By on August 22, 2013

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If you read the title and mouthed “everything,” I can’t blame you, but please bear with me.  What can Alfa Romeo, the Italian former racing marque and the assumed quintessence of automotive passion, emotion, and physical beauty, learn from McLaren, the English Formula One mainstay and sometime purveyor of clinical, efficient supercars?  The two companies represent quite divergent poles along the automotive landscape, but they have much in common, both historically and in the present day, particularly in the North American market.

Alfa Romeo traces its origins back before the first World War, and the company was involved in motorsports straight away, competing in some of the earliest iterations of the Targa Florio, with a relative unknown named Enzo Ferrari delivering them a second place finish in the 1920 race over formidable Sicilian mountain roads.  Il Commendatore later ascended to team manager, responsible for a stable of drivers that included Tazio Nuvolari, among others.  During the latter portion of the interwar era, the European Championship – the predecessor of Formula One – was largely dominated by the Silver Arrows, who enjoyed considerable state-sponsored largesse, although Alfa received support from Mussolini’s regime and found some success, as well.

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 Nuvolari’s Alfa Romeo leads the Auto Union of eventual victor Bernd Rosemeyer at the 1936 Italian Grand Prix, held at Monza

After the second World War, the marque once more enjoyed motorsports glory, with Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio winning the 1950 and 1951 World Drivers Championships, respectively, in Alfas.  Alfa continued its F1 participation in ensuing decades, supplying engines to a variety of teams – including March and Brabham – before returning briefly as a full manufacturer during the turbo era, but met with little success, and so exited after the 1985 season.  Afterward, Alfa provided engines to Ligier and Osella, before leaving the sport for good in 1988.

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Fangio’s Alfa Romeo 159 “Alfetta” at the 1951 Belgian Grand Prix, a race El Maestro won; note the iconic Quadrifoglio badge

Despite substantial motorsports credibility, Alfa Romeo is remembered in the United States for other reasons, if at all.  Alfa began officially importing cars into the US in 1961, taking over from Max Hoffman, who had done so beforehand.  An Alfa Romeo Spider featured prominently in the 1967 film The Graduate, with protagonist Ben receiving a Duetto as a graduation present.

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Although Americans of a certain generation began to consider the diminutive roadster the appropriate visual accompaniment to the music of Simon and Garfunkel, Alfa Romeos acquired a reputation for mechanical and electrical fragility, and overlord FIAT pulled Alfa out of the domestic market in 1995, due to economic difficulties.

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The legendary unreliability of Alfa Romeos and other “interesting” cars helps keep this Atlanta garage quite busy

The genesis of McLaren begins in the Antipodes, courtesy of Kiwi namesake Bruce McLaren.  Bruce joined the Cooper F1 team in 1959 and raced for them until 1966, when he struck out on his own.  McLaren perished in a Can-Am testing accident at Goodwood in 1970, but his legacy carried on.  The McLaren team won its first World Constructors Championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi, who also won the World Drivers Championship that year.  The team struggled through the remainder of the decade, but the course began to turn with the arrival of analytical and calculating boss Ron Dennis in 1980.  The team notched two more championships in 1984 and 1985, with Niki Lauda and Alain Prost, respectively, serving as drivers.  McLaren has historically relied on purchasing its engines, rather than manufacturing them in-house; the team was a customer of Cosworth Ford, aforementioned Alfa Romeo, and TAG-Porsche in its earlier years.  The greatest achievements came through its partnership with Honda, however.  For the 1988 season, Dennis secured the best powerplant, as well as the best driver lineup – Prost and Ayrton Senna.  The superiority of the McLaren MP4/4 shone clearly, and Dennis’s pair of drivers competed only against each other for the drivers title, winning 15 of 16 races between them.

