1957 Alfa Romeo Romeo 2 Furgone
1957 Alfa Romeo Romeo 2 Furgone
- Engine: 1290cc twin-cam four cylinder
- Transmission: 4 Speed manual FWD
- Year: 1957
- Registration: 127 XUU
- Mileage: 55,000
- Exterior Colour: Alfa red and spring water grey
- Interior colour and material: Black leather piped grey
- This Exceptionally rare Alfa Romeo commercial vehicle joined our Black & White Collection in August 2007, but was sadly sold in January 2014 due to a lack of use and storage space difficulties.
- According to the Alfa Romeo Museum archives this Romeo 2 was manufactured on September 11th 1957 in Alfa Romeos factory in Pomigliano d'Arco, near Naples in southern Italy, and sold new on October 2nd 1957 in Briana in the province of Novara, northern Italy, just west of Milano. This Romeo 2 Furgone (van) remained in that area with only four owners until 1998 when it was sold to an English Gentleman living in Los Angeles, California.
- On arriving at The Port of Los Angeles in July 1998 it joined his 110 plus European car, bus, commercial vehicle and motorcycle collection to be hired out to the Hollywood movie studios for use when creating European street movie scenes.
- After a two year search by us for a Romeo 2 or F12 van, this Romeo 2 was found and purchased sight unseen on August 24th 2007 through American eBay. We had it shipped back to England in a container by Kingstown-Shipping.co.uk, with our first viewing being when we collected it from Felixstowe Port on October 16th 2007.
- It is believed (at the time of writing) to be the only full panel (no side or rear windows) Romeo 2, F11 or F12 in the United Kingdom, and is complete with the exceptionally rare factory option of a full roof rack which it has worn since new.
- The odometer reading of 88,000 kilometres (55,000 miles) is believed to be genuine based on the amazing and remarkably original condition of the chassis and body.
- The original colours of the van are believed to be cream with a mid-blue roof, nose and lower section.
- In January 2008 the van commenced a complete nut-and-bolt body-off-chassis restoration by John Holden at Pure Bodies, near Andover, Hampshire. The Alfa Romeo period correct exterior colours chosen were Alfa Red (AR501) for the lower body section (below the side windows) with a light grey (AR701 - Acqua di fonte = Spring Water) upper body section, roof, and grille. The interior colour is also AR701 but with a satin finish. All of the paintwork was carried out by Sean Watson. The seats were trimmed in black leather with light grey piping by TA & JM Coburn of Swindon. The chassis, underside of the floor, and the wheel arches are black. Mechanically the van is standard, just as it left the factory.
- The restoration was finished in June 2009 with UK road registration being granted in the same month.
- On July 3rd 2009 the Romeo 2 was granted with FIVA Papers (Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens). FIVA Papers are granted on vehicles "which are accepted as being an important part of our industrial heritage" and are also proof of how the vehicle compares to it's original factory specification.
- In November 2009 the Romeo 2 was registered with RIAR (Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo) at the Automobilismo Storico Alfa Romeo (Alfa Romeo Museum) in the old factory grounds at Arese, Milano.
- Originally registered in Italy as NO 44981, then in California as 8D99022, and now in England as 127 XUU.
Events we have exhibited this Alfa Romeo at:
- NEC Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham, West Midlands, November 9th to 11th 2007 - prior to restoration.
- Cotswold Alfa Day, Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, June 28th 2009 - post restoration debut.
- Silverstone Classic, Silverstone Motor Circuit, Northamptonshire, July 26th 2009 - displayed on the Scuderia del Portello paddock stand.
- Goodwood Road Racing Club Annual Vehicle Display, Goodwood House, West Sussex, August 9th 2009 - 2nd place (by two votes) in the People's Choice award.
- Auto Italia Magazine Italian Car Day, Gaydon, Warwickshire, September 6th 2009.
- Classic and Sportscar Magazine Thatcham Classic, Berkshire, October 10th 2009.
- Manor Farm Fly In historic air craft day, West Berkshire, July 14th 2011.
A brief history of small Alfa Romeo commercial vehicles:
- Alfa Romeo produced their first commercial vehicle, a lorry based on the 20/30hp chassis, in 1914. Many lovely trucks followed and were produced by Alfa Romeo with their typical Italian design flair, but in the early 1950’s a smaller commercial vehicle was required. In 1954 the "Romeo" was introduced along side the larger Alfa Romeo trucks. Amazingly this vehicle in all its derivatives and models was produced right up until 1983.
- When the Romeo first appeared it was considered to be almost revolutionary despite its semi-traditional pressed steel box section chassis. To obtain the lowest possible loading platform front wheel drive was adopted, a courageous choice at the time employed by very few manufacturers. Fiat and Lancia did not build front wheel drive vans until the next decade.
- The engine choice was equally original. The petrol version used the twin overhead camshaft 1290cc unit of the Giulietta in 37 horse power form but the diesel engine (diesel was itself an unusual option in a small van at the time) was a supercharged two cylinder unit.
- There were numerous factory built variants of the Romeo, a normal panel van with no rear side windows, a van with two or three side windows depending on how many rows of passenger seats were fitted, pick-ups, flat-beds, normal cabs, crew cabs, minibuses, etc, etc. Added to this were countless conversions built by different coachbuilders such as car transporters, advertising units, mobile market stalls and other specialist vehicles.
- In 1956 the Romeo was replaced by the Romeo 2 and was visually identical except for the badging, and the model range was also unchanged.
- In 1967 when the front panel was updated with a wider chrome and mesh grille and the engine power was increased to 52 horse power the Romeo 2 became known as the A12 (A for autocarri - truck cab version with open chassis) and F12 (F for furgoni chiusi - closed van version). The A12 and F12 were fitted with a 1290cc (1.3) Alfa Romeo twin-cam "Nord" engine with 52 horse power driving the front wheels through a four speed gearbox, but in 1973 the A12 and F12 were also offered with a 4 cylinder Perkins Diesel engine as was fitted to the Giulia Saloon. The maximum speed for the A12 and F12 versions was approximately 115 kph and to reign in this tremendous velocity, disc brakes were fitted at the front with drum brakes at the rear. Between 1967 and 1971 the A11 and F11 were also available, visually identical to the A12 and F12 these had a lighter payload and a lower engine horsepower to enable them access into Italian cities that stipulated that for commercial vehicles to be allowed into the city centre the carrying capacity and horsepower had to be below certain amounts.
- The expensive to purchase A and F series vehicles remained in production largely unchanged with the final incarnation being revealed in 1977, with big black plastic radiator grilles replacing the chrome and mesh ones, and all the lovely chrome badging giving way to black adhesive stickers.
- Production ceased in 1983 after 17,299 A and F Series vehicles had been sold.