Goodwood Greats – Alfa 159 Alfetta

Built to end the dominance of Auto Union and Mercdes-Benz in Grand Prix racing – Germany’s mighty Silver Arrows – the Alfa Romeo 159 Alfetta was a derivative of the 350bhp 158 Alfetta that won six out of seven races in the inaugural F1 World Championship in 1950 (and all five non-championship races) to give Giuseppe Farina the first F1 World Champion crown.

The 159 Alfetta was an altogether more modern machine. Like the 158 it was designed by Alfa’s head of design, Orazio Satta, but with modifications including De Dion-type rear suspension, a lighter, reinforced tubular frame, increased braking power, modifications to the body and a new gearbox. Power from the supercharged 1.5-litre straight-eight was now up to 425bhp, which was enough to propel one Juan Manuel Fangio to his first Formula 1 Championship victory in 1951 and Alfa Romeo’s second in succession.

Combined, the Alfa Romeo 158/159 ‘Alfetta’ is one of the most successful race cars in history taking 47 wins from 54 Grand Prix entered. Racing car royalty indeed.

This particular 159 Alfetta was built in 1951 and has come to Goodwood all the way from Alfa Romeo’s Museo Storico in Italy.

15 June 2014