Alfa Romeo Museum: Where history and future meet

Lifestyle Saturday 27/July/2019 19:12 PM
By: Times News Service
Alfa Romeo Museum: Where history and future meet

'La Macchina del tempo — Museo Storico Alfa Romeo’ is the heart of a genuine “brand centre”, with a bookshop, café, documentation centre, test drive track, events venues and a showroom with a customer delivery area: it is the perfect bond between past, present and future. In Arese, next to Milan city centre and the Expo area.
A journey through the legend is what “La macchina del tempo- Museo Storico Alfa Romeo” offers. Reopened before a major restoration project affecting the entire complex, the museum is home to the most significant pieces in Alfa Romeo's historic collection and it is the heart of a genuine “brand centre”, with a bookshop, café, documentation centre, test drive track, events venues and a show-room with a customer delivery area: it is the perfect bond between past, present and future.
It was inaugurated in 1976 and was open to visitors by reservation only. Following the decommissioning of the Arese production plant and the ensuing loss of the Centre's directional role, the museum was closed in 2011. As part of Alfa Romeo's global relaunch plan, the Museum in Arese — symbolic location for the company's history – has been identified as the fulcrum of the brand's rebirth: not by chance it was reopened to the public on June 24th, 2015 during the world preview of the new Giulia.
The building is characterized by a red cantilever roof covering the entire extension of the facility and tracing the itinerary from the parking lot to the Museum: a red ribbon leading all the way up to the beginning of the museum itinerary, which opens with the new shape of the escalator.
This last architectural addition, which can clearly be seen from the motorway owing to its bright “Alfa red” hue, is the symbol of the Museum's rebirth: a modern feature, set within a 1970s architectural context, which provides the necessary link between past
and present.
The museum's layout emphasises the identifying features that belong to the Alfa Romeo DNA; depicted through a charming luminous installation that stretches across the building vertically: lights, words and signs of style that come to life in a display with a descending helical motion, symbolising stylistic continuity and technological consistency in time. The display exhibits 69 models which most marked not just the development of the brand, but the very history of the automobile itself. From the very first A.L.F.A. car, the 24 HP, to the legendary Mille Miglia winners such as the 6C 1750 Gran Sport driven by Tazio Nuvolari, the 8C coachbuilt by Touring and the Gran Premio 159 “Alfetta 159” world Formula 1 winner driven by Juan Manuel Fangio; from the Giulietta, iconic 1950s car, to the Championship 33 TT 12.
The very essence of the brand has been condensed into three principles: Timeline, which represents industrial continuity; Bellezza (beauty), which teams style with design; Velocità (speed), summing up technology and light weight. To each principle is devoted a floor of the museum.
Timeline occupies the entire first floor, with a selection of 19 cars which best represent the development of the brand, each accompanied by a multimedia information panel. The exhibit is completed by an "interactive memory", a smart-tech station where visitors can access an interactive system for more details about the history of each model. The installation entitled “Quelli dell’Alfa Romeo” narrates how a legend was formed in over 100 years thanks to the work of thousands of men who contributed to the company's growth: from the workers to the mechanics, testers and designers, engineers and white collar workers.
The second part of the exhibit , on the ground floor, is called Bellezza and features several themed areas. The layout has been designed with dynamic and smooth lines that recall the style of the major Italian coachbuilders: from the “I maestri dello stile” (Masters of style), which combines 9 major design examples from each era, to “La scuola italiana” (The Italian School), displaying cars built by the Touring bodyshop under the Superleggera brand in the 1930s and 40s. In the centre lies “Alfa Romeo nel cinema” (Alfa Romeo in the movies). This is followed by “Il Fenomeno Giulietta” (The Giulietta Phenomenon) and “Giulia: disegnata dal vento” (Giulia: designed by the wind), with models that accompany the growth of the economy and of Italian taste in the 1950s and 60s.
The third part is dedicated to speed and it stretches across the entire sub-ground floor. This is the most exciting area, where Alfa Romeo enthusiasts can meet the stars of Alfa Romeo's major victories: from “Nasce la leggenda” (A Legend is Born), a spectacular multi-media space which groups together the stars of the epic competitions between the two world wars, through to the début in F1 racing, “Progetto 33” and “Le corse nel DNA” (Racing in Alfa Romeo’s DNA). Visitors then enter the “Tempio delle vittorie” (Temple of Victories), another space where a show of pictures, sounds and film footage presents the 10 biggest triumphs in the history of Alfa Romeo.
The journey through the legend ends with a playful and spectacular finale: the “bolle emozionali” (emotional bubbles) dedicated to the experience of the Alfa Romeo world, with 360° virtual reality film footage, and a full-immersion room where visitors sit in interactive armchairs and watch 4D films dedicated to the legendary successes of Alfa Romeo.

