ALFA ROMEO LOGO: Why People Love Alfa Romeos

alfa romeo logo
Image source: MotorTrend

The Alfa Romeo logo is sleek and fashionable. A closer examination reveals heraldically significant and old components. In other words, the present form contains significant historical content. We’ll discuss the history and evolution of the Alfa Romeo logo in this article, as well as its significance to the brand.

The legendary Italian vehicle marque was created under the name Alfa Milano, with ALFA standing for “Anónima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili” and Milano standing for the city in which it was born. After Nicola Romeo purchased the company in 1915, the second portion of the name was changed to Romeo.

Despite the brand’s name change at the start of its history, it has retained its original logo, developed in 1910, and its ornate and colorful insignia is one of the most recognizable vehicle symbols today.

According to legend, the designer Romano Cattaneo had the inspiration for the Alfa Romeo insignia while waiting for his tram.

Romano saw heraldic interpretations on the Filarete Tower of the Biscione Visconteo – the coat of arms for Milan and the Visconti dynasty that dominated the location in medieval times – as he stood in Piazza Catello.

The Biscione snake, also known as the Alfa Romeo snake, has remained with the company throughout the evolution of the Alfa Romeo mark. Biscione, which means “grass snake,” honors Alfa Romeo’s relationship with Milan.

According to legend, the snake consumed humans. Hence, the man is devoured in the Alfa Romeo symbol.

1910 – 1915

Romano Cattaneo made the first Alfa Romeo logo, which was a badge that had two heraldic symbols on it. The logo was a sharply drawn circle divided vertically into two halves — the left in white with a Red Cross on it, and the right with a green snake on a light blue backdrop.

The logo’s circular frame was dark blue, and the wording around its perimeter was light silver, with vignettes in the same color dividing two halves of the wordmark.

1912

The Red Cross in the emblem is a tribute to Milanese warriors and a common Christian symbol. The right side of the badge is far more fascinating.

The red figure in the Alfa Romeo Snake’s mouth is a human, not a flame or tongue. The symbol was derived from the Visconti family’s medieval crest and represents power and influence. The serpent has become a symbol of Milan, as well as the name Biscione.

1915 – 1925

After the brand was renamed, the logo was modified in 1915. The badge’s colors were polished and elevated, and the wordmark was lengthened. The white bold “Alfa-Romeo” text with a gold outline was now put at the top of the circular frame, while the “Milano” inscription was positioned at the bottom. The cross and serpent’s curves were tidied up and made more confident and modern. Both blue tones on the badge became sleeker and more intense, as did the guy in the snake’s mouth.

1925 – 1933

The badge was redesigned in 1925, and the silver leaf wreath was now put around the wide blue border with the wordmark. Colors were reduced and brightened, and the inscription received a new, more delicate, and professional typeface that appeared confident and bright in white.

1933 – 1946

In 1933, the wreath is made of gold, and the writing and cross are enlarged. Because of the strong color contract and big design features, the logo is now eye-catching and powerful.

1946 – 1947

In 1946, the brand’s logo is simplified. he wreath is replaced with a medium-thick silver circle, and the vignettes on the frame are less curly and more delicate. All of the pieces’ outlines have been adjusted, and the badge now appears stiffer and more modern.

1947 – 1948

The distinctive badge was created in an entirely new color scheme in 1947. The red and yellow combination, with all yellow features and motifs arranged on a solid red circle in a thin gold frame, lasted only one year. The lack of the “-” between “Alfa” and “Romeo” was the most noticeable alteration in this design. That is, aside from the color palette.

1948 – 1950

In 1948, the corporation returns to its original concept and color palette. However, two sections of the wordmark are now separated by a space. The green serpent has a black outline, and the guy in its mouth is crimson. The cross is likewise highlighted, which adds to the image’s equilibrium.

The white text was done in a clean and crisp sans-serif design around an electric-blue border.

1950 – 1971

In 1950, the serpent becomes rounder and larger, and the guy adopts a geometric silhouette. The “Alfa Romeo” portion of the wordmark has been extended to fill the entire frame, while “Milano” is written in a delicate lightweight typeface.

1971 – 1972

In 1971, the “Milano” inscription was completely deleted from the badge. The black outline of two segments of the circle and its primary parts was replaced with a thin yet noticeable gold outline of the logo.

