alfa Romeo, the 1955 Giulietta Spider. Others include Elio Zagato who designed the racing version of the Giulietta, the Giulietta SZ, which won two FIA Sports Car Championships for the 1.3 liter class and Franco Scaglione who created the legendary and beautiful Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. Let’s not forget Nuccio Bertone who created the unique and ground-breaking design of the 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo.
“Alfa Romeo is a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile. The real essence of Alfa defies description. It can be compared to those irrational movements of the spirit that sometimes occur in man, and for which there is no logical explanation. We are in the realm of sensations, passions, things that have more to do with the heart than with the head.”
-Orazio Satta Puliga
Head of Design in 1946
The Alfa Romeo brand not only has legendary designers, but a historic racing team. Notable drivers include Enzo Ferrari, Ugo Sivocci, Antonio Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio. Ferrari (who later founded Auto Avio Costruzioni, ACC) brought in a new head designer Vittorio Jano. This head designer changed the way ordinary cars were powered. Jano developed small 4,6 and 8 cylinder engines inspired by P2 Grand Prix engine. This innovation will become an Alfa Romeo Trademark; engines made out of lightweight alloy with semicircular chamber, spark plugs placed in middle, two rows of valves and two camshafts.
Since the very beginning, Alfa Romeo has been synonymous with proven performance both on and off the racetrack. With an innovative 8-cylinder engine and long wheel base, the 8C 2300 was up to the task of delivering Italy’s first win at Le Mans in 1931. Success continued throughout the next two decades, culminating in Alfa Romeo’s first Formula 1® World Championship victory at Silverstone, England in 1950. Earning podiums and victories across the German Touring Car and Italian Superturismo series in the 1990s was the iconic Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti — which also became a hit with buyers across the globe.
Through its rich history, Alfa Romeo has introduced many industry firsts with innovative technologies that led to class-leading performance. The Giulia Quadrifoglio continues this tradition with an all-aluminum 90-degree 2.9 liter Bi-Turbo V6 engine that produces class-leading 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The Giulia and Giulia Ti both feature seductive Italian design that’s associated with Alfa Romeo. Today’s Alfa Romeo vehicles have the same philosophy — unique, Italian style with an efficient balance of power and weight.
History of the Alfa Romeo Badge
When Alfa (A.L.F.A. for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) Romeo was founded in 1910, draughtsman Romano Cattaneo came up with the company’s logo based on a crest he saw in Milan above the door of Castello Sforzesco in central Milan while awaiting his number 14 tram. High on the wall of the Filarete Tower were several heraldic interpretations of the Biscione Visconteo, the coat of arms of the city of Milan and of the Visconti family that ruled it in medieval times.
Biscione essentially means “grass snake,” and the icon’s association with Milan may stem from a bronzed serpent souvenir brought to the city from Constantinople by Arnolf II of Arsago, who served as archbishop of Milan from 998-1018. That image plus a representation of Milan’s official flag—a red cross on a white background—are the elements that have defined all nine Alfa logos.
1910-1915: The words ALFA at the top and MILANO at the bottom are separated by two figure-eight “Savoy Knots,” a symbol of the royal House of Savoy, a branch of which unified Italy in 1861.
1918-1925: As World War I was erupting, the banks holding A.L.F.A. ‘s debt entrusted the running of the company to Nicola Romeo, an entrepreneur from Naples. During the war, the company’s factory produced compressors, ammunition, and aircraft engines. When automotive production resumed, the company was renamed Alfa-Romeo and the logo was updated accordingly.
1925-1945: The logo was set in a golden laurel-leaf crown to celebrate the Alfa P2’s victory in the first World Racing Car Championship, taking victory in two of the four championship races.
1946-1950: Wartime bombing severely damaged the entire Italian industrial base, including the supplier of Alfa’s multicolored logo badges. This fact resulted in a greatly simplified two-tone design was easier to manufacture.
1950-1960: The full-color logo returned with a silver surround in the year that Alfa Romeo took the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship title in 1950. Alfa won again in 1951 with a 1.5-liter 425-hp supercharged straight-eight engine capable of hitting 190 mph.
1960-1972: This simplified design removed the “scaled” texture of the serpent’s body,the wavy texture in the blue surround, and the vertical line texture in the red cross. As Alfa Romeo expanded beyond it’s Milan beginnings – including a brand new plant in Pomigliano d’Arco near Naples, this redesign removed for good the word “Milano” from this and all subsequent logo designs.
1982-2014: This revision continued to simplify the design – resulting in one less back-and-forth zigzag in the snake’s body and updating the typeface to a simpler Futura font.
2015-Present: This final redesign by Robilant Associati of Milan eliminates the separation of the cross and the man-eating snake. The fatter snake features one less zigzag and a single silver textured field replaces the half-blue and half-white background utilized since the start.