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Senna leads from Prost in the 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix, a race which Senna won

Top McLaren brass were waiting at the Milan airport after the 1988 Italian Grand Prix when discussion of a McLaren road car began.  Buoyed by their dominance that season, Ron Dennis, partial TAG-owner Mansour Ojjeh, and engineering extraordinaire Gordon Murray envisioned a lightweight, high-powered supercar that would define the genre and embarrass previous offerings from the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.  Production of the uncompromising, price no object McLaren F1 began in the next decade, and approximately 100 cars were built.

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The F1 has inspired awe and lust among automotive enthusiasts for the past 20 years, but the car went largely unnoticed by the general public.  The rarity and sky-high values prevented them from being used as idle cruisers, and the small footprint, demure silhouette, and unknown badge meant that the rabble would accord more kudos to a Ferrari or Lamborghini anyway.  McLaren collaborated with Mercedes-Benz – its engine supplier – to build the McLaren-Mercedes SLR during the oughties, but the heavy GT car is one the Woking concern would probably prefer you forgot.

After absence from the American market as a full manufacturer since the mid-1990s, McLaren returned with its MP4-12C supercar in 2011.  Likewise, Alfa Romeo has pledged a return to our shores next year with its forthcoming 4C model, a flyweight car that Alfa hopes will redefine the terminology of the supercar.  Both companies are confronted with the difficulties and potential benefits of a tabula rasa in North America; notwithstanding the recent, short-term success of Tesla, there have been vanishingly few successful contemporary (re)-launches of automotive brands, attributable to the costs of (re)-establishing a brand identity and a dealership network.  That said, the potential opportunity is immense, with the chance to slough off unfavorable associations and snatch away market share like Sooners rushing into Oklahoma.  For both sporting brands, the lack of historical baggage will likely appeal to performance-conscious buyers who wince at the poseur image that other sports car manufacturers have attracted (and, arguably, courted).

There exist striking similarities between the McLaren MP4-12C and the Alfa Romeo 4C.  Both of them are mid-engined, rear wheel drive sports cars featuring turbocharged powerplants and the exclusive use of dual-clutch transmissions.  Crucially, both cars employ a carbon fiber monocoque as the basis of the chassis; the Alfa represents the first application of this technique in a remotely affordable package (although final pricing is still evolving, the car is intended to compete against the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, so observers expect a similar price point).

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Alfa Romeo hopes to deliver its “compact supercar” at a palatable price by harnessing its existing parts bin, as well as the declining expense of composite materials.  The alchemical Alfa 4C employs a 1.75 liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a TCT twin-clutch transmission; both are found elsewhere in the existing model line.  The carbon fiber monocoque borrows from Dallara’s experience with the KTM X-Bow track day machine.  Due to its light weight, the 4C eschews assisted steering in favor of a manual rack.  On top of this clever, parsimonious tech and feature fest, the 4C is a beautiful car.  It’s not an elegant, lissome design, but there’s more than a whiff of 21st century Lancia Stratos about the proportions; the view of the stern is seductive and sensuous.

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Alfa Romeo 4C cruising up Lord March’s driveway at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 4C is similarly stunning from the opposite end.  The stance is low and the car improbably broad, with the oversized wheels pushed to the corners.  The classical Alfa triangular radiator looks like a woman’s, uh, radiator.  Admittedly the interesting headlights are an acquired taste, and the mirrors look like Dumbo’s ears, but even Cindy Crawford has a mole.

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So what can Alfa Romeo learn from McLaren as it embarks on producing and selling this remarkable vehicle?  The McLaren’s raison d’être is superlative performance figures courtesy of cutting edge F1 technology, and the company has even pledged to update the car from time to time, making the enhancements available to owners of existing cars, thereby offering them even more performance.  That’s quite commendable, but the boys in Woking have a small concern over which to fret:  the MP4-12C – which has recently had its name shortened to the 12C – has been struggling in the secondary market.  A perfunctory perusal of Cars.com returns 64 McLarens for sale, with asking prices already dipping below $200,000.  Meanwhile, there are 221 examples of the Ferrari 458 Italia available on Cars.com.  Prices for the older, slower, heavier, less powerful, less advanced Ferrari are higher, despite nearly quadruple the supply; you’ll have to pony up about 10% more to get into the cheapest 458 Italia.  Apparently, Jack Baruth’s crystal ball was working quite well last summer.

