A small factory in Milan for the assembly of French taxi Darracq was founded In 1906. But the business did not prosper and soon the company was captured by the omnivorous Italian bankers who renamed it into an imposing name of «ALFA» (an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabrica Automobili). For the construction of a car the new owners invited the engineer Giuseppe Merosi, and in 1910 he presented his first "Alpha" - a modest 24 HP, named in honor of his 4-cylinder engine of 24 "horses".
For five years the company was modestly growing, but the First World War changed it all. Demand for cars has considerably fallen down and the plant stood still. At this fateful moment a real Romeo came on stage. Unlike the Shakespearean romanticist the moneymaker from Naples -- Nicola Romeo had a reputation of a deft fellow - choicest military orders showered «ALFA» under his command.
Becoming the owner of an Italian company, Romeo renamed it after himself. They say that the Neapolitan was not especially passionate about cars but just did business. First ALFA tried to occupy a niche of expensive executive class cars, but encountered strong competition and turned to sports models. Soon a team of strong riders, among whom there was the future celebrity - Enzo Ferrari formed around the company.
In the 20s everyone needed speed and power, so the company got into the right flow. A significant role in the fate of the brand was played by Mussolini. His ideology of pursuit of victory and power has created a fashion for sophisticated cars and spurred the construction of modern highways. When Alfa Romeo was caught up with the global crisis, the brand, in fact, was saved by the ambitions of the Nazis. In 1934, the government has included the company in the State Concern «IRI» (Institute for Industrial Reconstruction) which turned the workshop into a modern industrial complex and gave a start to the sponsorship of the racing cars trend.
By the early 30s the cars designed by the new chief car designer - Vittorio Jano, such as - 6S1750 six-cylinder, eight-8C2300 and 8C2900B - became queens of racing. The pursuit of engine power growth gave rise to these monsters. Thus, the race cars were equipped with two engines of Tipo A.
The legendary racer Tazio Nuvolari from «Scuderia Ferrari» "made" Aryan Mercedes and Auto-Union driving the twin-engine "Alpha" during the race in the sacred to the Nazi Nuremberg competition in 1935. It was spectacular, but swift-passing victory. If Alfa Romeo cars were coming first in all races - «Mille Miglia», «Le-Mans» and «Targa Florio» in 1931-1934, then, in the second half of the 30's the new "Germans" who combined reliability and power finally ousted Alfa Romeo cars from almost all sports heights.
Defeats infuriated Mussolini and this affected and shook the company which has be en firmly built into the state structure. Vittorio Jano and Enzo Ferrari left "Alpha" in the late 30's.
Yet it was in the 30th when the road versions of "Alfas" confirmed the very combination of grace and agility, which for many years had to become the guiding star of the Alfa-Romeo: the high power of engine and the feminine shape lines, austerity and luxury, ease and grace.
Exactly this is the image of Alfa-Romeo 6S2500 that will be remembered.
In the time of war the Milan plant honestly supplied the Nazis with aircraft engines, trucks and SUVs, while its main designers continued working on the civilian models. Although in 1944 the Anglo-Americans bombed the plant in tatters, state support of the 30's allowed it to save strength for the post-war spurt. Already in 1945, Alfa-Romeo tried to come back to life. Piecework models based on the pre-war Alfa 6S2500 - Super Sport, Freccia d `Oro Villa d'Este with bodies designed by best design engineering bureaus had a huge success everywhere.
True success came after the entrance of Alfa into the mass passenger car market. The factory rebuilt and revived with the American loans created and put out the sedan Alfa 1900 in 1950, which combined availability and high speed racer characteristics. Giulietta with 4-cylinder engine of 1.3 liters appeared in 1954. Namely this model made Alfa-Romeo a symbol of sweet life of new Italy with its endless festivals, love comedies and car racing along mountain serpentine roads and narrow streets of old cities.
It is remarkable that Alfa Romeo remained the company within the system of the State Concern of IRI in the post war years. The fact that the company managed to maintain its selfdom, competitiveness and daring is a paradoxical phenomenon. It has been the same kind paradox as the very post-war Italy itself. The country which despite half a century of total corruption, leapfrog governments and mayhem of the left and the right political groups still managed to make a fantastic spurt forward just like a true racing sports car.
Since 1986, the brand Alfa-Romeo is part of the largest Italian FIAT Group and continues to produce stylish and sports cars.