1972 – 2000

In 1972, the Alfa Romeo logo is refined once more. The blue darkens, and it contrasts nicely with the fresh shade of yellow used for the outline and lettering. The contours of the cross and viper are now yellow, as is the contour of the red guy.

The wordmark incorporates a bold and basic geometric sans-serif that conveys growth, flair, and professionalism.

2000 – 2015

In the year 2000, several gradient hues were added to the logo to make it more lively and vivid. The cross segment’s background is now light blue and white, with writing ranging from silver to gold around the blue frame. The badge is stylish and modern.

2015 – Today

In 2015, all of the badge’s gold details were replaced with silver ones. Another significant modification to the emblem’s inner circle is that it is no longer vertically divided into two pieces, but instead features a common silver background with the red Ross and the green snake touching one other.

Elements of The Alfa Romeo Logo Design

Symbol

The usage of symbolic motifs linked with Italy in general, and Milan in particular, forms the foundation of the logo symbolism.

The image of a red cross on a white backdrop is the Milan flag. It alludes to medieval history, the first Crusades, and the era of knights. Originally, the contrast of red and white represented Christ’s atonement and its twofold nature. It is now a well-known icon of the city of Milan.

Emblem

The correct circle is the shape of the brand’s logo. The outline of this circle is colored and bears the brand’s name, Alfa Romeo. There was no inscription at first, but it appeared later, along with a broad contour that served as the foundation for the text.

For a period, the emblem was surrounded by a laurel wreath, representing the winners. Laurel leaves have appeared on the insignia as a symbol of victory in automobile races.

The inner section of the emblem is separated into two heraldic-compliant parts – in fact, these parts occupy two heraldic elements.

Despite the constant revisions to the logo (the most recent update was in 2015), the century-old general appearance may be fairly declared to be kept. Color correction and shape simplification underscore the brand’s adherence to Milan’s legacy and traditions.

Font

The Alfa Romeo logo was designed with an easy-to-read gold typeface. The use of gold as a symbol of well-being underlines the brand’s target demographic of grownups, successful people with above-average wealth. The typeface has a classic design, clarity, and enough thickness for simple reading.

The font changed several times over the twentieth century. However, the alterations were mostly cosmetic: the font was designed to be easy to read, “confident,” and “reliable.”

Color

The color scheme is also noticeable in the Alfa Romeo logo. The base hue is dark blue, and it takes up the most space. The symbolism of this color in heraldry is crucial. A dark blue (blue) backdrop is rarely used, and it represents the greatest aristocracy, Royal Blood, and particular favor of the Blessed Virgin. By the way, the Royal snake on the right side of the logo was originally dark blue rather than green, and the swallowable baby was gold rather than red.

The blue snake was changed to green in the most recent iteration of the logo. Gold was retained in the contours and text, and the image of the sacrificed baby was changed to red. Furthermore, the logo’s color palette can already be interpreted extremely widely, without reference to heraldic symbolism. Other variables, such as the composition and color balance between the two components of the logo, are becoming increasingly important.

The Alfa Romeo logo is a green serpent holding a red man’s body in its mouth. The sign was inspired by the old crest of the Visconti family, one of the most powerful families in Milan in the XXI century.

What does the Alfa Romeo Cross Represent?

The cross on the left side of the Alfa Romeo logo is the municipal cross. This is typically connected with Milanese troops during the Christian crusades. The cross is also known as the St. George’s or St. Ambrose cross.

The Savoy Dynasty knots placed alongside the wordmark were perhaps the only aspect of the Alfa Romeo insignia that did not stand the test of time.

The History of Alfa Romeo

The Beginning of a Legend

The Alfa Romeo automotive manufacturer has its roots in the early twentieth century. The French car business Alexandre Darracq formed Alfa Romeo in 1906 as the Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID). On paper, the corporation was French, although it was substantially funded by Italian investors. Furthermore, the company was formed to create automobiles that would be sold throughout Italy.

SAID’s Italian Darracq automobiles were not selling as well as predicted by late 1909. Furthermore, the Italian investors that assisted in the formation of Società Anonima Italiana Darracq have since become partners in the company. They thought the Darracq automobiles should be replaced with something more appealing.

To accomplish this aim, the board of investors behind SAID looked to their home nation of Italy for an automotive designer who could better express the spirit of the automobile they sought to develop. It didn’t take long for them to discover Giuseppe Merosi.

