Alfa Romeo History: The Alfa Romeo company was originally known as ALFA, an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, or Lombardic Automobile Factory. Alfa Romeo was started in 1907 by Cavaliere Ugo Stella, an aristocrat from Milan, partnered with the French Alexandre Darracq. Initially they built Darracq cars in Naples but when the partnership failed Stella and other investors moved the factory near Milan. The first ALFA, designed by Giuseppe Merosi, was produced in 1910.
Vehicle production was halted during World War I and the factory was converted to build munitions and equipment to support the war effort under the direction of Nicola Romeo. After the war Romeo stayed at the helm and ALFA production started again in 1919. The company name was changed to Alfa Romeo in 1920 and the Torpedo 20-30 HP was the first vehicle sold under that name.
In 1923 Enzo Ferrari convinced Vittorio Jano to leave Fiat and become the chief designer at Alfa Romeo. His first car was the P2 Grand Prix car, which won the world championship in 1925. By 1928 Alfa had lost its defense contracts and Nicola Romeo left when the company ran out of money. In 1933 the government stepped in and operated the company through World War II. In 1986 Alfa Romeo was bought by FIAT to produce Alfas and Lancias.
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