The Alfa Romeo 158 or Alfetta was one of the most successful
racing cars of all time. The 158 won its first race in 1938. During the war
the cars were put into storage. Thereafter the 158s enjoyed a dominance rarely
seen in motor racing.
They won their last three races in 1946, all four races entered in 1947 and all four races in l948. Alfa Romeo withdrew from racing in 1949 but returned to racing in 1950, winning all 11 races they entered.
Here the team cars are seen at the British Grand Prix in May 1950 when they took the first three places in the order Giuseppe Farina (number 2), Luigi Fagioli (number 3) and British guest driver Reg Parnell (number 4, nearest the camera). Car number 1 driven by Juan Fangio retired because of a broken connecting rod.
Farina went on to win the Drivers' World Championship, held for the first time in 1950. Fangio and Fagioli took second and third places.
During 1951 Alfa Romeo faced an increasingly strong challenge from Ferrari and they were defeated in the British Grand Prix. Despite subsequent defeats in Germany and Italy, Alfa Romeo driver Juan Fangio won his first World Championship.
A great era of racing came to an end
Alfa Romeo finally retired at the end of 1951.
Romeo 158 Specification (1950)
Engine: Straight-eight supercharged, twin overhead camshaft 1479 cc (58 x 70 mm) developing 310 bhp at 7500 rpm. Gearbox: 4-speed. Chassis: twin-tubular with front suspension by trailing arms and transverse leaf spring and rear suspension by swing-axles and transverse leaf spring. Wheelbase: 8 ft 2.5 in. Front track: 4ft 2 in.
Rear track: 4ft 4in. Overall length: 13ft 2in. Unladen weight: 15.3 cwt.