Alfa Romeo celebrates Quadrifoglio’s 100th anniversary

This year, Alfa Romeo celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Quadrifoglio becoming part of Alfa Romeo lore. In 1923, team racing driver and eternal second-place finisher Ugo Sivocci painted a four-leaf clover inside a white square on his RL “Corsa” single-seater developed to win the Targa Florio. Sivocci won the race, giving Alfa Romeo its first international victory. A few months later, Sivocci went to Monza to test the P1 for the Grand Prix of Europe. He hadn’t painted a four-leaf clover on the #17 P1 he drove, and he died during practice. True, correlation is not causation, but it’s hard to find a more superstitious bunch than racing teams drivers. The Italians retired #17 from racing vehicles, and from 1924 every Alfa Romeo featured a Quadrifoglio on the bodywork inside of a triangle instead of a square. The missing point represented the loss of Sivocci.

Since then, those green leaves have identified Alfas among the sea of other red Italian single seaters from competitors like Ferrari and Maserati. Of course, sometimes the cars didn’t need such help, the lines on models like the TZ and P33 iconic enough to forgo further distinction.

The Milanese added Quadrifoglio versions of production cars in the 1960s, but didn’t make it part of official production names until the 1980s. Following that, the branding expanded into two clovers, a Quadrifoglio Oro (gold) denoting luxury versions, a Quadrifoglio Verde for sporty variants. Then came even wider use as the single letter “Q” for features like the Q2 locking differential and Q4 all-wheel drive.

Centro Stile Alfa Romeo tweaked the logo, the graphic to appear at brand events that will kick off on the official centenary June 25. That’s been dubbed “Quadrifoglio Day,” host to a “Backstage” conference and parade open to all of Alfa Romeo clubs.   

This year is also the 60th anniversary of Alfa Romeo’s Autodelta racing division. Equivalent to an AMG or M division for the Italians, predating both German versions, the famous Alfa Romeo racing cars like the 1965 Giulia Sprint GTA and the 1975 33 TT 12 sports car racer emerged from the Autodelta workshops. These celebrations will come first, on March 5, punctuated by a conference at the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, Milan.

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