The legend started off in 1910, when Cavalier Ugo Stella acquired the shares of a prominent Italian plant of a French carmaker, Società Italiana Automobili Darraq. The first plant was in the outskirts of Milan, and the company was called Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company).
Think of Alfa Romeo and your mind will immediately be flushed with superlatives. Since its inception, the company has delivered vehicles that bring the thrill of sports car ownership to the masses. A few years after being started, Enzo Ferrari got onboard with Alfa Romeo along with other sports car enthusiasts like Karl Alberto Abarth.
Here are some of the highlights from the history of some of the most prestigious sports cars in the industry’s history:
Alfa Romeo was founded and within a year the company’s first car, 24 HP was turning heads at events like the Targa Florio endurance race. By the 20’s Alfa Romeo’s cars dominated the European motorsport markets.
Enzo Ferrari also joined the team in 1929, and incorporated his department called ‘Scuderia Ferrari’. During the early years in Ferrari’s history, the company used to sponsor race car drivers who were driving Alfa Romeo cars. Enzo Ferrari was finally a part of Alfa Romeo.
In the thirties, Alfa Romeo established itself as the maker of exotic automobiles. Take the example of the 8C 2300 which was widely recognized as one of the best touring cars worldwide. It also notched up significant positions in contests like Le Mans 24-Hour. However, all of it came to a sudden halt when an aerial bomb raid destroyed the factory and stopped production for the time being.
In 1940, Enzo Ferraro also manufactured his first ever racing car, the Tipo 815. The car made its debut at the Millie Miglia race. However, due to the political unrest, there was no competition and in 1943, Enzo moved his factory to Maranello which was bombed an year later and rebuilt.
Once WW2 was over, production immediately resumed at the company’s plant. This was the era of continuous innovation and sporting success in addition to the new focus on visually breathtaking cars. Therefore, in 1954, Giulietta was born. A beauty available in convertible and coupe models which genuinely stole the hearts of Italians.
Around 1949, Abarth also founded his company Abarth & C with the help of Armando Scagliarini. Abarth used his astrological sign (Scorpio) as the company logo. The company produced its first racing car and was immediately acclaimed for its high performance exhaust pipes. The car set various speed records at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Meanwhile, Ferrari was busy designing his first road car, the 125 Sport. Powered with a 1.5L V12 engine, the car was extraordinarily fast and beautiful for its time.
By 1961, more than 100,000 Giuliettas had been released and the company was enjoying worldwide success. The launch of the exotic looking Giulia saloon expanded the company’s customer base, and by the mid of 60’s there were Alfa Romeo lovers spread across the globe.
Meanwhile Carlo Abarth began his association with Fiat in 1952, building the 1500 Biposto upon Fiat mechanicals. The car gained much appreciation and was one of the few vehicles to compete with Porsche and Ferrari, 850cc to 2000c class. By 1969, Abarth with its partnership with Fiat had many new cars to its name like the Scorpione and 3000 Group Racing 6 car.
The year 1952 was also in the favor of Ferrari as the company secured its first ever world title with the efforts of driver Alberto Ascari. The famous 212 Inter was introduced that featured a 16MM chassis with various modifications aimed at producing a higher output. Ferrari also introduced another famous vehicle in the line, the California 365, which is still in production but of course, with different body cues.
In the beginning of the 70’s, Alfa Romeo changed the automotive industry by introducing Alfasaud. The front wheel drive hatchback with a sports car drive heralded the arrival of the modern Alfa Romeo. Everyday cars, which are anything but ordinary in performance. The line was extended through the second generation Giulietta which had the first ever turbo charged diesel engine.
By the 70’s Ferrari was facing strict competition with Porsche and Alfa Romeo. However, in 1973 the company retired to focus on F1 racing and succeeded exceptionally.
As the 20th century came in close, Alfa Romeo updated its collection with cars that delivered a cutting edge design. The 155, GTV, and other automobile marvels like the Spider arrived, inevitably reinvigorating the company’s reputation among super-car lovers.
Abarth introduced Punto, which was actually a third generation Tipo 199. The car belonged to the subcompact size-class and B market segment, available as a 3 door hatchback.
At the same time, Ferrari was nailing top places with its Formula 1 engineering marvels. However, the Fiat Group purchased 85% of the company’s shares. Enzo’s second son owns only 10%.
The company’s love affair with the Giulietta was reignited in 2010 in the shape of a beautiful 5-door hatchback that offered superior handling and the classic Alfa looks. A business edition of the car was also launched last year. The record breaking Alfa 4C Coupe was also launched in 2013 and was instantly able to prove its brilliant performance. A convertible version, the 4C Spider also followed giving drivers the freedom of open air driving.
Ferrari is currently owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Pierro Ferrari. The company has a yearly production output of over 7,318 units with each of its vehicles priced above $100,000. Ferrari California, FF458 Spider, 599 GTB Fiorano are some of the latest and most acclaimed cars from the manufacturer. Abarth on the other hand has not given up on surprising us with its compact sports vehicles. The 2015 of 695 Biposto speaks for itself; it is a city car that doesn’t shy away on the tracks.
The distinctive appearance along with eye catching styling, without skimping out on performance and utility are the benchmarks of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Abarth. Fans around the world are eager to see what’s coming next from the reputable manufacturers.