Story and Photos by Hugh Doran
The Alfasud, virtually unknown in the U.S., was very popular in Great Britain and today is considered an up and coming classic. Our thanks to Hugh Doran who originally sent this story to us in 2006.
We here in Great Britain heard a lot about the north-south divide back in the late 1970s and early 80s, only no one ever seemed to state exactly where the border between the two was. You could be forgiven for thinking that the south had all the yuppies and the north of Britain was unemployed. Thus most people in the south considered it to be “grim up north”. Things are different these days.
Italy too, had a north-south divide. The only difference was that it was the north that was industrialized and rich and “Il relativo giù del sud torvo” – it was grim down south. The Italian government wanted to readdress the balance some what and came up with a scheme whereby companies would be given grants to set up in the south. Now, at the time Alfa Romeo, was still partly a state owned company so they were more or less obliged to do something in the south.
It just so happened that the company owned some land at Pomigliano d’Arco on the outskirts of Naples, where they manufactured aero engines. But what the company really wanted to do in Naples was manufacture cars. The matter in question was should they move one of the existing assembly lines south, and if so which one, or should they build a completely new product. The decision was taken to start from scratch with a new car. A car that would be known as the Alfasud – Alfa south.