Alfa Romeo can take this observation to heart and sell the 4C not on the numbers, but on emotion.  They can mine that deep well of motorsport spoils, that palpable passion running through their nearly century long history to move the metal.  Fortunately for Alfa, the back catalog is essentially free, earned and paid for in the past.  All they have to do is plunder it now.

David Walton grew up in the North Georgia mountains before moving to Virginia to study Economics, Classics, and Natural Light at Washington and Lee University. Post-graduation, he returned to his home state to work in the financial services industry in Atlanta.  A lifelong automotive enthusiast, particular interests include (old) Porsches and sports car racing.

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23 Comments on “What Can Alfa Romeo Learn From McLaren?...”


  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The relative failure of Mclaren in the marketplace may have something to do with brand rckognition but the article imho overstates this factor while ignoring the larger picture, which must surely be the product itself. To borrow from your article the mp12 is a product projecting “analytical and calculating boss Ron Dennis”.

    Thing is exotics should be well exotic. The Mp12 is not bad but it has a silly face, the motor and lag are a far cry from ferrari and they spent so much time trying to make it drive as well as a daily hyundai that unless you are at 10/10ths its as much fun as a hyundai. The ferrari 458 BTw may look gorgeous and have a great motor, but its also a bit of a letdown unless at full attack mode, so it hast to rely on “brand” to sell to anyone serious.

    Alfa has a lot goimng for it, but just branding wont do it, you need product that speaks clear and loud. The 4c is runmopred to have what 238bhp and despite its light weight thats not a whole lot. So if Alfa is serious for the 60+k they want to charge its going to need the 350bhp version, something that will slay a coxter. The Alafa is not going to be a well built as a porche, certainly not as luxurious or as comfortable, its a more elemental car so it needs to outshine in performance.

    Look at sales of the lotus elise/exige and the Evora. Elise Exige sold 3k cars here in the first few years then the novelty wore off and only the hard core bought. If Alfa is going to really make a go of the 4c then its going to need serious power and be tuned to run hard with the trackday crowd.

    You see today for serious sportscar buyers racing cred in a series of cars which has little to no resemblance to a purchaseable vehicle is all nice and good but it does not cut the mustard when it comes time to buy your machine.

    Go to a trackday, you see lots and lots of e36 BMws some streetable still others not. YTou see a fair number of GT3 porches and a very few boxters. Then there are lots of vettes and a disproportionatly large proportion of loti. These are all cars that people drive and drive hard, they have the performance in the hands of mateurs to be really fast and they are all durable. Occasionaly a GTr or R8 hardley ever a ferrari.

    I would think the niche for the 4c is to take over where the Gt3 left off, a relatively rough hard car, supremly viceral to drive on road and strong on track. To do this Alfa is going to need serious power, and considder the option of a stick, because frankly unless youa re in all out attack mode on track or in traffic paddle crap sucks. A veceral driveable car for the road should have as many interaction points as possible.Plus paper speed of paddlecrap means little at tracdays. In fact I pretty much never see a paddlecrap car at a trackday.

    Paddle rant aside, if Alfa wants serious sustainable sales here marketing is at best half the equation. the 4c is always going to eb a spoecialist proposition and the the half of the equation that mclaren misses alfa needs to get right. It needs to beat a coxter in performance be fun to drive(not just fast) viceral and durable for weekend trackday people. Thats how you build abrand and a following, from the serious drivers crowd. Hell it worked for BMW from the 2002 abd they have been playing off it ever since despite the x3.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Thanks for reading!

      What about the McLaren isn’t exotic? They’re much rarer than Ferrari 458s (I see a 458 several times a week in Atlanta, but I’ve seen 3 MP4-12Cs in 15 months). They’re low, wide, sleek, and come painted in flashy colors. They perform quite well, too. I wouldn’t say the motor is a far cry from Ferrari; the forthcoming P1 is getting a derivation of the same motor, whereas LaFerrari gets a V12.

