Alfa Romeo History


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 Alfa Romeo was one of the great names of the Grands Prix of the mid 1920s and early 1930s and late 1940s until the company retired from racing after a last victory for the glorious 159 in the Spanish Grand Prix. Attempts to recapture the glory just over a quarter of a century later were less than successful: racing had changed enormously, but in some respects the Alfa attitude and approach, through their Autodelta competition car subsidiary had not changed.

 A suitable 3 liter flat 12 engine had been developed through a sports car program in the early 1970s and adopted by Brabham for their 1976 Grand Prix car. It showed promise, although this was offset as it was coupled with an extraordinary degree of variation between specific engines, and even the best seldom produced their rated power for the duration of a race.

 Alfa Romeo observed Brabham's progress and started work on their own car in 1977. That 177 which resulted was primarily a test veh9icle, and it was not raced until 1979. The flat 12 was replaced by a V12, still capable of producing abundant power and more suitable for ground effects cars, for the cylinder heads of a flat engine obstructed the under car airflow.

 This V12 was used in the 179, the first of this generation of GP Alfas to be campaigned through a season. It proved unrewarding in terms of results, and was in any case soon outmoded amongst the turbo cars. Alfa's turbo appeared late in 1982, and in common with other turbo engines produced well over 600 bhp in 1983, when results at last seemed promising as two second places fell to the 183T, and a sixth place in the constructor's championship.

 For that season, the actual racing program had been entrusted to the Euroracing team, while Alfa Romeo provided the machinery, and made their engines available to other constructors.

 Alfa Romeo 179

The 179 was Carlo Chiti's last complete design for Autodelta, and was typical of the ground effects era in its general layout, with broad side pods to maximize underbody airflow. The forward sweep nose aerofoils were little more then a fad, but the upswept ends to the side pods just ahead of the rear wheels were found to have disproportionate advantages by several teams.

 The layout of running gear and suspension was conventional, and like Chiti's other GP designs for Alfa Romeo the body was bulky. The engine was the powerfulkl V12 , which produced more  then 520 bhp, at some cost in fule consumption - the 179 had to start with around 25 liters more fule then its cosworth engined rivals. Despite its power thw 179 was a failure, the team scoring a mere four points in the 1980 championship.

 Alfa Romeo 183T/184T

A turbocharged engine became almost essential to competive speeds in early the 1980s, especially as the ground effects aerodynamic device was ruled out

Alfa Romeo

 Historic Badge of honour.

 Few car badges have as much history attached to them as the ones that have been gracing Alfa Romeos for the past 90 years. The Circular emblem was created in 1910 - The year that Alfa was established - by combining a red cross from the city of Milan ’s coat of arms and the Biscione, a dragon-cum-snake used as a heraldic symbol by the noble Visconti family. The logo has remained relatively unchanged since then.

 The origins of both symbols are from much earlier times. The Cross is reminiscent of that carried by the Lombard battalion when it embarked on the first crusade in 1095. Heading the battalion was Ottone Visconti, ancestor of the family that many years later became the Lords of Milan.

 The snake was said to signify strength and wisdom and was used by Germanic Lombard tribes in Northern Italy in the sixth century. They used the snake on a blue background on their battle flags. Legend has it that one of the Visconti ancestors had rid the surrounding countryside of a terrible dragon, which led to the court designers of the time to create the Biscione by combining the body of the Lombard snake with the head of the dragon.

 It was in June24 1910 that a group of Italian businessmen bought the Italian operation of French company Darracq, on the outskirts of Milan, to form what was then know as Alfa - Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili. A few years later, limited resources and the outbreak of World War one saw the company come under the control of Nicola Romeo, who added his family name to the title. Fiat swallowed Alfa Romeo up in 1986.

 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 – 1933

 The 8C 2300 Alfa Romeo racer was a popular attraction during the l93Os, and many people wanted to own one as a touring car. In answer to this demand, Alfa Romeo constructed a limited number of spider body touring versions of this racer during the years 1931 - 1934. Many of these cars were entered in races, most notably the “Mule Miglia” (thousand mile race), and won a substantial number of these races (32 times in first place, 25 times in second place, and 16 times in third place). Of the 188 Spider touring cars constructed, it is reported that 101 still exist today, primarily in museums, but also driven by the vintage car enthusiasts.

 The structural elegance of the engine, together with brilliant acceleration and fine body shape, made this Alfa Romeo a legendary car. Special versions, were prepared for the 24 Hours in Le Mans in 1933, but also participated in the Tourist Trophy in that year. In 1939 it participated in the Grand Prix in Australia . This is one of the few Alfa Romeo which was originally painted black. Many versions of this Alfa exist, all fitted with the 2300 cc motor and each time modified according to the necessities of the different races in which they participated.

 The Le Mans model had a longer chassis to increase its aerodynamics for the 24 Hours in Le Mans and produced between 165 and 180 hp and maximum speeds of 200 and 215 km/hr a slightly different version won two consecutive editions of the Mille Miglia. Later wins with Borzacchini-Bignami, in 1932, and Nuvolari_Compagnoni, in 1933, were the first successes of the private racing team of Enzo Ferrari. The Scuderia Ferrari Racing Team, which later became the famous sport car factory.

 Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Mille Miglia - Scuderia Ferrari

 In 1930 the first prototype of the 8C 2300 series was produced which became famous as a race- and sport-car during those years. Originally the body was designed for 2 people; however some units were produced with 4 seats. This race car was used by the Alfa Romeo factory team as well as by the private Ferrari Racing Team. The first victories in very important races were achieved in the years 1931/32 and especially the “Mille Miglia” and “Targa Floro” as well as “ Le Mans ” in France were the outstanding races. After the retreat of factory teams in 1933 the remaining cars were bought by the Ferrari stable. Ferrari extended the motor to 2556 cc which achieved a higher powered engine from 165 to 178 HP. This race car had the description 8C 2600 and won the “Mille Miglia” 1934 as well as other important races.

