Recently, in the year of 2007, the Alfa brand has revived the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio badge and given it a new lease of life, with Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Spider eight-cylinder sports cars, even the current models of Alfa Romeo MiTo and Giulietta have been sold in the Quadrifoglio trim level. The latest 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia, that the company launched to compete with the likes of BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4, also comes with the famed cloverleaf badge. But its been a while before this symbol of Italian racing heritage became synonymous with the brand.
The Italian Automotive industry has had a very strong influence of the Alfa Romeo brand, being one of the first automotive manufacturers from Italy to gain international recognition. Alfa Romeo was founded in the year 1910, initially owned by the Italian Government between the years 1932-1986. The company was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by a French Automotive firm of Alexandre Darracq, with a majority of Italian investors. In 1909, the cars under the brand Italian Darracq were selling slowly and this led the Italian partners of the company to hire Giuseppe Merosi to spruce up the car designs to make it more appealing to customers. Furthermore, on the 24th of June 1910, the new company called A.L.F.A was founded. The first car designed by the new designer appointed by the Italian investors took shape in 1910 as 24HP model.
Uniquely enough, though the company was founded in 1910, it was already competing in Motorsport events in just a year’s time, with two 24’s entering the famous endurance racing event of Targa Florio of 1911, in the mountains of Sicily.
Though the Alfa Romeo brand struggled with profitability, they continued being very successful in Motorsports, as they competed in Grand Prix racing, Formula One, Sportscar Racing, Touring Car Racing, and even in Rally Racing. It has also participated in the world of Motorsports through its own Works team, as an engine supplier and even developed vehicles for privateers. The company won the inaugural championship for Grand Prix Racing in 1925, this gained the company many laurels in the world of motorsports. Enzo Ferrari was in fact the founder of Alfa’s Racing team and name it Scuderia Ferrari in the year 1929. Later, he disassociated himself from Alfa Romeo in 1939 and had his own team – Scuderia Ferrari as an independent company.
So it’s only natural that the company which has had so many laurels in the world of Motorsport would want to showcase their motorsports heritage by building cars under their own performance brand, similar to the likes of what AMG is for Mercedes, ‘M’ is for BMW and the ‘RS’ badge stands for Audi. Alfa call it the ‘Quadrifoglio’ which is predominantly a Cloverleaf painted on a white triangle as a symbol of Alfa Romeo’s performance and motorsport efforts since WWII.
The story of Alfa Romeo coming to using the Quadrifoglio badge is a rather unique one. Ugo Sivocci was one the racing driver for the Alfa Romeo Works team in the 1920’s. Sivocci was a very experienced driver, however, in most of his races he always finished second. As a means of putting away his bad luck, during the 1920 Targa Florio race, he painted a white square with four clover leaves in the centre of the grill on his race car, and surprisingly enough he found immediate success by crossing the line in first. To continue their good luck, Alfa Romeo continued using the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio badge on their race cars going forward and became their symbol of racing. Ugo Sivocci was killed during the testing of the P1 (next years race car) at the Monza circuit and significantly enough, the P1 didn’t have the Quadrifoglio logo on it. As a tribute to Ugo Sivocci, Alfa changed the white square background on the Cloverleaves to a white triangle one.
The first production car of Alfa to bear the Quadrifoglio badge was the 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Super, which was predominantly a sporty variant of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Saloon car. It had the iconic four Cloverleaves on the front the front wing but without the white triangle. From here on, the company went on to launch Quadrifoglio version for all its models as a sign of keeping true to its Motorsports roots, these variants sported the most powerful engines. It even went on to devise a Golden Cloverleaves version called the ‘Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio Oro’, which was a representation of being a luxurious and well equipped.
With the Giulia Quadrifoglio being a more comfortable road car as compared to the segment leader in the form of the BMW M3 and the fact that the company has revisited the front engine rear wheel drive platform after a staggering 30-years and have got the ‘Fun’ factor just right with this one. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is therefore more involving to drive with a mechanically very well sorted chassis, which bring the flavour of old school driving back in the form of being able to get the rear to step out on you ever so controllably, something which cannot be said about the current generation of its German Competitors.
Though the German competitors are quicker and more precise, they take away a rather important factor of ‘Fun’ from the experience. At the end of the day, what appeals more to enthusiasts is not just the digits on the speedo but it’s the sense of speed, which this Alfa gets spot on, just what the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio brand has stood for all this while.
Alfa Romeo, therefore, seems to be re-strategizing to capitalise on its long-standing racing heritage, with the company have very ambitious plans for the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio badge. If the reviews of the new 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio are anything to go by, the company seems to have got an absolute winner on its hands. It could, also, in fact, be Alfa Romeo’s efforts (and prayers) to get their good-luck-charm back to escape their troubled financial past with the Quadrifoglio badge. We certainly hope it works!