      The 4C emphatically doesn’t need 350 hp to compete with cars that weigh 700+ lbs more. It will compare quite favorably with the Boxster S and Cayman S in a straight line, and the Porkers can’t just crank up the boost to make more power.

      Lotus has performed quite poorly in the marketplace, especially as of late. The Elise is fundamentally a nearly 20 year old design. Through employment of composite materials, the Alfa will hopefully maintain its flywheight while still providing sufficient creature comforts to serve as a daily driver.

      I’m a major proponent of three pedals myself, but if a car is engineered around paddles, then a stick is a compromise. I don’t weep for the death of a so-so manual transmission, but I do for the manual transmission in the GT3, because it’s sublime.

      I agree with you on the last points – they must market it effectively, and ensure that it’s as enjoyable to drive as the established competition (4C vs. Porsche 981; MP4-12C vs. Ferrari 458).

      • 0 avatar
        Boxerman

        “What about the McLaren isn’t exotic? They’re much rarer than Ferrari 458s (I see a 458 several times a week in Atlanta, but I’ve seen 3 MP4-12Cs in 15 months). They’re low, wide, sleek, and come painted in flashy colors” Being rare does not make a car exotic it makes it rare.

        An exotic starts with looks, the Maclaren is close but unlike the 458 has its awkward moments particularily the front facia and the rear facia is uninspired. There was a Gt version of whch they made a few that looked much better. Flashy colors does not make an exotic, it makes a poseur. Exotics look good in all colors.

        But more than looks what makes a car an exotic is the way it drives. There is a fine line between refinement and disconected. the Mclaren makes a great daily but if you drive one its like a modern BMW too disconnected. The tub and layout shpould put it ahead of the ferrari, but truth be told it feels dull to drive, the only thrill comes from sheer pseed, an exotic must offer more. A 997 GT3 is an exotic in terms of experiemce it just looks like a 911. A aventador depite the tranny and sub par performance is exotic. Mclaren made a too techincaly perfect car, but forgot that driver interaction and experience is much more than raw numbers.The Mclaren motr may put out power, but its sound is s blare and its not really linear or smooth.Ferraris sing.

        As to power, I drive an elise it weighs 1920lbs on the scales with 1/2 tank of gas. Given the drawbacks of a small car in the USa what will make the alfa standout, besides some exotic styling, it will be minimalist and not lux like a porche. I can tell you that 240 hp in this weigth category might be fast but its not going to blow anyone away. You are going to pay more than a vette costs for a slower car, anbd it may handle not much better. Light weight ands speed is wat the alfa offers, so far I see light weight and mid pack speed. Boxters, they are luxo cars these days mostly bought on badge, those are not factors I think that will drive too many alfa 4c sales.

        As to the manual, yes that on a GT3 and a Miata are sublime, like working a well oiled piece of machineary. And that is the point. Exotics dont only run nth degree lap times, and whle they are daily cpable they mostlya re special occasion cars. A great sportscar should be fun to drive at all speeds. Paddle crap removes a large element of this. manufacturers like it because it impoves emissions and fule economy, plus because of quich shifts paper accleration imporves even if in gear figures may be slower than a better car.

        Go down a curvy road, maybe you select 3rd from 5th for a particular bend not to run to the redline but to revel in the particular part of the powerbad that 3rd provides at those speeds, maybe its an adjustability mid bend whatever. This in is a stick intergrates you with the machine, mind and machine become one. The flaw in the Mclaren and may moderns is that they epicaly fail in this regard.

        Any AMG merc or Rs audi is going to go faster than any insane driver would even go on the street. What a sportscar should offer is so much more, a feeling of precision and interaction that no pumped up sedan can offer. Most exotics these days have looks and noice, but on the street are less fun to drive than any number of otehr cars, and while fast on the track, can be beaten by drivers in lesser cars who know their machine.

