Italian automaker – Alfa Romeo, originally named "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili" (ALFA), known for its lines of premium cars, started its journey on this very day, 110 years ago, in Milan.
In 1910, with the vision of building something new, ALFA manufactured its first vehicle - the 24 HP - a sports sedan. The 24 HP was designed by a top-class automobile engineer - Giuseppe Merosi - who specialised in racing engines.
Powered by a 4.1-liter engine, the 24 HP could deliver 42 horsepower with a maximum speed of 100kmph (62mph). Though the speed seems to be very average in today's time, a car reaching top speed of 100kmph in the early 1900s was a huge deal.
When the 24 HP was in works, Antonio Santoni and Nino Franchini – two ALFA technicians used its engine to power a biplane made of bicycle tubes. On September 17, 1910, Nino Franchini flew the plane for the first time. Though the aircraft was not developed for commercial purpose, its flight strengthened the roots of the first engine developed by ALFA.
While the vehicle experiments went on, the company kept growing. In five years, it launched series of 24 HP, 15 HP, and 40/60 HP cars and its workforce expanded to 2,500 employees. With the WWI going on during 1915, ALFA shifted to manufacturing engine compressors, ammunition, and aircraft engines.
Later in the year, the economic crisis that followed the war led banks to entrust ALFA's debts to Nicola Romeo. The company's name was then changed to "Alfa Romeo" after Romeo – a successful engineer and entrepreneur took over ALFA.
After the WWI, Merosi developed the Alfa Romeo RL which was its first sports model to have been manufactured. The RL came in four variants - Normale, Turismo, Sport, and Super Sport. It turned out to be a great international success when one unit made its way into an Indian Maharaja's garage and another was added to the collection of a Japanese emperor's brother.
The RL's success and Romeo's drive for racing engines led the company to building a racing version of RL – Corsa, which was renamed as Targa Florio. With its inception, Alfa Romeo's first factory racing team was formed which consisted of Ugo Sivocci, Giuseppe Campari, Antonio Ascari, and the motor racing and manufacturing legend - Enzo Ferrari.
From then onwards, Alfa Romeo cars kept evolving and marking its spot through major racing events across the world. In 1950, Guiseppe "Nino" Farina – the first official Formula 1 world champion, swooped 11 victories with the Alfa Romeo 158 – known as "Alfetta" at the first Formula 1 World Championship. Following through, in 1951, Juan Manuel Fangio, also known as "El Maestro", won the title behind the Alfetta 159; a 425-hp race car with a top speed of 306 kph (190 mph).
From then on, El Maestro dominated the first 10 years of the Formula 1 racing championship. Till now, the company is admired by enthusiasts for its premium quality four wheelers which neither compromise performance nor luxury.
This year, in honour of the 110th anniversary, Alfa Romeo Style Center created the new "110 Alfa Romeo" logo. To celebrate the event, the company had initially planned to host clubs and fans at its official museum - Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, however, as the situation was uncalled for, Alfa Romeo came up with an e-book that takes the readers through time and portrays its century-old legacy.
Along with the e-book and the new logo, Alfa Romeo will also be hosting a live event today at 7:30 pm. The event will be broadcasted live by Sky Sport F1 channel across all their online platforms.
While Alfa Romeo celebrates another decade as it set forth towards a new centennial, it will soon step into Bangladesh and will be brought by Toledo Motors Limited – a subsidiary of Anwar Group.