Famed Alfa cloverleaf 90 years old
As with Ferrari’s prancing horse, Alfa Romeo’s own Quadrifoglio Verde graphic was used on World War I warplanes before its racing and high performance production cars adopted it, writes DAVE MOORE.
This year marks 90 years since the Quadrifoglio Verde or QV nomenclature was first used on an Alfa Romeo. The green four-leaf clover, a symbol of luck, celebrates 90 years of identifying Alfa Romeo’s racing cars, while the company’s higherperformance production machines have proudly displayed the badge since 1960. The current Giulietta and MiTo QV hatches carry the symbol. The origin of the symbol is lost in legend, but it was on the flags and heraldry of the aeroplanes of the 10th Caproni Bomber Squadron in the Great War. It is also part of the Italian Air Force’s current coat of arms, and it remains a symbol of Alfa Romeo’s philosophy. The first Alfa Romeo car to be adorned with the Quadrifoglio Verde was Ugo Sivocci’s RL, in which he won the 14th edition of the Targa Florio in 1923. Since then, all Alfa Romeo racing cars have been distinguished by the emblem. Sivocci’s was the first of the brand’s ten victories in the famous Sicilian event. The other drivers of the Alfa Romeo team – including a young Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Ascari and Giulio Ramponi – decided to adopt the lucky Quadrifoglio Verde for all other races as well. From that moment on, the Quadrifoglio Verde became synonymous with Alfa Romeo, though why it would take another 37 years to be used on special series of production models is unknown. It was the Quadrifoglio Verde that stood out against the dark red of Brilli Peri’s P2 when he won the first World Car Racing Championship at Monza in 1925. At the end of the 1920s, it was the Quadrifoglio Verde that distinguished the Alfa Romeos built by the parent company, from the Alfa Romeos with the prancing horse, which were managed on the racetrack by Scuderia Ferrari. In 1950 and 1951, Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio drove the Alfa Romeo 158 and 159 – the celebrated Alfettas – to victory in the first two Formula 1 World Championships. Then, in the 1960s, the emblem was the hallmark of the ready-torace version of the Giulia, called the TI Super, and sat beside the blue Autodelta triangle for a number of decades. Alfa Romeo’s racing activity carried on in the 1980s, after it returned to F1. Production Alfa Romeos have also carried the Quadrifoglio Verde, particularly high-performance models built from the 1960s to the 1980s. Some feature the symbol on the body, without an appearance in the official name. From the 1980s, others had Quadrifoglio Verde as part of their name. The 2013 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio Verde versions of the MiTo and Giulietta have assumed a place in that tradition, drawing on the heritage of performance, without compromising on efficiency, respect for the environment and convenience in everyday use.
Alfa Romeo 159: Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio drove Alfettas – to victory in the first two Formula 1 World Championships.