The 2016 edition of the Milano AutoClassica classic car show will be held at Fiera Milano Rho from 18 to 20 March. A number of precious historic models alongside the latest new releases in Hall 12.
The doors have opened on the prestigious Milano AutoClassica classic car show, where the Alfa Romeo, Abarth and Fiat brands take centre stage.
Alfa Romeo's collection focuses on its sports saloons, a concept that the Italian brand itself invented and which has now been updated and upgraded with the new Giulia. Visitors to the Milan show can see four precious models from the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese: the 1900 (1950), the Giulia TI Super (1963), the Alfetta (1972) and the 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA (1988). Alongside these rarities is an extraordinary Giulia Quadrifoglio.
Below is a description of the historic models in the Alfa Romeo collection exhibited at the event.
The sports saloon concept originated back in 1950 with the 1900. Alfa Romeo's first car built entirely on a production line, it was also the first to be designed according to industrial criteria, including the monocoque, and the first with a four-cylinder engine developed for mass production.
The most significant features of the 1900 are its dynamic performance characteristics. Speed, road holding, handling and active safety made this model the first high-performance three-box saloon, features that had previously been reserved for true sports cars (in the bodywork configuration) and higher segment models. Pure sports performance in a family car was an innovative proposal at that time, in a market that was heading towards major expansion. The 1900 collected numerous racing victories, including a coveted first place in its category at the Mexican Carrera Panamericana in 1954, hence the car's famous advertising tag line: "The family saloon that wins races". In the mid-1950s, it became the first "Panther" Flying Squad car of the Italian State Police, which was modernising its fleet with high-performance vehicles to lead the fight against crime. In fact, all subsequent Alfa Romeo saloons were used as police cars.
The 1900's four-cylinder, twin-cam engine was continually upgraded, reaching 115 HP with a top speed of 180 km/h, which was unprecedented for a family car.
The 1900 was retired from production in 1959 after 17,390 units had rolled off the assembly line at the company's plant in Portello.
Giulia TI Super (1963)
The revolutionary and groundbreaking Giulia saloon debuted in 1962. The advertising claim "designed by the wind" was inspired by the Giulia's outstanding drag coefficient of 0.34, which would still be competitive on today's market. This sports saloon became the backbone of Alfa Romeo's line-up, as well as a production link between the company's Portello and Arese plants.
The Giulia was the first mass-produced car with a five-speed transmission and one of the first with a differentiated body structure: in the event of a collision, the passenger compartment held its shape, ensuring greater passenger safety. The Giulia's 1600 four-cylinder engine differed from the Millenove in terms of displacement and construction materials. It had a crankcase made of aluminium rather than cast iron, was essentially derived from the Giulia "milletrè" (launched in 1954) and was an extremely sophisticated and high-performance engine with long durability. The exceptional dynamics and design features of the Giulia, in its various guises, garnered incredible results in races. The Giulia TI Super, launched in 1963 (112 HP and 190 km/h), is the rarest and most prestigious Giulia variant. Only 501 of this ready-to-race version were produced, almost all of them in Biancospino White, with the Quadrifoglio cloverleaf emblem on the side panels and boot and with the bodywork streamlined to further improve its already excellent performance. The TI Super nurtured a generation of racing drivers who eventually graduated to higher formulas, having put themselves in the spotlight with victories and rankings achieved behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo saloon. The Giulia TI Super is particularly suited to road races, as it proved by memorably winning its category in the 1963 Tour de France Auto, one of its greatest successes. Over a million units had been built by the time the Giulia series reached the end of its long production run.
Alfa Romeo's prestigious sports saloon, the Alfetta, made its international debut in May 1972 in Trieste, presented by five-time F1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. The all-new car was a cross between the 1750 and 2000, both of which were based on the Giulia and would be gradually replaced by the new arrival. The Alfetta was technically state of the art, a further evolutionary step in the interpretation of the sports saloon concept, which had originated twenty years earlier with the 1900. At the time of its launch, the Alfetta was the most sophisticated mass-produced saloon on the market. It had a longitudinal front engine (1779 cc, 122 HP, 180 km/h), a rear-mounted transaxle transmission and clutch system plus De Dion rear suspension, a technical solution derived from the 159 Formula 1 Alfetta, which incorporated a De Dion axle and was driven to victory in the 1951 World Championship by Juan Manuel Fangio.
The launch campaign played up this historical pedigree with images depicting the Alfetta saloon in front of its namesake F1 predecessor. The Alfetta was a success right from the first few months of its long production run (which lasted until 1984 in various versions and displacements), occupying a 40% segment of the market. In the 1980s, the Alfetta was the first car to adopt variable valve timing, a key technology internationally patented by Alfa Romeo and which is still included in engine designs. In addition to its undeniable dynamic qualities, the Alfetta provided comfort, liveability and a modern upgrade of the high-performance saloon concept. In total, 476,000 Alfetta vehicles were built before the model was taken out of production in 1984.
Alfa 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA (1988)
In 1985, Alfa Romeo marked its 75th anniversary by unveiling the Alpha 75: a compact sports saloon that replaced the New Giulietta (1977-1984) and expanded the range of powerplants to include a 2.5-litre V6 engine, which was subsequently further enlarged to 3 litres. The 75 shared its bodywork and many mechanical components with the New Giulietta, which in turn was based on the Alfetta. The result was a successful carryover with a very personal and distinctive design incorporating two major innovations: the 2-litre Twin Spark engine (1962 cc, 148 HP, 205 km/h) and the debut of a turbo production engine (1779 cc, 155 HP, 215 km/h), the first to adopt an advanced electric supercharging control system. In 1988 an Evoluzione version of the 75 Turbo was developed according to IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) specifications and subsequently won two editions of the Giro Automobilistico d’Italia, in 1988 and 1989. In this configuration, the 75 reached a power of 335 HP in 1988 and 400 HP the following year. It was also distinguished by a wide-track body and refined aerodynamics, with a striking rear spoiler in carbon fibre.
Retired from production in 1992 after selling 387,000 units—including in the United States, where it was proudly renamed the Milano—the 75 was the last car in the outstanding and long-lived Alfetta series.