Giuseppi Merosi was a driven young guy who began his career selling bicycles. Merosi’s talents quickly transferred from bicycles to automobiles, and it wasn’t long before he was creating automobiles and motorcycles. Recognizing Giuseppe Merosi’s talent and love for design, Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq hired him to start developing new car designs for their company.

Alfa’s first Merosi-designed vehicle: The 24HP  

On June 24, 1910, a new firm named A.L.F.A., which stood for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, was created in collaboration with SAID (Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company). A.L.F.A. manufactured its first non-Darracq car, the 1910 24 HP, within months of its inception.

The A.L.F.A. 24 HP was a four-cylinder passenger automobile with a displacement of 4.1 liters. The car had a single driving shaft and could reach speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. 

Designed by Merosi, the car was built at A.L.F.A.’s new Portello production facility in Milan, Italy. The 24 was rapidly recognized as a potential challenger on the motor racing circuit by A.L.F.A.

A.L.F.A. made its formal debut in motor racing in 1911. They hired drivers Nino Franchini and Ronzoni and entered two 24-HP autos in the 1911 Targa Florio. Sadly, neither car finished the three-lap, 277-mile (446-kilometer) race. Both drivers retired after two laps, citing tiredness as the reason for their withdrawal.

20-30 HP / 40-60 HP Alfa

Despite its difficulties on the racetrack, the 24 HP remained commercially popular and was developed for nearly a decade. By 1914, the ALFA had upgraded the concept and turned the 24 HP into the ALFA 20-30 HP. From 1914 to 1915, the A.L.F.A. 20-30 HP was manufactured.

The A.L.F.A. 20-30 HP has an in-block camshaft with a chain (instead of a gear as on the earlier 24 HP). The engine developed 49 bhp (37kW) at 2,400 rpm and could reach a top speed of 71 mph (115 km/h).

As A.L.F.A. became more concerned with establishing a reputation as a competitor in international racing, the firm tasked Merosi with constructing a more powerful model of the 20-30 HP. The car, dubbed the 40-60 HP, was powered by a 6082cc straight-four-cylinder engine with overhead valves. There was also a race variant. The Alfa Grand Prix was the first automobile to have a twin-speak ignition system. The 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine allowed the Grand Prix to reach a top speed of 87 mph.

Production is halted due to World War I.

With the outbreak of World War One in 1914, international demand for automobiles fell precipitously. A.L.F.A., like many other manufacturers, was forced to apply its manufacturing expertise to wartime production. Surprisingly, A.L.F.A. almost completely abandoned the A.L.F.A 20-30 HP, leaving only frames and parts for roughly a hundred 20-30 HP cars.

The A.L.F.A. The company was sold to Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo in August 1915, unable to fund the conversion of its facilities from automotive production to military manufacturing. A.L.F.A (together with numerous other enterprises) was purchased by Romeo, a successful electrical engineer from Naples, Italy, and production of aviation engines and portable compressors began.

Despite this major shift in manufacture, Nicola Romeo was a cunning businessman who foresaw that the A.L.F.A corporation would return to vehicle production when the war ended and hence did not trash or re-purpose the residual components of the earlier 20-30HP cars.

The Beginnings of Alfa Romeo

Even as World War I wound down in 1918, investors saw that automobile production would once again become a focal point of business. In the winter of 1917-1918, it was agreed that the A.L.F.A. corporation would return to automotive manufacture, but this time with the help of public investors.

On February 3, 1918, the new firm, to be known as “Alfa Romeo,” was legally registered.

The first car manufactured by the new firm was none other than the leftover 20-30 HP autos that had been sitting unfinished in the plant for nearly five years. The vehicle was dubbed the Torpedo 20-30 HP, and it was the first Alfa Romeo to be badged as such, with 95 units produced that year.

Later that year, the 20-30 HP was improved with a greater displacement engine and a shorter wheelbase. The automobile was dubbed the Alfa Romeo 20-30 ES Sport, and it was introduced and recognized by the business as the first original Alfa Romeo (although it incorporated features from the Torpedo). Over the next two years, Alfa Romeo produced 124 examples of the 20-30 ES Sport. A total of 680 specimens were made between the previous A.L.F.A. 24 HP and 20-30HP versions, as well as the Alfa Romeo Torpedo and ES Sport variants, establishing the Alfa Romeo firm as a commercial automobile manufacturer.

