Alfa Romeo – an Anniversary


Alfa Romeo

If you’re even vaguely interested in car culture, you must have realised by now that Alfa Romeo has recently celebrated its Centenary. There’s already been an acreage of coverage of stuff about the great marque, whose fortunes of late have been rising again thanks to the successes of the broader FIAT group. But we thought we should add our pennethworth anyway.

For us, Alfa’s success and enduring appeal to lovers of cool motors comes from an essential integrity of purpose. When you look at the broad sweep of Alfa Romeo’s history, there’s an incredible through-line of design values. There’s something distinct about the tenets in-bred into every car they have ever produced. There’s no mistaking a true Alfa: and we can think of very few cars they have produced that didn’t warrant its badge.

It’s a bit of a cliché to bang on about them – you know, how you’re not really a petrol head unless you’ve owned one etc. But when you look at the cars and how they have been presented, you can’t help but agree that that essential Alfa-ness is a true yardstick of passionate motoring.

Even the relatively plug-ugly Alfasud had something about it that screamed a sort of tin pot Italian aristocracy about it. Numerous Influx readers pointed out to us that it’s a brilliantly handling small car. We’re even feeling the beauty of later cars, like the weirdly rakish 166, which you can pick up for a song these days. This almost waftish four door defied the push to practicality and design convergence that has plagued so many mid-range models.

The latest manifestation of the 8C is of course, painfully beautiful to behold, and we’ve always fetishised the stripped-down badness of the 105 series cars, particularly the Guilia GTAs.

But get an Alfa Saloon in race mode, and it’s appeal increases still. To us a tinge of moody phatness turns them into the automotive equivalent of the fragrant Latin lothario – with a deviant glint in his eye and a scar on his cheek. The 33 Stradale is in our opinion a contender for the most beautiful car ever produced – and as for the current Guilietta what can we say. We want one.

Many happy returns Alfa Romeo. Keep on doing what you do.