Yesterday I posted in a discussion about the possible upcoming Alfa Romeo sedan, and was both rudely and politely told I had no idea what I was talking about. Today I eat my hat, and share some with you.
My complaint on yesterday’s article about a possible Alfa Romeo sedan design was essentially a complaint about the Corporate Face™ design trend of car companies - like how modern Fords look like Aston Martins in a weird-but-good sort of way, or maybe how Chevrolets all seem to have three different radiator grills and sometimes look like a person who tied the bow-tie lower on their body than they should have for some reason.
Then the comments came.
From rude to polite to actually helpful to thanks, obvious:
- “You literally know nothing about how car design works...just stop talking” - Seven stars for this guy.
- “No offense, but I do feel like you lack an understanding of Alfa Romeo’s history and the people who actually buy Alfa’s.” - Fifteen stars, at least five of which were probably just for being nice-guy meme.
- “’Don’t mess with he grill’ is a rule at Alfa :-)“ Thirteen stars, a smiley goes a long way.
- “They’ve had the same fog lights setup as the original gullietta... its literally no diffrent than the BMW kidney grils except I think alfa has been around longer.” One star (me).
- “BMW, Mercedes, Audi all do it as well” You get no stars.
Okay I get it. I know nothing of Alfa Romeo’s design pedigree. Well.. until now. Below is a collection of fun facts, followed by videos for all you addicts’ little fact-finding withdraws.
- Alfa Romeo cars have always been appealing because they win races. Or for having won famous races. Now they sometimes sell Chryslers.
- Enzo Ferrari started out racing for Alfa Romeo, but like, everybody knows that..
- The Alfisti or an Alfista is not a porn category (yet), but rather a name for Alfa Romeo fanatics
- The modern concept of Alfa’s cars began in 1950 with the 1900 - practical everyday cars with exceptional driving characteristics and design, or “the family car that won races”
- The number-named cars, like the 33 or 159 do not necessarily share a naming scheme, but rather the numbers are relative to different details of different vehicles. General rule of thumb could be 14x = smaller 15x = middler 16x = larger but does not always apply
- You could literally write one-to-three books on the design and meaning of the Alfa Romeo logo, depending on how bored you, your editor, and your publisher happen to be
- The current fascia seen on the modern line-up of cars, including the 4C (a point-down triangle with perpendicular mustache-like fog-light housings) was first apparent on the 6C in 1939 and made more prevalent on 50’s models like the Berlina & Super Sprint.
- After World War II, the company got back in the came and won 3 of 4 races in 1947 with the 158 model - a car designed in 1938.
- In 1948, the company came first in both the Mille Miglia and Italian Grand Prix in Milan
- The first Alfa Romeo model with a name was the Guilietta in 1954
- The company introduced it’s first 3-box saloon in ‘62, the Guilia, famous for its stubby-ness, and the first from Alfa with a 5-speed
- The 60’s marked the decade of mass production for Alfa, with it’s first major assembly plant eventually pumping out over a million Guilia units
- The best guide for a history of Alfa Romeo is a timeline. If you would like to read more, and if you like interactive timelines, here is a really good interactive timeline with a lot of Alfa facts. It has pictures, which is important.
- If you are a robot and actually enjoy reading a full Wikipedia page, the Alfa Romeo page is pretty 01101100 01100101 01100111 01101001 01110100
Videos are a great way of studying design. Let’s watch all these videos. Short to long.
A great place to start is The Alfa Romeo Soul by Petrolicious. Here’s the playlist.
A great 4C review by XCAR, with some history of the brand:
Harry Metcalfe, back when he was Evo, does his endearing fact-dump on Alfa while taking part in the 2012 Mille Miglia:
The cheerful Italian type of video:
Finally, the classic classroom documentary type:
After today’s lesson we all should be a little more comfortable with our Alfa Romeo knowledge, so when we finally start to see cars with sexy names we can’t pronounce, we can drone on for twenty minutes explaining why the car with a quadrifoglio is Italian and not Irish to our friends who really regret asking you about cars, because you always do this.
Takeaway of the day:
Know everything about the subject before commenting on JalopnikAlfa Romero has been one of the biggest culprits of Corporate Face™ for decades now, and maybe that is okay.
Help me out here.
Do you have any good Alfa Romeo facts or stories?