There are many wonderful things built and created in Italy that the country has become well-known for. One of these is cars and Italy is known in the auto industry for manufacturing top quality, luxury cars. Here are the top six Italian car manufacturers and a little information about each of them.
For many people, the Ferrari is their ultimate dream car. Founded in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari, this company was initially the racing team for Alfa Romeo and were called Scuderia Ferrari. Alf withdrew their cars in 1933 and Ferrari did not begin to manufacture road cars until 1947. The 1949 Mille Miglia race saw the launch of the first Ferrari racing car and Ferrari are the only team that can boast they have been part of Formula One racing since it was founded in 1950 and they dominated the Formula One circuits between 2000 and 2004. In addition to cars, Ferrari licenses many products under its name. These include perfume, cologne, clothing, electronics, eyewear, watches, and bicycles. Enzo Ferrari died in 1988.
The Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto, founded Maserati in Bologna in 1914. However, the first Maserati was not built until 1926. Alfieri Maserati drove one of their earlier models to victory in the Targa Florio in 1926. The brothers sold their shares in the company to Adolfo Orsi. In spite of this, they continued to work for Maserati as engineers. In 1947, the brothers left and founded OSCA, a rival company. After several takeovers from various other car manufacturers, Fiat bought Maserati in 2005 and merged it with Alfa Romeo.
Ferruccio Lamborghini founded Automobili Lamborghini in 1963. Lamborghini was a former mechanic who originally built a tractor company that became Italy’s largest farming equipment manufacturer. His obsession with luxury cars meant that his collection included Ferraris, Lancias, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos. He worked with top designers to build the ultimate grand touring car and launched the Lamborghini 350GTV at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. Although Lamborghini showed impressive growth over a decade, sales were affected by the oil crisis in 1973 and this led Lamborghini to sell his tractor company and also 51 percent of Automobili Lamborghini. The remaining shares were sold in 1974. Ownership has changed many times since then, but the company is currently owned by Volkswagen. The company still employs Italian designers and many of the models are still produced in Italy.
Founded in 1906 by racing drivers Claudio Fogolin and Vincenzo Lancia, Lancia Automobiles is well-known for producing distinctive cars. When Vincenzo died in 1937, his son and wife took over the company. Lancia is famous for leading the way in the automobile industry with many innovations. Just two of these include the first V6 engine and the first 5 speed gearbox. Fiat purchased the company in 1969.
5. Alfa Romeo
Known initially simply as ALFA, the company was founded in Milan in 1910. The first car manufactured was the 24 HP and then ALFA entered two of its cars in the Tanga Floria racing event the following year. Nicola Romeo took over as director of the company in 1915 and the company changed its name to Alfa Romeo in 1920. 1n 1941, Alfa Romeo were commandeered by Mussolini to build cars for the wealthy. Following the war, the company began to mass-produce small cars. The Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine was developed in 1954. Alfa Romeo has taken part in many racing events, including Formula One. The Alfa Romeo brand was sold to Fiat in 1986.
Fiat is actually an acronym for ‘Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino’. A group of investors, including Giovanni Agnelli, founded this company in 1899 and within 25 years Fiat dominated the car industry in Italy. Fiat sells cars across the globe and has won the European Car of the Year award on twelve occasions. This manufacturer makes a wide range of vehicles, including sports cars, small road cars, trucks, and vans. Fiat became a holding company in 1979 and span of its various businesses. They acquired Alfa Romeo in 1986 and then Maserati in 1993. Fiat is now a conglomerate and the largest industrial organization in Italy.
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