 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza GP “Muletto”

 In 1931, when new auto racing regulations were implemented, ALFA ROMEO resolved to develop a new 8 cylinder racer. For power, they selected the proven veteran 165 hp motor with 5400 rpm. The engine was housed in a completely new body designed in accordance with the new regulations then in effect.

 It’s debut at the 9th Grand Prix of Italy brought ALFA ROMEO a fabulous success and the trail of victories continued throughout 1931 and 1932.

Through additional technical improvements which increased the engine output to 178 hp, speeds of up to 225 km/h could be achieved.

Probably the best known driver of this model was Caracciola. In 1932 he captured 2nt place at the Monaco Grand Prix, just 3 seconds behind Nuvolari. That proved to be the beginning of a long series of triumphal successes: 2nd place at the Avus Race, winner at the Eifel and Polish Grand Prix.

 As an honour to the car’s stamina Caracciola nicknamed the car “Muletto”.

 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Sports

 The motor derives from the 17506 cylinder and maintains the bore and stroke. Production of different versions of this model started in 1931 and ceased in 1934. 188 series vehicles were produced and another 27 were prepared for racing.

The Monza model, with a short wheel base, produced between 165 and 178 hp and a maximum speed respectively of 210 and 225 km/hr. The more powerful versions were fitted with a compressor. Motor: 8 cylinders. Total cylinder capacity: 2336 cc. Horse Power: 180. Maximum speed: 205 km/hr. Feed: forced with compressor. Chassis/coachwork open, 2 seater.

Alfa Romeo in Australia

The Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia is one of the largest single Marque Clubs in Australia with over 4000 members nationally and divisions in all States and Territories, except Tasmania and Northern Territory. The Club provides a wide range of events and activities designed to appeal to all tastes, from competition events, to social events, many orientated to family participation. The divisions also have active technical groups that hold regular meetings and work on projects of interest to Alfisti. The individual Divisional Magazines report on Club activities, provide articles of technical and general interest and provides a Calendar of future events.

Each year a National get together of Alfisti is held over the Easter long weekend. The event is called Alfesta and is rotated around the States of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. About every ten years an Alfesta is held in Western Australia. Alfesta 2006 was held by the Victorian division of the club, a report on this event will be available on this site soon.

Alfa Romeo Chronological Racing History

1931

At the 1931 Mille Miglia, Alfa Romeo introduces a car that at first sight looks like a 1750, and in fact its chassis is almost identical. The “secret” lies in its 8-cylinder engine: the new, exceptional 2300. Nuvolari and Arcangeli are the drivers, but have no luck: race victory goes to Caracciola in the Mercedes. But the 2300 gets its own back immediately: under the guidance of Jano and Ferrari the car dominates the Targa Florio: 1st Nuvolari, 2nd Borzacchini. The “2300 Monza” wins on its debut at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and at the European GP with Nuvolari and Campari, who finish ahead of the other 2300 driven by Minoia and Borzacchini.

1932

The racing scene is dominated by the new P3 single-seater. It makes its debut at Monza on 5 June and the 4 cars are driven by Nuvolari, Campari, Borzacchini and the German Caracciola. Nuvolari wins in style. Each race brings another victory: he is the undisputed idol of the crowds. Nuvolari also dominates the Targa Florio (with the same 2300 he drove to win in 1931), the Italian GP, the French GP, the Circuit of Avellino, the Coppa Ciano and the Coppa Acerbo. Borzacchini and Bignami triumph in the Mille Miglia with a 2300, Chinetti and Sommer at Le Mans, Brivio and Siena at Spa.

1933

Alfa retires from competition, justifying its decision with the undoubted fact that they have demonstrated that their cars are unbeatable in 1932. But the red Milanese cars continue competing. They do away with the clover and replace it with the Ferrari symbol of the rampant horse on a yellow background. Nuvolari wins seven races, including victories at Le Mans and at the Mille Miglia. The year ends tragically however: at Monza both Campari (in his last race before retiring, aged 41) and Borzacchini, are killed.

1934

Ferrari continues to triumph with the single-seaters. Varzi wins the Mille Miglia while Etanchelin and Chinetti take first place at Le Mans in an Alfa 2300.

1935

Nuvolari’s legendary victory at the German GP at Nürburgring - thanks to his skill as a driver and the top-class handling, lightness and roadholding of his little Alfa (300 bhp), he manages to beat the German Mercedes 400 bhp and Auto Union teams, as well as Maserati and Bugatti.
Nuvolari also tests the twin-engine (6334 bhp) designed by Luigi Bazzi for Ferrari. In the Florence-Mare race he manages to reach the incredible speed of 336 km/hr.

1936

A double at the Mille Miglia. Nuvolari performs more heroics at the Coppa Ciano in Livorno: his car breaks down, he returns to the pits, climbs into Pintacuda’s car (the last Alfa car competing) and goes on to win. A triumph also for Alfa Romeo. The first Auto Union car finishes only in fourth place. 1936: Tazio Nuvolari throws the American crowds into raptures by winning the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup in New York.
Alfa Romeo also wins the Mille Miglia in 1937 and in 1938.

1939

The 158 wins the Coppa Ciano and Coppa Acerbo.

1940

The autonomous Alfa Corse department is closed down.