It was Vitalstatistix, the chief of Asterix’s comic book village in Gaul, who’s one fear was that tomorrow the sky might fall on his head. But, as he sagely pointed out to himself as much as anyone else, ‘tomorrow never comes’.
We’re still waiting for Alfa Romeo’s tomorrow, and have wondered plenty over the last few decades whether it will ever come. When we have suggested in the past that Alfa Romeo’s portfolio of the last 30 years or more has been characterised by cars failing to get anywhere close to matching the promise of the brand, we’ve always been met by staunch supporters keen to point out the depressingly small number of exceptions to prove this rule.
And at least that’s encouraging, because when it comes to keeping the faith in a brand that had no right or reason to expect such loyalty for so long, surely the Alfisti are unrivalled? For this is a company that has produced some of the greatest cars in the world. Some won Le Mans, others brought home Formula 1 World Championships for their drivers. The road cars, from the 8C Monza of the Thirties to the Giuliettas of the Fifties, the Giulias of the Sixties and even the Alfasuds of the Seventies weren’t just great, they were the very best in the world at what they did.
So it is, as ever, to be hoped it can recover some of that form. And there are some signs, like the GTA version of the Giulia Quadrifoglio but perhaps more significantly the fact it now resides within the giant Stellantis group, which appears at last to be providing a sense of purpose and direction for some of the more underperforming brands under its wing.
And one thing is certain, even after all these years: should an Alfa Romeo be produced as good in its day as its forebears were back then, people would still come, lured back by the apparently immortal charm of that badge. It is what has kept the name alive these past three decades, and what makes industry top brass still itch to return Alfa Romeo to its former glories.