In pre-war days Alfa Romeos enjoyed mixed fortunes on the
race track. They made their first post-war appearance in June 1946 in the
St Cloud Grand Prix, France.
Alfa Romeo withdrew from racing in 1949, but returned the following year with more powerful versions of the 158 and a new team of drivers consisting of Giuseppe Farina, Juan Fangio and Luigi Fagioli. It was a very mature team and the youngest at 39 was Fangio.
In 1950 Alfa Romeo won all 11 races entered and Farina gained the newly inaugurated Drivers' World Championship. More powerful cars raced at the end of the year and were known as the 159.
By 1951 the 159s were developing 405 bhp. The year evolved into a titanic battle between the overdeveloped, voraciously thirsty 159s and the less powerful, but much more economic unsupercharged Ferraris.
Defeat for Alfa Romeo finally came in the British
Grand Prix and Fangio is seen here in vain pursuit of Froilan Gonzalez
who won by 51 seconds.
However Fangio still went on to win the first of his five Drivers' Championships
and at the end of the year Alfa Romeo withdrew from Grand Prix racing.
Alfa Romeo 159 specification
Engine: straight-eight supercharged, twin overhead camshaft 1479 cc (58 x 70 mm) developing approximately 405 bhp at 9500 rpm (bench) Gearbox: 4-speed. Chassis: twin-tubular with front suspension by trailing arms and transverse leaf spring and rear suspension by either swing-ax1es and transverse leaf spring or de Dion axle and radius rods. Wheelbase: 8ft 2.5in. Front track: 4ft 2in. Rear track: 4ft 4in.
Overall length: l3ft 2in. Unnladen weight: 15.3 cwt.