Historic Alfa Romeo museum reopens for 105th birthday

1 July, 2015

Alfa Romeo have completed grand renovations to their ‘La macchina del tempo — Museo storico Alfa Romeo’ museum in Arese (near Milan), which reopened to the public on June 30.

Translating to ‘The time machine — Alfa Romeo historical museum’, the museum’s changes have resulted in it becoming one of Italy’s most stunning monuments to motoring. Depicting more than 100 years of history across its three floors, the museum will house 69 different Alfa Romeos. These range from their first-ever production car, the 24 HP, to various Formula 1 and sports cars, including a championship-winning Juan Manuel Fangio Alfetta 159.

In an aim to define Alfa Romeo, each floor represents a distinct element of the company’s heritage. Titled ‘Timeline’, the first floor features cars that are said to best embody the development of the marque. The ground floor, titled ‘Beauty’, will unsurprisingly focus on the most beautiful cars Alfa Romeo have built, as well as the various phases of design that have influenced the brand. And finally, the basement level of the building, titled ‘Speed’, will highlight their motorsport achievement via some of their most well-known race cars.

Built in 1976, the museum faced its first closure in 2009 after its supporting Arese production plant was decommissioned. It was briefly reopened in 2010 to celebrate the brand’s 100th birthday, but was once again closed in February 2011.

It has been a busy month for the Italians following their recent unveiling of the 2016 Giulia Quadrifoglio four-door performance sedan (check out our coverage and gallery here). The Giulia is also on display at the museum; this being the first time it will be seen in the metal by the public.

Along with the car displays and the supporting test track, the museum also includes a bookshop, cafe, and documentation centre.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.