The Museo’s shiny red umbilical escalator birthed us onto the second floor, and the start of Alfa’s historic automobiles. A little education via wikipedia gave these a lot more context…
After the creation of the Societa Italiana Automobilia Darracq in 1906, funded by the French Darracq automobile company and Italian investors, slow sales encouraged the Italian partners to hire Ing. Giuseppi Merosi to help design new more desirable cars. In 1910, Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili was born along with it’s first car, the 1910 24HP Tornado. In 1911 a more basic model was offered, the 12HP – which quickly grew to 15HP spec (pictured here in corsa racing trim) and finally the 15-20HP model of the range.
Merosi’s OHV engine
In 1914 Merosi would develop the first Alfa double overhead cam engine (DOHC) for their Grand Prix entry – a 102hp quad valve DOHC 4.5L straight 4, a design first championed in Ernest Henry’s 1912 quad valve DOHC 6.7L Straight 4 engine for Robert Peugeot (which went on to win Peugeot a raft of events). While none of these engines were used for production cars, Merosi started Alfa down a path which would see them become the largest proponent of the DOHC straight 4 design in automobile manufacturing history.
Some detail shots of the 1922 RL, bodied by Castagna in brushed aluminium.
In 1926 Ing. Vittorio Jano replaced Merosi as Alfa’s lead engineer and work began on smaller capacity higher output engines to replace the ageing RL / RM units. After initial 6 cylinder single overhead cam engines, the 6C 1500 Sport was released with DOHC. this quickly led to the 6C 1750 DOHC super sport engine, with optional supercharger and monoblock yielding 102bhp in Gran Sport specification.
The Museo has a beautiful cutaway example of this engine – spectacular engineering for 1929, and so clearly the ancestor of the 105 series engines we know so well.
A svelte 1931 6C 1750 Gran Sport.
….. Continued in Part 3