Ferrari, the P3, and the End of an Era

Throughout the late 1920s, Enzo Ferrari became actively involved in the development of Alfa Romeo’s racing branch. He saw that the company’s performance on the racetrack could be highly profitable, so he established the Scuderia Ferrari, racing team. The team was created on November 16, 1929, in Milan, Italy, and would be known as Alfa Romeo’s official racing squad for the next decade.

Scuderia Ferrari hired around 40 of the best racing drivers of the time, including Ascari, Campari, and Nuvolari. The Ferrari racing crew supervised all of Alfa Romeo’s racing successes as the brand expanded in stature and repute. The firms grew so intertwined that the race cars became known as “The Ferrari Racing Team Alfas.”

Because of the phenomenal success of his P2 Grand Prix race car, Vittorio Jano was pushed by everyone at Alfa Romeo, including Enzo Ferrari, to continue developing new race car types. Jano created the amazing Alfa Romeo P3 Monoposto, a single-seater open-wheel race car, in 1932.

The Alfa Romeo P3, also known as the Tipo B, was the company’s first automobile intended particularly for endurance racing. Many people thought it was Jano’s best effort. The automobile was sleek, speedy, and technologically advanced. Power was sent to the rear wheels using differential gears and two V-drive shafts.

The P3 was unveiled in June of that year, midway through the 1932 European Grand Prix season, and was driven by Nuvolari. Despite its late-season entrance, Nuvoloni won every race in the P3 that year, including the Monaco Grand Prix, the Targa Florio, and all three main Grand Prix in Italy, France, and Germany.

Ugo Gobbato: Alfa Romeo’s New Director.

Nicola Romeo nearly bankrupted the company in the late 1920s due to a series of disastrous investments, despite his aim of developing the company into a thriving racing organization. The board demanded Romeo’s resignation, but the company’s new CEO, Pasquale Gallo, persuaded the board to keep him on as president. Regardless, Nicola Romeo left the Alfa Romeo firm in 1928.

While the board remained in place, the corporation went several years without a director. The company was purchased by Italy’s “Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI)” in 1933, and a new director, Ugo Gobbato, was appointed.

All of Alfa Romeo’s racing obligations, including engineering and product development, were transferred to the Scuderia Ferrari team under Gobbato’s leadership. The four-leaf clover, which had been identified with Alfa Romeo race vehicles, was replaced by the prancing horse, a sign that would soon become linked with another famous Italian automotive firm…the same automotive manufacturer that happened to own and operate Scuderia Ferrari!

The Evolution of Alfa Romeo

Despite their triumph the previous year, Alfa Romeo faced a difficult Grand Prix season in 1933. The Alfa Romeo firm was nearing bankruptcy due to the numerous financial issues imposed on the company by the overall lack of leadership following Nicola Romeo’s retirement, as well as the several questionable financial decisions made during Romeo’s stint as president.

Under the guidance of the IRI, Ugo Gobbato was tasked with reorganizing the Alfa Romeo corporation to assure profitability. While the company’s purse strings were tightened overall, the Scuderia Ferrari division was the most affected by the financial cuts. The famed Alfa Romeo P3 race cars from the 1932 racing season were now locked away, forcing Ferrari to rely on the older, less effective Alfa Monza versions.

Ferrari Scuderia

Enzo Ferrari protested the decision to suspend the Alfa Romeo racing program, but Alfa Romeo, now under government control, was slow to respond to Ferrari’s requests for reconsideration. After missing 25 races and much wrangling on the part of Enzo Ferrari and his team, the P3s were finally handed over to Scuderia Ferrari in August 1933. They won six of the season’s final eleven races, including the final two major Grand Prix races in Italy and Spain.

By 1935, German vehicle manufacturers dominated the racing scene. Alfa Romeo, for its part, was shifting away from racing, instead depending on the development of “Alfa Romeo” race vehicles by the Scuderia Ferrari firm, which bore the Alfa Romeo moniker.

Tazio Nuvolari: The All-Time Greatest Racer

On July 28, 1935, Tazio Nuvolari drove one of the older P3 racers at the Nürburgring, the most difficult racing circuit of the day (and still considered one of the most difficult today!) Despite being in a car that many considered outclassed by the German racers, Nuvolari was victorious, marking another significant milestone in Alfa Romeo’s racing history. Following the race, representatives from the German government commended Nuvolari on his excellent driving abilities at the German Grand Prix.

Nuvolari would achieve even greater racing success in America a year later.

