HomeCar NewsCelebrating 110 years of an Italian automotive icon

Celebrating 110 years of an Italian automotive icon

It’s a Narrative that starts in Milan, Italy, on 24 June 1910. On that day, a group of Italian sailors started Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (A.L.F.A.) and began building cars. Today, of course, we know that carmaker as Alfa Romeo, a brand that has given us a number of the very beautiful and evocative cars ever made. And who better to carry us through some of these iconic automotive minutes, than the curator of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo compared to Lorenzo Ardizio, the curator of this Alfa Romeo museum.

“I personally own four Alfas,” admits Ardizio,”because clearly, should you opt to work in that kind of museum, the understanding is not going to happen. It is crucial to be an Alfisti.

“I personally drive a Giulia G.T., I drive a Duetto. Additionally, a G.T.V., and a Giulia daily. I think that this is important since Alfa Romeo isn’t only something to check in a museum; it is something to drive. It is an entire experience. Probably it is one reason why the brand has so many fans, so many clubs, so much passion around.”

That fire is accurate enough. Speak to some Alfa Romeo owner and it immediately becomes apparent they love their automobiles in ways owners of a number of brands don’t. There is something about Alfa Romeo that arouses enthusiasm for the cars’ art, passion, fire for the purity of driving. Ardizio agrees.

 

“I think that one of the significant parts of the brand is its capacity to be more inclusive,” says Ardizio. “It’s high quality, not exclusive because everyone is welcome in Alfa Romeo. An Alfa Romeo differs from any other vehicle, everybody can understand.

“It’s difficult to explain: it is a matter of design, of operation, of driving enjoyment, and also because every Alfa isn’t hard to recognize. You instantly understand when you drive an Alfa Romeo, you feel that [this] is an art. Everything is really passionate, and I think this passion [is a] component [of] Alfa Romeo.”

Curating a selection of 270 versions is no simple task, and as Ardizio explains, his job, and the duty of the museum is so much more than maintaining the priceless collection roadworthy and an on display. A museum’s occupation, he says, is to document the people, the history, the cars, and yes.

 

“Clearly a museum is a place where you can talk about the excellent moment of this new, about the crazy things, about the mythical versions, about the folks,” he states. “But a museum is not simply a physical place, it’s not only a building and is not only the collection within the building. The museum has to be a collection of narrative and landmarks.”Then we have something behind the scenes since, under those red covers within our storerooms, they’re not only cars, not just prototypes, but also tales, [of items that] that never occurred. Secrets, prototypes, [the] fantasies of the designers…”It is every car fans’ dream to be let loose into a priceless collection of art. It’s a reality.”It’s part of my job to look after the collection and sometimes I am so blessed that… that I have to drive them,” he says with a grin. Not all the cars in the collection are fully operational, however, and for many different reasons Ardizio clarifies.”There are various levels,” he states. “We have some cars that are usually working… Then we have some cars that we decide to maintain static.

I give you an example: the Alfa Romeo Carabo, the first theory car that is wedge-shaped. That vehicle is complete. Every part is working. But likely the vibrations can harm the bodywork’s model and paint part. Hence that the vehicle is complete, but we opt to maintain it static.”And then we have various other cars that are not complete, as they’re coming out of our R’n’D section or so are examples of technical development. Each museum has its Mona Lisa if you’re going to, its centerpiece.

Ask the answer is a little surprising and Ardizio what the Mona Lisa of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo is.”It is not merely one, but we’ve got some cars that are significant because of their role in the history and since they are exceptional and the only car that is in the memorial,” he states. Then the P2, that won the world championship in 1925 since it was a distinctive car, a one-off, with incredible conditions and incredible history.

Then the Alfettas [Formula 1] world champion and’51. Then we have another degree, with significant cars, but not exceptional. I think that the notion of being the only automobile is a significant part of picking the Mona Lisa.”Push him choosing his favorite car Alfa Romeos, sometimes unique, and from the group of over 270 significant, it’s like we’d asked Ardizio to name his favorite child.”No, I believe that every vehicle is essential for our group,” he says emphatically. “I really don’t wish to choose one.”For what it is worth, this author’s favorite remains the Tipo 33 Stradale, not just the Alfa Romeo but arguably, one of the most beautiful cars ever made. By anyone.

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SUBHAN MATANIA
SUBHAN MATANIA
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