The Genesis of a Legend: the 24HP
Officially established in Milan on June 24, 1910, A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili – Automobile Factory of Lombardy) had great ambitions from the outset: the first car produced at the Portello workshop was the 24 HP, developed by Giuseppe Merosi, a master engineer specialized in engines for competition. In every way, it defined the Alfa DNA that we recognize today: elegant, sporty, technologically advanced, and with its own unique personality. In 1911, two Corsa versions of the 24 HP – another brainchild of Merosi’s – competed in the Targa Florio. This was one of Alfa’s first foray into the world of racing.
During World War I, entrepreneur Nicola Romeo took over management of the company which, with the onset of the war, shifted to military production. In 1919, the company resumed car production and changed its name to Alfa Romeo, heralding the beginning of a new era.
The World of Races and Victories
Included on the brand’s trophy shelf are 10 victories from the Targa Florio, the first Grand Prix World Championship, 11 from the Mille Miglia (more than any other marque), 4 from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 2 Formula One World Championships, 2 Sports Cars World Championships and countless other podium appearances.
In the 1920s and ’30s, some of the greatest champions of all time won at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo: Campari, Sivocci, Ascari, Nuvolari, and another name that made its mark in the annals of automotive history: Enzo Ferrari, who joined Alfa in 1920.
In 1923, Enzo Ferrari persuaded Nicola Romeo to hire Vittorio Jano, a young engineer working for Fiat. Jano immediately put his remarkable technical mind to work for Alfa Romeo with his debut model, the GP Tipo P2, which marked a turning point for the company in competitive racing. Capable of 140 hp at 5500 rpm, its power was a mystery to opponents.
In 1924, Alfa Romeo dominated the French and European Grand Prix with Giuseppe Campari behind the wheel of a GP Tipo P2. This epic victory in front of 400,000 spectators catapulted Alfa Romeo into the headlines. In 1925, the P2 powered Alfa to victory at the inaugural World Championship.