        A GTR is still probably the fastest car around in mortal hands, but you dont really drive it so much as use one foot to tell it how fast to go, knowing that in most conditions the computer wont let you go too fast, and the steering is a guidance tool. Somewhere we get to video games in which you are along for the ride. I am sure a computer driven car will be faster than them all, but at that point you are basuicaly a passenger along for the ride.

        Modern sports cars can have great power, superlative handling reliability and endless brakes, things older cars may have lacked in part. Moderns also have systems that catch things when the limits are breached. But when systems start removing the driver fromt he driving what do you really have, and this is where thMclaren and may otehr moderns fail. There is a reason why cars allow you to turn ESP off, or have various ettings. there iss reason why a mustang will let you spin the tires or get a bit sideways. The first electronic nanny cars did not allow this and drivers rebelled, so some edge was allowed back in. maclaren missed this point.

        The Alfa looks great, I would prefer mine with a stick because for the 50% of the time the car ins not ona track it will simply be way more fun and uinteractive to drive, and frankly any speed loos on track is marginal unless you are a total pro, yet the enjoyment and skill componant are way up. Seems like the new vette and viper are the last two real cars left. Funny how a country that was derided for making cars that dont handle now makes the last of the great.

        Its not just how fast you go, but just as importantly how you go fast and how you experience your speed. In this regard the Mclaren is a fail, and the 458 while better is still relying on badge and styling more than it should.

        I remember when a ferrari was really somethign special for the driver, and experience your couldnt get elsewhere, now it seems there are better choices and a ferrari is really a fashion acessory for rich poseurs. But that is a whole otehr subject.

        So yeah the alfa may well be what ferrari used to be, but it needs more power and for me a stick.

        • 0 avatar
          Tifighter

          Where did you drive the 12C? Street or track?

          • 0 avatar
            Boxerman

            Twice on the street. The first time I drove it and a 458 back to back with a 911 GT3 for comparison. Maybe the ferrari and Mclaren were faster above say 120ish but the GT3 was infinitely more pleasing and enjoyable to drive than either. the ferrari was better than the Mclaren but really a bit of aclown car. the Maclaren could have been the best but was not. As to paddleshift, why have the paddles at all, the computers seem to do a much better job of it, and now with gps control can have you in the right gear for each corner track or road depending on speed.

            Conceotualy the Mclaren is far better than the ferrai, its narrower you sit cose to the centerline ancf tub feels special, after that its just another car. Mclaren seems to havbe left otu what made the F1 great. Ie talkative steering, heavy hitting lag free enless power surge. Human machine interface. Instead its used electronics to make it go fast.

            Afterwards the salesman asked me what I thought. My answer was that besides styling what does the Mclaren or Ferrari do that a GTr does not.

            I drove home in my BBI antique as it is, it was a lot more fun and compelling that the Mcca or 458. If i had to pick it would be the GT3. The Alfa should be like a smaller lighter GT3, that is its natural market.

            the new spider is going to be based on a miata, if it drives like the current miata and has the turbo motor from the 4c as rumoured, besides being a mid engined car what exactly would eb a reason to buy the 4c.

        • 0 avatar
          David Walton

          Great points. So much to explore in the future.

  • avatar
    th009

    Regarding mining the deep well of motorsport spoils, the Alfa Romeo well is pretty dry these days. Since the days of F1 engine supplier in the 1980s, Alfa had only a brief foray into Supertouring in early 90s. It’s been 20 years of no racing, and even the company’s museum has been mothballed.

    By comparison, McLaren continues to compete at the very top level in Formula One, and the MP4-12C (need to remember Project 4!) is raced in the global FIA GT championship, like the F1 was before it.

    A long heritage is all well and good, but at this point even Bentley’s racing record is looking more credible than Alfa Romeo’s. At least they entered (and won) at Le Mans in the 2000s.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Porsche’s well is getting a bit stagnant. They haven’t competed for overall victory at Le Mans since they made air-cooled cars! But pay attention to their advertisements. Lots of old race cars. Audi has begun to do this too, emphasizing 1980s rally racing versus the past decade’s Le Mans wins. All it’ll take for Alfa is some black and white footage, some background music, and some evocative narration.

