2010 Geneva Motor Show: Italy's Finest celebrate 100 Years of Alfa Romeo
Everyone likes a good party. Especially when there's something to celebrate. Like a big anniversary, for example. And this year's Geneva Motor Show had plenty.
Not only is the salon itself marking its 80th anniversary, but along with it Alfa Romeo is celebrating its landmark centenary. The storied Milanese auto marque founded way back in (you guessed it) 1910 came to Geneva to unveil the all-new Giulietta, a vital new product for the company. But that's not the end of it.
To help them celebrate, Alfa Romeo commissioned two of Italy's leading design houses to come up with their own vision for the form which the Alfa of the future should take. Follow the jump to read about the Alfa-fest in Geneva and view our photographs from the show floor.
Gallery: Geneva 2010: Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The first all-new product from Alfa Romeo since the introduction of the MiTo two years ago, the five-door Giulietta joins the three-door MiTo in replacing the 147 hatchback and anchoring the entry level of Alfa's line-up. Although its sports-premium classification make it prime competition for the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, the Giulietta is attractively priced closer to a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.
The Giulietta features some of the most advanced technology in the automotive industry today, including dual dry clutch transmission, MultiAir engine induction, Start & Stop engine management, stability control and an electronic differential. Six gasoline and diesel engines will range from 104 horsepower all the way up to the 232hp Quadrifoglio Verde.
Initially slated to be called the Milano, company executives conceded to irate workers protesting the plant's closure in Milan, and revived instead the long-retired Giulietta nameplate that adorned classic Alfas of yore. Production will take place in Cassino, further down towards the center of Italy and away from the traditional carmaking districts in the north, but crucially Alfa Romeo could produce the Giulietta in North America for local consumption in its long-anticipated return to American shores.
While Alfa itself grounded its celebrating in reality, it wasn't alone in the festivities. Like the venue chosen for the celebration, stoic Italian design house Pininfarina also celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. While Pininfarina may be best known for styling Ferraris, the carrozzeria has a long history of collaboration with Alfa Romeo, one which both companies sought to highlight this year. Pininfarina-designed Alfas date back to the 1930s and carry through to the Brera and Spider which the company still manufactures for Alfa Romeo today. Included along the way was the iconic Duetto (of The Graduate fame), which Pininfarina recalls with the strangely-named but beautifully-styled 2uettottanta.
The smooth and svelte concept car takes a classic two-seat "barchetta" body style. Its form, however, is only a vehicle (so to speak) for Pininfarina's vision for how the next generation of Alfa Romeos should be styled.
Not to be left behind, rival design house Stile Bertone came with an Alfa Romeo concept car of its own to participate in the celebrations as well. Fresh from a recent restructuring that followed bankruptcy and family feuds, Bertone is back on track with the Pandion concept. More radical than its Pininfarina counterpart, the Pandion garnered a significant amount of attention even in the action-packed Geneva Palexpo during the show. The design studio responsible for pioneering the forward-hinged scissor doors on the 1973 Lamborghini Countach fitted even more radical rear-hinged doors on the Pandion that extend nearly the entire length of the car from the rear wheel to the front fender. The wheels, grille and rear end, meanwhile, adopt a attractive shattered-glass design, helping Bertone celebrate not only the past 100 years of Alfa Romeo design, but look forward to the next century as well.