The “Storie Alfa Romeo” web series, which is based on the 110-year history of Alfa Romeo and where the stories that left a mark in the automotive world, continue to travel to the past.
Sherry; It continues with the “156”, which blends the characteristics of Alfa Romeo DNA such as power, lightweight structure and control. The 1997, one of the most successful models of the brand with over 2005 thousand units sold between 680-156, attracting one million people to dealers during the launch period when it was put up for sale, was named "Car of the Year" in 1998. Carrying its success to the tracks, 156 won 10 championships in 13 years in the Gran Turismo championship. DNA of 156 with common rail technology; It was built on the brand's Alfasud, 145 and 146 models and took its place among the unforgettable.
Among the Alfa Romeo models, the 156 has a special place among those that stand out with both sales figures and awards and sporting achievements. The success of the 1997, one of the best front-wheel drive cars ever produced, reaching over 2005 thousand units of sales until 680 after being put on the market in 156, undoubtedly lies behind the brand's long years of experience and technical improvements added to each other.
Alfa Romeo and front-wheel drive cars
Although the first cars produced in the world were rear-wheel drive, the idea of producing front-wheel drive cars has always impressed the designers. This situation prompted Alfa Romeo engineers at the end of the second world war. Satta Puliga and Busso started a front-wheel drive development program for the brand's 1900 model. In the early 1950s, studies were initiated on front-wheel drive and related power-transmission organs. However, these studies did not reach the industrialization stage. Later, Alfa Romeo decided to expand its product range with a model positioned below Giulietta in order to increase its sales. In this context, it is aimed to produce a fast automobile that will accelerate brand sales. New project; Rudolf Hruska, the 'father' of the various Giulietta versions, was entrusted with the design responsibility of the factory where it will be produced in addition to the new car. The result was the “Alfasud”, the first front-wheel drive model that Alfa Romeo designed and built a factory for a model. Rudolf Hruska evaluating Alfasud; “First of all it had to be front-wheel drive. "It should have been a five-seater car in a compact class, luxurious, premium and with a large trunk," he said.
Engine suitable for aerodynamic design
In Alfasud's 1.2-liter engine, a "boxer" type engine with opposed horizontal cylinders was preferred. Compared to the inline 4 cylinder, this was a lower build and more suited for an aerodynamic design. The unique "two-volume" body was created to improve luggage space and accessibility. In the applied architecture, the fuel tank is integrated under the rear seat instead of between the rear seat backrest and the trunk. Thus, an extremely large luggage with 400 liters was put into use. As this innovative application is more useful and safer, it became widespread in a short time and started to be used by other brands. Alfasud's first important order was taken by designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and was a huge commercial success. To make the most of the relationship between space and size, the young designer implemented the "high rear" design and connected the aerodynamic front to the rear with a flowing design line. Alfa Romeo reached its highest production volume since its establishment, with over 1972 million units in 1, when Alfasud entered production. Alfasud was produced between 1972 and 1984 per drive, with 900 thousand 925 units and went down in history as the best selling Alfa Romeo of all time.
Rational production processes
In 1986, Alfa Romeo was sold to Fiat Group from the state-owned IRI company that owned the brand from 1933 until this date. As with all industrial integration processes, the early years were devoted to making production and supply chains more rational. 1980's; In line with the "synergy" which is the password of all automobile manufacturers, it was the years when the production process and products became more and more standardized. While the use of many common parts became widespread due to costs, designers also had to adhere to strict restrictions that hinder creativity. In the following years, these rules were relaxed, as customers disliked exaggerated patterns and started looking for more original cars. The personality of the brands is back, and this milestone changed the history of turn-of-the-century car design.
High performance, sporty driving and new styles ...
After these processes, Alfa Romeo accelerated its return to its roots, and took action to revive the glorious racing team Alfa Corse, where the young Enzo Ferrari took its first steps. The 155 GTA model joined DTM in 1993, which was a show of strength for brands. The pilot Nicola Larini, who finished first in 20 out of 11 races, took Alfa Romeo to the top of the podium again, the first of which was the Nürburgring. The 164 model, designed by Pininfarina, hit the road in 1987 as the brand's first front-wheel drive flagship. Since then, the role of the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, which is part of the company, has become more and more important. Then, while the technology and processes used in Arese changed, new computer-aided systems were put into use to create design and prototypes. Working in integration with the platform design, the Centro Stile team was also involved in technological choices. The philosophy of always acting together of form and essence was once again revealed as a requirement of Alfa Romeo's understanding of beauty.
New product line designed
Centro Stile not only brought the design of a model to life, but also brought a whole series to life. Alfa Romeo entered the “C” segment in 1995 with its original two-volume architecture and 145 model. The two-and-a-half-volume version 146 followed the following year. Later, with the cooperation of Pininfarina, GTV and Spider sports models hit the road. The real turning point occurred with the 156 model. The front part of the 156, which is the perfect blend of power, innovation and sophistication, had a very striking design. When viewed from the front, the fenders, which are level with the body, offered a strong and fit appearance to the road. The relationship between glass and metal surfaces attracted attention, as it resembled a coupe rather than a sedan. While the rear door handles are hidden upwards in the glass lath, the smooth surfaces that stand out from the side bring a stylish but dynamic appearance. The car designed by Walter De'Silva; "It feels like it is still moving even when it is standing still," he made comments.
Also 156; It also resurrected the characteristic features of Carabo and Montreal models. Again, Alfa Romeo designers were inspired by the color of the 1938 model 8C 2900 B, inspired by the collection in the brand's museum. In this context, "Nuvola" blue with iridescent shine was developed with a layered coating.
Enhanced sportiness concept
For the Alfa Romeo 156, which aroused technical excitement besides its design, the concept of "advanced sportiness", which embodies power, lightness and control, was prioritized. Innovative materials such as magnesium or specially processed steel were used for this formula, which expresses the driving character of the brand. Highly sophisticated suspension systems were used and fine tuning of the mechanical system was made to improve handling performance and straight ahead stability. The Alfa Romeo 156, which won everyone's hearts with its design and driving features, not only was the most exciting sedan car of its time, but also made a name for itself with its success in motor sports. The model won 10 championships in 13 years at the Gran Turismo championship.
The birth of common rail
When the 156 model was offered for sale, it had six different engine options. For the first time, the Busso V6 engine was accompanied by three different “Twin Spark” engines that use dual ignition and four valve per cylinder technology together. In addition, Alfa Romeo started a revolution with an innovative approach and the 156 model became the first car in the world to hit the road with the "common rail" injection system. This technology enabled diesel engines to deliver performance, silence and comfort at the gasoline level for the first time. At an event held in Lisbon, Portugal, the 1.9 and 2.4 JTD versions of the car were tested by journalists and received great acclaim.
'Car of the Year' Award
The 156 also won the hearts of the public and critics, bringing Alfa Romeo the international "Car of the Year" award. A few years later, his younger brother 147, who took the road with the same platform, suspension and engines except for the same design language, won the same award in 2001.