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Old 05-11-2006, 08:49 AM
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History of Alfa Romeo's early years

Ahem...

I'm really happy, with the required modesty, to publicize an article of mine now available online at the initiative of the Italian Society for Automobile History (AISA). Note there are two pdf to be downloaded - one being the text about the Paris location -, and a pictorial gallery, whose captions seem not yet associated with the pictures at the moment. I hope it will be sorted out soon, as a couple of maps help understanding the descriptions of the factory given in the text.

I've been digging into many obscure or scholar sources to try and summarize the industrial, economical and social sides of Alfa Romeo's history, hoping to give some more depth than the usual lists of facts and dates, or just car data sheets.

Indeed, it deals only marginaly with cars, but rather with locomotives, tractors and ploughs, artillery shells, aircraft engines and compressors, and even more with people, places and a piece of Italian history.

Since most sources are written in Italian, I hope it's also a way to allow non-Italian readers to have a sight into those aspects, while I have to stress how much this article owes to late Prof. Duccio Bigazzi's book "Il Portello" for the 1906-1926 part.

At the opposite of today's mainstream publications -most of which contain nothing new and are marketed on glossy pictures with hastily written text, if any -, I wanted to pay homage to those who worked proudly and relentlessly under hard conditions, during wartime or economical crises. I also revisited some legends.

I think it's hard to imagine, for us living a century later, in completely different conditions, to realize what it was really like to work at building cars in 1914, both for workers and for entrepreneurs. When we wonder, today, why Alfa did or did not make this or that, which looks out today as what ought to be done, we often overlook the real conditions under which the decisions were taken.

I hope it will meet some interest among the fondest Alfisti around, or just history-minded readers, and of course I welcome any comment, question, addition or criticism.
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