Scuderia Ferrari entered three Alfa Romeos in the Vanderbilt Cup in New York, hoping to build a global racing presence. Despite being injured in a bad crash in Tripoli, Libya earlier that year, Nuvolari competed as one of three Alfa Romeo drivers. Nuvolari won the Vanderbilt Cup while driving an Alfa Romeo Premio Tipo C. This victory garnered substantial positive publicity to both Nuvolari and Alfa Romeo throughout the United States, and it established the automotive company as a household name among American racing and automobile aficionados.

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900

The many international achievements of Alfa Romeo on the racetrack persuaded people to look closely at Alfa Romeo as a credible automotive company.

Alfa Romeo began development on the 8C 2900, a two-seater sports vehicle that would be equally reliable on the race track or the open road, to answer the increasing demand for a reliable and elegant sports car.

The car was developed in three versions: the 8C 2900A, which had a straight two-seater chassis specifically designed for motor racing, and the 8C 2900B, which came in short-wheelbase Spider Corsa and long-wheelbase Coupe Touring forms.

The 8C 2900, like other Alfa Romeo automobile designs, was created to compete on the racetrack, with a particular emphasis on the Mille Miglia. The engine was a 2.9L inline 8-cylinder with two Roots superchargers and two Weber carburetors. It had a completely independent suspension with coil springs and hydraulic dampers up front and swing axles and transverse leaf springs up back.

The 8C 2900A was initially shown to the public and advertised for sale during the 1935 London Auto Show. The automobile had 220 horsepower (160Kw), which was amazing for the time, but it was still a detuned version of the Grand Prix racing version. There were ten 2900As built in total, five in 1935 and five in 1936.

Scuderia Ferrari entered three 8C 2900As in the 1936 Mille Miglia, finishing first, second, and third. They returned in 1937 and finished in the top two spots.

Alfa Romeo Racing Team

Recognizing Scuderia Ferrari’s success with their vehicles, Alfa Romeo created its own racing team in 1938, taking over the tasks (and most of the people) of the former racing team. With an extraordinary third Mille Miglia victory in 1938, the new Alfa Corse team helped cement the 2900’s reputation in racing history.

By 1937, demand for the 8C 2900 had increased, prompting Alfa Romeo to produce the 8C 2900B. The 2900Bs were designed with increased comfort and dependability in mind. The engines were adjusted down from the 2900A variant, producing 180bhp (130Kw) at 5200 rpm.

In regular production, 32 2900Bs were built – ten in 1937 and twenty-two in 1938. In 1941, a thirty-third 2900B was assembled from parts.

These pre-World War II automobiles were regarded as some of the most magnificent specimens of automotive artistry of the time. Today, because of their scarcity and extreme collectability, they are among the most valuable collector automobiles in the world. A 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Auto Auction, making it the ninth most expensive car ever sold at auction.

The 158/159 “Little Alfa”

As Grand Prix racing became popular in the late 1930s, Alfa Romeo continued to invest resources and money in the development of ever faster, more agile race cars to compete on a global scale. Under the design direction of Gioacchino Colombo, Alfa Romeo would create one of the most successful and enduring single-seater racers of all time, the Alfa Romeo 158/159, also known as the Alfetta (the “Little Alfa” in Italian).

The 158/159, the company’s final pre-World War II racer, would go on to win 47 of the 54 Grand Prix events it entered. The voiturette formula (developed in 1937) was the first variant of the car and featured a 1.5-liter straight-8 supercharged engine. Following World War II, the car’s second iteration was created to compete in the new Formula One racing series, which debuted in 1947. The automobile dominated the first two seasons of the World Championship of Drivers, driven by racers such as Nino Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Luigi Fagioli.

This small, agile race car would go on to achieve unprecedented levels of success throughout the 1940s and into 1950 when it won its first Formula 1 championship. While it seemed unbelievable that this car, which debuted in 1938, would achieve such unprecedented success on the racetrack, most automotive historians agree that its success was due in large part to the fact that few automotive manufacturers had contributed the resources (and money) to racing as Alfa Romeo had, allowing Alfa to develop and sustain a reputation as the dominant leader in automotive racing.

In Conclusion

Today, the Alfa Romeo emblem is a well-known and easily identifiable symbol for one of the world’s most popular vehicle brands. This is a logo rooted in history.

Different parts of the design have changed over time, but the most important parts, like the serpent and the bold curve of the Alfa Romeo logo, have stayed the same.

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