by webmaster in Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈalfa roˈmɛːo]) is an Italian manufacturer of cars. Founded as A.L.F.A. on June 24, 1910, in Milan, the company has been involved in car racing since 1911, and has a reputation for building expensive sports cars. The company was owned by Italian state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale between 1932 and 1986, when it became a part of the Fiat Group, and since February 2007 a part of Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.
The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. In the late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and a new company was founded named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili English: Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company), initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Giuseppe Merosi. A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24 HP models. In August 1915 the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP becoming the first car to be badged as such.
In 1928 Nicola Romeo left, with Alfa going broke after defense contracts ended, and at the end of 1932 Alfa Romeo was rescued by Benito Mussolini’s government, which then had effective control. The Alfa factory struggled to return to profitability after the Second World War, and turned to mass-producing small vehicles rather than hand-building luxury models. The company, in 1954, developed the classic Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which would remain in production until 1995. During the 1960s and 1970s Alfa Romeo produced a number of sporty cars, though the Italian government parent company, Finmeccanica, struggled to make a profit so sold the marque to the Fiat Group in 1986.