Museo Storico 2015 – Part 1 – Aircraft Engines

Finally,  after worrying the Museo would never open it’s doors again, it’s cars scattered to other museums like leaves in the the wind,   Alfa re-opened the famous Museo Storico as part of the 2015 Giulia sedan launch.  My friend Tony and I happened to be in Milano in September and successfully untangled the rail system to get from Reppublica near Milano Centrale across town to Rho Fiera station (helpfully the station next to Milano EXPO 2015)..


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A short taxi ride away lay the freshly refurbished Museo.

The taxi dropped us off at the Chrysler / Jeep end of the building… At first we thought perhaps the Museo was now just a tiny outbuilding behind Jeep showroom !

Entry prices were really reasonable (as a tonic for the shop prices at the end…)

First up with a  wall display showing the history of the cross and serpent badge…

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Along the other side of the room, a collection of aircraft engines designed and built by Alfa in earlier years.

A Colombo S.63 inline 6 cylinder, built under licence by Alfa.  These aimed at similar airframes to those using the DeHavilland Gypsy Moth engines, but running with upright, rather than inverted cylinders.

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One of the engines had a suspiciously familiar driveshaft yoke at the back….



A 1928 Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine, again built under licence by Alfa (looks like they added a quite a bit of horsepower along the way…)



A 1938 Alfa 135 RC 32 ‘Tornado’ Radial Engine – what a work of art this is – my favorite engine on display – Designed by Ing. Cattaneo in ’36 (who then left Alfa), development was then undertaken by Ing. Bossi and his team. Look how densely packed the 18 cylinders are (built in two staggered rows of 9), and the work that went into those inlet and exhaust manifolds… Hidden in the rear is  a gear driven 9.2:1 supercharger.  When first run in 1938 and ’39, it was the most powerful radial engine in the world, topping out at 1600hp on 87 octane fuel. Issues with overheating and vibration meant only 150 were made, and development of it’s successor the 136 was deferred due to the 1943 Italian armistice.  A compact unit with a lot of punch.

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Loved this specification plate on the 121 RC Inverted V8 aircraft engine.   



Finally a tribute to Luigi Fusi,  Alfa’s first historian and the man who helped bring it all together when the Museo was first launched in 1976.



Then we were ushered up the new Museo’s distinctive escalator to the first floor  – and the cars !


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…..Continued in part 2

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