Story and photos by Roberto Motta
It’s Hoods Up at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo for the 40th Anniversary
Wander through the many automobile museums of the world (or just follow VeloceToday!) and you will quickly note that they all have one thing in common; the hoods are usually closed and if not, one can’t get close enough to study the mechanicals. This is unfortunate, for unlike today’s plastic-covered engines, many powerplants of the 20th century were hi tech engineering, awesome to look at, art in and of themselves, and designed to be easy to work on. Yet they are so often hidden under the hoods of museum pieces. Not so in Milan however!
Alfa Romeo, who has been creating technologically advanced engines for race cars and production cars since 1910, is one of the few firms left with a lengthy and glorious history of designing advanced engines. Engines are the essence of Alfa Romeo, and at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, they are not afraid to show it. On December 18 2016, the Museum in Arese celebrated its first 40 Year Anniversary with a special exhibition in which the hoods were open on about 300 cars for everyone to see and touch. And why not; engines are the sporting heart of Alfa Romeo; for years Alfa created only the chassis and engine, while the coachwork was completed by others such as Pininfarina, Zagato, and Bertone. Therefore, the ‘real essence’ of historic Alfas often lies beneath the coachwork.
Did we say “Forty years?” True, and it’s hard to believe that the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo first opened on December 18th 1976, born to commemorate and preserve the history of the Milanese brand.
Orazio Satta Puliga, head of design projects since the end of the Second World War, was a prime motivator for the construction of the Museum, and fortunately Satta found a great ally in President Giuseppe Luraghi. Subsequently, it was up to famous historian and engineer Luigi Fusi to assemble the collection and organize the exhibition in a new building.
In recent years, the museum was closed to the public for a complex renovation project by architect Benedetto Camerana. The museum re-opened its doors on 24 June 2015. Named ‘The Time Machine’ it is a modern structure that in its first year attracted more than 100 thousand visitors thanks to a fascinating exhibition that tells the history of Alfa Romeo. As such, the Museum is not only for the ‘Alfisti’, but also caters to a wider audience that includes the new generations. Still, the forty year celebration in December included a special event for the ‘Alfisti’… Alfa enthusiasts who drove an Alfa Romeo built during the ’76 model year participated in the parade on the test track next to the museum.
The museum is in Arese (Milan), Viale Alfa Romeo.
Opening Time: Open daily from 10 am to 18 pm. Closed on Tuesday.
For info: website www.museoalfaromeo.com Tel .: 02 4442 5511
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