Alfa Romeo History
Founded in 1910, Ugo Stella bought a floundering French car factory in 1909 and rebranded as “Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili” or A.L.F.A. Translated in Italian as “Lombard Automobile Factory Company”, it started a new beginning for this Italian automaker situated in Milan, which is in Northern Lombardy region of Italy.
From there, the company immediately built vehicles with the intent to conquer speed. More powerful engines were introduced in the early 1900’s, producing 40 – 60 hp and A.L.F.A. ventured naturally into motor racing. That venture went to a halt thanks to World War I, which caused the company to focus on manufacturing different products and planting the seeds of the other half of the brand that we all know today.
This takeover also gave birth to one of the most bizarre logos in the automotive world. Created in 1910, after the official rebranding of the company, the A.L.F.A crest debuts and everyone remembers the right-half of the crest, where a snake is eating a man. The meaning is actually quite interesting as given by Automobilismo Storico Alfa Romeo.
On the left: the red cross on white field is the symbol of Milan, the hometown of Alfa Romeo.
On the right: the symbol of one of the most important families in the history of Milan (and Italy), the Visconti family – the family that ruled Milan.
There are a lot of legends about the origins of this heraldic symbol, representing a mythological animal with a human in his mouth (some believe it to be a dragon, but most likely a snake). During the time of the crusades, Otone Visconti, the founder of Visconti Family and a knight, fought against a noble Saracen knight (nomad from the Syrian Desert that bordered the Roman Empire). Otone beat the Saracen knight and, following the tradition, took the symbols the Saracen carried on his shield: a snake with a human in his mouth. At first glance, it looks like the snake is eating the human. Instead, the human is coming out of the snake a “new man,” purified and renewed.
The meaning: The snake is a circular animal (a snake can assume a circular position) and is an animal of the changing – able to change his skin regularly and totally renew or rebirth himself. The meaning is definitely describing Alfa Romeo to a tee.
In 1915, A.L.F.A. is being managed by Nicola Romeo, which focused on helping the Italian war efforts in World War I. The car engines being developed were now refocused for compressors, generators, plane engines, and any propelling device that was required for war efforts. This initiative made a big impact to the company as A.L.F.A. grew beyond manufacturing, adding locomotive and railway manufacturing to the portfolio.
Continue reading the Complete History Of Alfa Romeo