Quadrifoglio: A symbol of the Italian racing spirit since 1923
Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio
The good luck badge first appeared on Ugo Sivocci’s ‘RL’, the first Alfa Romeo sport model after WWI, competing in the 1923 Targa Florio.
It has been the symbol of Alfa Romeo racing cars ever since, and has appeared on select production models since the 70’s.
Today, on Giulia and Stelvio, the Quadrifoglio “certifies” their sports mission and exclusive technology.
Conceived as a good-luck charm in the heroic period of motorsports, the Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) — written with a capital ‘Q’ —has distinguished the sports and industrial history of Alfa Romeo, and has become the logo for race cars and for the more powerful and exclusive road vehicles.
Alfa, which was born on June 24th, 1910 and become Alfa Romeo in 1918, gained acknowledgement among car manufacturers for the quality and performance of its vehicles. And in the races, the first victories and significant positions gained in the pre-war period were soon followed by excellent results that came immediately after the big historical watershed of the First World War. However, the first big international victory was still to come in order for the brand to become the legend it is today. After the ‘racing’ versions of the 24 HP, the 12-15 HP, the powerful 40-60 HP and the 20-30 ES, not even the futuristic Grand Prix 1914 had been able to succeed in this endeavour.
The true turn of events came in 1923 - with the XIV edition of the Targa Florio, Alfa Romeo decided not to leave anything to chance. They prepared a specific “Corsa” (racing) version of the new RL, Giuseppe Merosi’s masterpiece. The “three-litre” was made lighter, shorter, and boosted in power, the logistic aspects were taken care of and the best drivers of the time summoned: Antonio Ascari, Giuseppe Campari, Giulio Masetti, Enzo Ferrari and Ugo Sivocci. The latter two were behind the wheel of a more aggressive version of the car, whose displacement had been boosted to 3154 cc and 95hp.
No matter how intense the effort, how valid the project, how perfect in every detail, how big the sacrifice, in the world of races you also need a bit of luck. With this in mind, added to an ill-concealed superstition, the company decided to paint a lucky charm on the bonnets of its cars: a green four-leaf clover. Victory went to Ugo Sivocci, who was immediately followed by his team mate Ascari (the former displayed the green four-leaf clover on a white diamond-shaped background, the latter on a triangular background), while Masetti’s RL came in fourth. It was a great victory, one that ultimately launched the brand into the Olympus of manufacturers, transforming the Quadrifoglio into an actual logo that distinguished all Alfa Romeo racing vehicles.
The good-luck emblem continued to appear on racing cars - starting from the Alfa Romeo P2 that triumphed in the first Motor Racing World Championship in Monza in 1925, gaining the first of Alfa Romeo’s five World Titles. In the late Twenties, the Quadrifoglio badge was also used to distinguish Alfa Romeo cars on the racetrack from those of the Scuderia Ferrari, which used a prancing horse as their emblem.
In 1950 and 1951, Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio drove the Alfa Romeo 158 and 159 cars, the famous Alfettas, to win the first two Formula 1 World Championships. Then, in the Sixties, the Quadrifoglio appeared on the ready-to-race version of the Giulia - the TI Super, before teaming up with the blue triangle of the Autodelta for several decades: from the GTA to the 33, through to the two World Championships won by the 33 TT 12 (1975) and the 33 SC 12 (1977).
Alfa Romeo’s racing career continued in the Eighties, when, after it returned to F1 in 1980, it scored repeated successes in touring car races (GTV 6 2.5), up to the triumph in the DTM with the 155 V6 Ti in 1993 and the long series of victories of the 156 Superturismo (1998-2004).
The Quadrifoglio emblem was placed on high-performing models built from the ‘60s to the ‘80s. Some had the symbol on their bodywork even though it did not appear in their names - such as the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce or the 1750 GT Veloce - while others, from the Eighties onward, included Quadrifoglio in their official names, such as the various versions of the 33 Quadrifoglio Verde or the 164 Quadrifoglio Verde.
Today, the standard-bearers in the new Alfa Romeo generation are the Giulia and Stelvio models, both of which bear the legendary Quadrifoglio badge, which certifies their qualities in terms of class-topping performance, handling and weight/power ratio, specific external and internal features, exclusive powerplants and a genuine Alfa Romeo sound. The Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio, with their all-aluminium 2.9-litre V6 bi-turbo petrol engines deliver 510 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque and are fitted with an 8 speed automatic transmission.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio guarantees thrilling performance: a top speed of 307 km/h and 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 3.9 seconds. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio reaches a top speed of 283 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and it has recently set a new lap record for its class on the iconic Nürburgring: 7 minutes 51.7 seconds. On both vehicles, the interior has been tailored like an exquisite bespoke suit, with craftsmanship and premium materials - carbon fibre, leather and Alcantara. Alfa Romeo has used Alcantara in its interiors since the 1990’s with the Alfa Romeo 145, characterized by style, craftsmanship and high tech performance.
The first Quadrifoglio emblems were painted directly onto cars. Later, when the Quadrifoglio became a feature of production vehicles it was changed into a badge. The Quadrifoglio badge is designed and individually handcrafted in Italy, elevating the emblem itself almost to a work of art. To find out more about this iconic emblem, please watch the video Alfa Romeo - The Quadrifoglio:
Having the Quadrifoglio on the sides of our cars today symbolises the continuity between our past, our present and our future. The Quadrifoglio legend continues.