Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 Alfetta
From Alfa Romeo press: Alfa Romeo made a first important step in establishing its competition credentials by winning the Targa Florio in 1923 (the brand's first of 10 wins) with the RL TF, which also marked the first appearance of the four-leaf clover (Quadrifoglio, in Italian) racing emblem, and then in 1925 with the P2 Gran Premio that won the first Automobile World Championship in history, the first of Alfa Romeo's five victories.
In the meantime, Romeo had replaced Alfa Chief Engineer Giuseppe Merosi, who had created the first models and joined the company back in 1910.
He made way for VittorioJano, who became the technical creator of the great Alfas of the 1930s. His debut model was the P2, which was followed by the 6C 1500 (1928), 6C 1750 (1930), 8C 2300 (1931) and the Gran Premio Tipo B-P3 (1932), all models which greatly contributed to increasing the Quadrifoglio prize record and dramatically elevated the technical prestige of cars made at the Portello plant. Jano was also responsible for the legendary 8C eight cylinder in-line engine with supercharger.
The 1930s were the years in which the Alfa Romeo legend took shape. Engine reliability was undisputed and the names of famous drivers - Antonio Ascari, Gastone Brilli Peri, Giuseppe Campari, Enzo Ferrari, Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi- were on everybody's lips. They won many legendary races: Mille Miglia (11 wins, an undefeated record), Le Mans 24 Hours (four consecutive wins), Targa Florio, and a very long list of international Grands Prix. In addition, the valuable technical lessons learnt from racing were transferred to standard production models.
The worldwide recession that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929 had repercussions for Alfa's expansion: the company was taken over in 1933 by IRI. Ugo Gobbato was appointed Managing Director. He rationalised and reorganised production, focusing on the core business of aircraft engines, industrial vehicles and touring and racing cars.
The company withdrew from motorsport at this time and its 8C2300B cars were given to Scuderia Ferrari. Results were brilliant: Alfa won more races than any other manufacturer in 1934, and racing even outshone standard production in 1936. Aeronautical production reached nearly 80 percent of the entire annual revenue. New orders came in, and a new plant was opened in Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples) at the end of the decade.