There are few entities that have made as strong of an impact on the automotive landscape as Italian automaker Alfa Romeo. The company was founded as “ALFA” in 1910, short for Anomina Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili. In 1915 Nicola Romeo bought the company and the Alfa Romeo name was born. Alfa Romeo quickly rose to prominence as one of the top makers of European racing cars in the early 1900s. Legendary race car driver and Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari got his start racing for Alfa Romeo during the 1920s, and enjoyed success as the manager of their racing team before founding Ferrari.
The Alfa Romeo Torpedo 20-30 HP, introduced in 1920, was the first car to bear the Alfa Romeo name. It was a high-end sports car produced in limited quantities, and it came with a hefty price tag for its era. This car brought Alfa Romeo its first taste of racing success, winning at Mugello with Giuseppe Campari at the wheel. Enzo Ferrari took second place at the Targa Florio driving the Torpedo.
The Alfa Romeo P2 was introduced in 1924, and was the first Alfa Romeo to feature a V8 engine, and also the first Vittorio Jano-designed Alfa Romeo. It was notable for winning the inaugural Automobile World Championship in 1925, a high-point in achievement for the brand. The car went on to win many other prestigious races throughout the 1920s, and was one of the most famous cars on the grand prix circuit during it’s time.
Post-World War II, Alfa Romeo continued to have great success in racing with cars such as the 158 Alfetta, which won the Formula One World Championship in 1950. Other prominent post-war Alfa Romeos included the Gran Turismo Allegerita or “GTA” of the 1960s, as well as the Tipo 33TT12 and the Tipo 33SC12 of the 1970s.
Alfa Romeo is still thriving today, and it is one of the most longstanding and respected automotive brands of all time. Exportation of Alfa Romeos to the United States ceased in 1995, but has since resumed with the 8C Competizione, released in 2008. The Alfa Romeo Giulia will hit the US market in 2012.
Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer