Company Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq in 1906 by the French firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. One of them, Cavaliere Ugo Stella, an aristocrat from Milan, became president of SAID in 1909. The firm started in Naples, but before construction of the planned factory had started, Darracq decided at the end of 1906 that Milan was a more suitable place.
At the end of 1909 ALFA (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) was founded. The first car produced by the company was the 24 HP in 1910. It was designed by Giuseppe Merosi. He was hired in 1909 to create designs more suitable for the Italian market. Merosi would design a series of new cars with more powerful engines (40-60 hp).
At the beginning of WW I, the production of cars at ALFA stopped for three years. In August 1915 the company was led by De Nicola. He used the factory to produce military hardware such as ammunition, aircraft engines and engines. When the war ended, de Nicola invested his war profits in acquiring locomotives owned by Alfa Romeo. were added. Car production was resumed only in 1919.
The first success for Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo's first success came in 1920 when Guiseppe Campari won a race at Mugello. In 1923, the car manufacturer Vittorio Jano bought from Fiat. The young driver Enzo Ferrari was responsible for that. Jano replaced Nicola as a designer at Alfa Romeo. Jano's designs proved reliable and powerful. And Enzo Ferrari turned out to be a much better team manager than driver. Ferrari later became famous with another important Italian car brand.
Nicola let Alfa Romeo go bankrupt in 1928, after the military contracts were terminated. In 1932 the car company was taken over by the government. During this period, Alfa Romeo built custom vehicles for the government. During the Second World War, the Alfa factory was bombed and the company struggled to get back on the market after the war.
The company focused more on production cars from 1954 and left Formula 1. The first success in this sector was the Giulia, of which more than a million copies were built in various versions from 1960. The 70s were difficult for Alfa Romeo due to the crisis and failing management. In the 80s, the company was sold to the FIAT group. That time spawned a number of successful models for Alfa.
Even today, Alfa Romeo is still a well-known car brand. The company produces sports consumer cars such as the Giulietta and the Alfa 159. The company celebrated its 2010th anniversary in 100.