      I’ve yet to see a McLaren advertisement. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places. To be fair, they haven’t exactly been at “the very top level in Formula One” for some time, especially this year.

      We all know the 2003 “Bentley” was an Audi in drag…

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Audi has been pushing the grand days of Group B rallying in adverts for quite some time now – it’s hardly “news”.

        I do agree all it takes is the ‘right’ advo program to get the dolts with cash (pro ‘sports’ ilk) to belly up to the bar – the time when people with taste were wowed by an E-Type or a Miura at a motorshow has (sadly) long passed.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Porsche will be competing for overall 24H honours next year. In the meantime, they have competed in Le Mans series GT classes, Grand Am, FIA GT, various endurance and the Porsche Cup. Alfa? Nothing whatsoever that didn’t involve traffic lights.

        The 2003 Bentley used an Audi engine but the chassis was quite different from R8, and used a bespoke chassis and a different gearbox. Not quite an Audi in drag. (And one of the best-looking Le Mans cars of the recent times in my opinion!)

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    The only frame of reference I have for Alfa Romeo is making terribly unreliable cars that made Pugeot and Renault (their US offerings in the 80′s, anyway) look positively rock-solid by comparison. Smoking heap is probably the best description for Alfa that I can come up with.

    Maybe younger folks will only know what Jeremy Clarkson has said about Alfa in terms of passion.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Exactly right.

      I occasionally ask my co-workers about their perceptions of various cars just to get an idea of what a non-car person might think.

      When I asked them about Alfa Romeo I got these types of responses:

      “Sounds expensive”
      “Yeah, it’s Italian, right, like Maserati?”
      “Way sicker than ‘Porsh’ – you should get one bro”

      If the dealership experience and the marketing/sales effort prove effective, they should do fairly well. Very few people responsible for the cars made in the 1980s are still working for Alfa now.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      “Smoking heap” is the best definition of a 1911 I’ve heard in a few weeks. Just needs the prefix “sometimes”…

  • avatar
    el scotto

    One of my colleagues: “you always wear bad-ass suits to the big meetings”. Me, “they’re Italian”. Not all of us are smitten with cars whose national racing color is silver. Now red, or white with blue stripes is an entirely different story.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    While the 4C is nice and I do find it quite attractive, this isn’t the Alfa I’d be waiting for.

    Alfa Romeo to me, your typical 30′s something Southern Californian, are works of art that are drivers cars. True enough, here they have the “unreliable” stigma, true enough one of my cousins owned a GTV (I think) that never left being under a tree and I probably just drank my ginger ale out of a can made from it. Yes, also I admit that Mr. Clarkson has helped form my opinion as such, but out of sheer curiosity I picked up a book about Alfa’s history and I see pages and pages of cars that are beautiful, are unusual (in a good way)or are the essence of the passion of driving….. Spiders, GTV’s, Alfasuds, 155′s, 147′s, Breras…. ect.

    Plus here’s something else too; my brother is as non car enthusiastic as it gets….. doesn’t care about getting his license, rather have a new phone or gaming system over a car and couldn’t tell a Ferrari from a Corolla. That being said, he saw a picture of the 8C and asked me what it was, it caused him to do a double take. He was curious about it.

    To get to the point, I would love to see a practical, yet sporting 4 door sedan from Alfa, like a 156 for example. Make it beautiful in the Alfa way, make it brilliant to drive, give it a proper 6 speed manual with 3 pedals, give it that Alfa sound, that snarl…. and make it red, if that were to happen, I would very seriously consider it…. I crave something that says, “let’s go out for a drive!” something that makes the mundane engaging, it’s this or the Ford Focus RS that is being hinted at for us ‘Muricans.

