Alfa Romeo: A living legend
The future belongs to those who have a great history. Alfa Romeo of Saskatoon is proud to bring a history to the prairies so incredible, parts of it have become legend.
Alfa Romeo is a brand that is an element of an Italian mechanical deity, dedicated to constructing automobiles at magnificent standards for devoted drivers.
The draw of Alfa Romeo automobiles goes beyond their innate quality. They represent a history of unrestrained ambition only matched by their indomitable spirit.
The legend begins
In 1906 a company called Società Italiana Automobili Darracq (SAID) founded an automobile manufacturing company in Milan, Italy. SAID had great ambitions but poor timing as the company immediately began to struggle. Fortuitously, Ugo Stella, the managing director of the company, took control and relaunched the plant in 1910 as Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, or ALFA.
At the onset of the First World War, a successful electrical engineer named Nicola Romeo purchased ALFA and switched the factory to war time production. Riding the success of the war time years, investors decided to take the company public with a new name and Alfa Romeo was officially registered on February 3, 1918.
With a company that is over 100 years old, Alfa Romeo has outlived empires, weathered two World Wars and countless economic downturns. Believing in the Alfa Romeo spirit has kept the company alive even as it has changed hands over the years.
In 1929, Nicola Romeo left the company after making several poor investments and soon World War II was threatening to leave Alfa Romeo in disarray. The company was nationalized by the Italian government under Benito Mussolini, who used Alfa Romeo’s vehicles as a symbol for Italian pride.
At the conclusion of World War II, Alfa Romeo was again facing a difficult situation. The Italian economy was in shambles and the state was in turmoil. Ugo Gabbato, the director of Alfa Romeo at the time, was shot and killed by an unknown gunman as he cycled to work, while most of the car factories had been destroyed by the war.
The new chairman, Orazio Satta Puliga, knew to get the company back on track they had to do what they do best: highlight the spirit of Alfa Romeo. With the introduction of the Freccia D’Oro and the Villa D’Este, the world fell in love with the uncompromising Italian style, sophistication and class and Alfa Romeo has never looked back.
Badge of honour
A ‘logo’ does not do justice to the deep Italian heritage, and the rich history of Alfa Romeo. A brand like Alfa Romeo requires a heraldic visual design that signifies achievement and commands respect. This is why Alfa Romeo can be recognized by the intricate coat of arms located on top of the characteristic trilobe grill.
The design of the Alfa Romeo coat of arms has remained consistent since its first use in 1910, making it one of the most ancient and historic automotive emblems in the world. The red cross on a white background is a symbol of Milan and the dragon headed snake represents the ruling family of Milan at the time, the Visconti’s.
If you look closely, you can see the shape of a human in the snake’s mouth. The origin of this image is shrouded in legend and has roots in the time of the Crusades. Alfa Romeo’s official interpretation is: the human is actually coming out of the snake as a new man, purified and renewed.
Alfa Romeo counts automotive legends, Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford, as peers. Alfa Romeo gave Enzo Ferrari his start in racing, a fact that he fondly remembers in his memoir. “I lived with you for twenty years: How many deeds, events and men went by! Today I remember the, each and everyone. I still have, for Alfa, the tenderness of a first love. The pure affection of a child for his mother.”
Henry Ford, the fearless leader of modern automotive production was also vocal about his appreciation for the fine Italian brand. He is quoted saying he tips his hat when he would see an Alfa Romeo go by.
The luck of the Quadrifoglio
In 1923, Ugo Sivocci, a contemporary of Enzo Ferrari and a racing legend of his day, had become a perpetual second place finisher. To prepare for the highly anticipated Targa Florio race in Sicily, he painted a white square with a “Quadrifoglio”, a four-leaf clover, on his Alfa Romeo.
As luck would have it, he finished the race in first place. Shortly after this famous victory, Sivocci tragically crashed and lost his life while testing a new Alfa Romeo P1 race car. The car had not yet been painted with his lucky four-leaf clover and so, a legend was born, and a tradition was created. All future Alfa Romeo race cars would feature the four-leaf clover on a white triangle rather than a square, the missing corner symbolizing the loss of Sivocci.
In 2018, the Quadrifoglio is present on sportier trim levels of the company’s sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks. This is to commemorate the racing spirit of Ugo Sivocci and to remind the driver that to get on the good side of chance, you need a little bit of luck.
The legend continues
Throughout its long history, Alfa Romeo has remained a premium brand that is synonymous with luxury, performance and unapparelled style. To sit in an Alfa Romeo is to immerse yourself in the history of the majestic and feel the steadfast spirit of innovation.
Orazio Satta Puliga, chairman of the company during Alfa Romeo’s resurgence following World War II captures the extraordinary spirit of Alfa Romeo with this quote:
“Alfa Romeo is a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile. The real essence of Alfa defies description. It can be compared to those irrational movements of the spirit that sometimes occur in man, and for which there is no logical explanation. We are in the realm of sensations, passions, things that have more to do with the heart than with the head.”
Experience the extraordinary today at Alfa Romeo of Saskatoon.