Romeo is history
Lombarda Fabrica Automobili,
abbreviated A.L.F.A., was a group of businessmen in
Milano, Italy, who acquired a taxicab producing factory
from Daracq- Italia, a joint venture between France
and Italy. Shortly after the turn of the 20th
century the group hired an experienced car designer
and branched out into the production of other vehicles.
The first ALFA appeared in 1910, a touring car. Subsequent
models quickly gained popularity because ALFA cars
were found to be of high quality and reliability.
At the outbreak of WW I
the Daracq-Italian partnership was dissolved
and the ALFA factory was forced to participate in
the war effort, producing munitions and military vehicles.
Nicola Romeo, a professor of mathematics, bought the
ALFA Company in 1915 and attached his sir name to
the company name, which henceforth was called ALFA
With the new owner at the
helm, the company lost no time to compete in the racecar
market and in a few years time participated in the
Grand Prix motor race. It seems that the company had
found its niche, for in the following decades many
victories were scored with Alfa Romeo cars such as
the Formula One, Mille Miglia and Le Mans. One of
their famous racecar drivers was Enzio Ferrari, (1898-1988).
After he departed from racing, he retained a close
affiliation with the carmaker by consulting and exchange
of technical information, even after he had founded
his own company.
But in spite of Alfa’s
success the big industrial crash of 1929 sent the
company into government receivership and signor Romeo
was removed from the company directorship. When WW
II broke out, automobile production was again halted
and could not be resumed after the war until the bombed
out factory was replaced.
Production of passenger
cars resumed in 1950 and with the introduction of
the Giulietta in 1954 a new era in the history
of Alfa Romeo had begun. Since then a variety of models
hit the market, from the conventional family sedan
to the hand-made Giulia 1600 SS, for the man
who has everything. Seeking new solutions in automobile
manufacturing always remained a daring policy of the
Italian carmaker, even to the point of losing a share
in the market. Moreover, a joint venture with Nissan
to bridge the widening of an economical gap ended
in failure. This forced the Italian government to
sell the company to Fiat in 1986.
Alfa Romeo car exports
to the US came to a halt in 1995, although rumors
circulate ever since that a special model could make
an appearance in American showrooms again. Alfa Romeo
had lost out to Japanese carmakers that constantly
upgraded their products with extras and trinkets,
which the Italians were unwilling to do. High priced
quality automobiles need to present more than an illustrious
past to compete on US markets.
For Alfa Romeo owners there
is always hope that one day they may be able
replace their pride and joy with a brand new one.
They console each other that this day may be here
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