    Will Milan or Dagenham/Dearborn deliver such a car? I hope so.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Blah, blah, blah…

    70s through 90s Alfas had few reliability issues compared to their US competition, if you actually *did the frakkin’ maint*. If you were a dolt thinking he was buying a Hondota, well, you got what you deserved.

    I’ve had a coupla dozen Fiats and Alfas from that era that all worked 100% of the time – they just needed a tiny bit of taking care of to address their design flaws. All were picked up cheap in the high 5s from idiots who knew nothing about cars. For a few hundred USD, they all made it well into the six figure odo land.

  • avatar
    GTAm

    Being a big time Alfiti I have to tell you that I am alarmed at your lack of research and knowledge regarding Alfa’s racing history. From the P2 in 1925 upto the mid 30′s Alfa Romeo was ‘the’ dominant force in Gran Prix racing.
    They were only out classed because they were out financed by Hitler’s streamlined Silver Arrows, while Alfa GP cars were still open-wheeled. And yet the P3 of 1935 gave them 16 race victories that year!

    How nice of you to also mention Enzo’s 2nd place in the 1920 Targa Florio.And you fail to mention the 10 outright victories that is only bettered by Porsche with 11. To put it into better perspective Mercedes has just 3, Maserati 4 and Bugatti 5 and Ferrari 7. And what about the Mille Miglia? Considered to be the toughest race in history? Well here Alfa Romeo
    won 11 out of the 24 times it was held!Mercedes has won just 2 and BMW 1.
    The other hilarious post is by th009 who says “Alfa had only a brief foray into Supertouring in early 90s”. You failed to mention that this so called “brief” foray was as usual a runaway success dominating not just the WTCC but the DTM and the BTCC as well when they competed. The biggest problem for the team was to decide the order of the podium places of their drivers. Go watch the videos and read the books please.
    AND…… everyone conveniently forgot the sheer dominance in the 60′s and the 70s touring car championships???? The 60′s were decimated by the Auto Delta Guilia GTA and later the GTAm in the early 70′s often beating bigger engined more powerful cars. Then there were so many other championships won even away from home in the UK, South Africa and Australia where the GTV6 continued the success.

    There is so much more like the World Sports Car Championship winning Tipo 33, numerous rally wins and thousands of class wins, Hill Climbs and National championship titles that frankly makes the Brand the top Dog in Motorsport Royalty that even Ferrari will find hard to match.

    In comparison McLaren is a tiny puppy IMHO. Go on and read up the books boys before writing a load of nothing, even though I must say it’s slightly better than you previous comparison to Mazda which was seriously a joke. Please do your home work boys.

    Oh I nearly forgot the 4 successive Le Mans 24 hour victories.

    The ONLY problem the brand has had is disastrous management of the business side of things first by the Italian Government and then by Fiat. The 4C is the first indication that they’ve finally realized this.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      The point of the article wasn’t to provide a comprehensive summary of Alfa’s motorsports history. It was to employ highlights of both companies’ histories to outline the striking similarities between them now:

      Previous success in top flight motor racing (NOT sports car racing or endurance racing)
      Limited presence in North America over the past 15-20 years
      Production of sports/super cars with lightweight CF monocoques

      And provide an argument, hence the title. Doing that in ~1,500 words precludes touching on every single tangential factoid.

      Btw, I’ve never written anything about Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        GTAm

        “Personally, I think that the end of Mazda’s nagare era has finally allowed it to step into the shoes that Alfa Romeo once filled.”

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/qotd-alfa-romeo-in-north-america-whats-the-point/

        Not you but one of your buddies.

        The point is if you knew anything about the brand you would have never found any similarities with McLaren and never written 1500 words. And btw sports car racing or endurance racing was top flight back then though maybe less so today because of the rise of F1.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      GTAm, turn off your brain, this is the new TTAC.

      Truth means nothing, the important focus is on ignorati who know just about zero when it comes to cars. Or the history of cars. All that matters is remembering a soundbite from an advert and then restating it as fact.

      As long as you accept that being knowledgeable will garner derision from the tw@ts, you’ll be ok.


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  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States