1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / 1990s / 2000s / 2010s / Alfa Romeo / Italian

1910 – 2010: Alfa Romeo’s 100th birthday

For Alfisti all around the world the weekend of June 26th, 2010, was one to remember. In the United States the AROC National Convention drew crowds from all 50 states to the nation’s capital to celebrate the automaker’s 100th anniversary. Closer to Alfa’s home but on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean another celebration took place for the same reason, this time in Milan. This event not only celebrated the 100 years of Alfa but also served as a launching platform for the newest member of the Alfa Romeo lineup, the Giulietta.

If you’ve spent time around a pre-1972 Alfa Romeo you have noticed that the word “Milano” appears at the bottom of the logo. Alfa removed this when they opened another manufacturing plant in Naples and today Alfa no longer makes cars in Milan. This doesn’t stop their heritage from living on in that city, however. One of the biggest pieces of Alfa Romeo’s heritage is the Museo Storico, a large collection of production and prototype models ranging from Alfa’s early days to more recent cars like the 164.

To contradict the above the museum isn’t actually in Milan but in a town called Arese – the location of the old Alfa Romeo plant – about ten kilometers north on the Autostrada, where the speed limit seems to serve more as an approximate suggestion than a strictly-enforced law. The visit to the museum wasn’t a typical one: to promote the birthday celebrations Alfa exceptionally waived the entry fee and reserved part of their parking lot for visitors who drove up in their Alfas.

The outside of the museum doesn’t do much to incite one to enter; aside from a couple of signs after the freeway exit it’s not particularly well indicated. Thanks to the people who drove there in an Alfa, on this special day the dull parking lot became as much of a museum as the Museo Storico itself and Alfas of all kinds, from pre-war cars to modern ones, basked in the Milanese sun while visitors admired them.

The long wait to get into the museum proved well worth it and the photos will speak for themselves.

The Monte Carlo Quadrifuel spotted outside of the museum:

Monaco’s Monte Carlo Automobile brags that this Alfa V6-powered car runs on traditional gasoline, methane, bioethanol and liquid propane gas (LPG). That the car can also be powered by two Italians pushing it was not included in the press release.

Alfa A12:

Alfa S.Z., a mix of a 75/Milano 3.0 V6 drivetrain and an aesthetically debatable Zagato body:

Alfa Spiders:

Alfa 2600 Sprint:

Alfa GT 1300:

Giulia Sprint Speciale prototype:

Alfa tipo 103, a front-wheel drive prototype with an 896cc engine:

Alfa 2600 Berlina and a 2000 Sprint:

Alfa New York Taxi prototype by Italdesign, circa 1976:

Alfa Giulia Sprint:

Outside the museum anybody with a valid drive’s license could sign up to take the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta for a spin around Arese. The drive was not long enough to write a full report on it but the JTD model drives similar to a JTD-powered MiTo. Over twenty years after the Fiat takeover some purists will still gasp at the thought of an Alfa Romeo with an oil burner under the hood but the car was as lively as its gasoline-powered sibling. What’s more, an engine without spark plugs powered an Alfa long before Fiat took the brand over; let us not forget that the Giulia Nuova Super was available with a 1760cc diesel in 1976; the Alfetta could belch out thick black smoke with either a 1995cc or a 2393cc, both with a turbo added to Rudolf Diesel’s brainchild; and the flagship Alfa6 could be ordered with a turbodiesel as well, this time a 2494cc.

Another treat awaited visitors outside, the Alfa TZ3 Corsa:

Back in Milan Alfa displayed five new Giuliettas, each accompanied by a classic Alfa, in various spots of the city center. There, people passing could pretend they were in an Alfa dealership: brochures and salesmen were on hand and the Giulietta could be opened if one wished to sit in it.

The next day marked the beginning of the centennial celebrations. More than 2,600 Alfas gathered at the Fieramilano business park (which is actually in Roh, right next to Arese) for a huge car show reserved for Alfa owners or Alfa-less folks who paid the extravagant entry fee. There again most every kind of Alfa produced was on hand; some of the rarer ones included several GTAs, a Giulia T.Z., and three Giulia Super Colli wagons. Those who didn’t have something broken to mend spent the morning socializing with other Alfa owners while they waited for the buffet that opened at noon.

The show early in the day; note in the background of the photo that cars are still coming in:

Alfa 75 Evoluzione:

Alfa Disco Volante:

Michelotti-designed Alfa 2000:

Alfa 2600 SZ:

Alfa GTA:

Giulia Super Colli:

Alfa 6:

Alfa Matta:

Alfa 1900, Giulietta T.I., GTA, 155, 156 and 147:

Alfa Romeo 2:

Alfa 75 1.8:

Alfa Giulia GTC:

Alfa Giulia Super Colli:

After the show some of the cars parked around the Castello Sforzesco, an almost 600-year-old castle in the center of Milan, where the curious general public was invited to look at the cars. This display ended at approximately 10pm and the participants could either choose to go home after a long day or migrate to an participant-only (no cars involved) outdoors birthday party hosted by a local radio station.

Alfa Alfasud:

Alfa Montreal and 156 GTA:

Giulia Colli Wagon from Holland:

Alfa 75s:


One thought on “1910 – 2010: Alfa Romeo’s 100th birthday

  1. Pingback: Sunday classic: Alfa Romeo Alfasud ti Turbo Wainer | Ran When Parked

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