The History of Alfa Romeo
Making a Name (1906-1980)
- Founded in 1906 by Alexandre Darracq, Alfa Romeo began under the name of Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq. Three years later, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. The first cars were said to be not powerful enough, not dependable enough and generally unsuitable for local conditions. In hopes of promoting a new image, the company changed its name to A.L.F.A., an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili.
Nicola Romeo bought into the company in 1918, after World War I had ended. At this point, A.L.F.A. was only manufacturing tractors, railway equipment and aircraft engines. Since the war was over, their products were no longer needed. The company began building cars once again. To inspire a new image, the company got a new name: Alfa Romeo.
Establishing Presence (1980-1992)
- In the '80s, Alfa Romeo began using its knowledge of aeronautical technology to create turbo engines. The Alfa 33 was born--and a new expression called a "split two- box" was used to describe its form. Taking on a wedge shape, the Alfa 33 displayed a new and modern style of the time. In 1992, the Alfa 155 was created, it was the first medium-sized car with front-wheel drive capacity.
The Awards Begin (1995-2001)
- Within five years, Alfa Romeo was given four awards for its performance. In 1998, the Alfa 156 was given the prestigious "Car of the Year" award by the International Car Press. The Alfa GTV was awarded "The Golden Steering Wheel" in 1995, and in 2000 the Alfa 147 received the same title. In 2001, the Alfa 147 was further rewarded by being named "European Car of the Year."
The Alfa Brera (2002-2004)
- The success of the Alfa Brera began in 2002 when it won "Best of Show" from Autoweek at the 2002 Motor Show in Geneva. That same year the Alfa Brera was named "Most Fascinating Car" and called "one of the most elegant cars in the world" at the Super Car Rally at Paris, and "the most beautiful coupe in the world" in 2004.
2006: The Peak of Success
- The Alfa Brera continued to show success in Europe in 2006. it won three awards in the same year: "Best Design" by Autocar Magazine; "Best Coupe" at the Croatian Car of the Year Awards; and first prize as "European Car of the Year, 2007" in Japan.
Alfa Romeo found more success in 2006 when the Alfa Spider convertible was awarded "Cabrio of the Year"at the Geneva International Motor Show. Shortly later, the Alfa 159 won a five-star NCAP rating in Europe and a design award by Fleet World Honors.
Lastly in 2006, the Alfa 8C Compitizione won the "BMW Group Design Award" and the "Villa d'Este Design Award" and was named the "Best Production Car" by Car Design.