Updated: Apr 26
Over the last thirty years, no shortlist of "worst" or "ugliest" cars has ever failed to include the Alfa Romeo Arna. My latest book revisits the most controversial chapter in the Milanese marque's 110-year history.
Seemingly everyone that has even a passing interest in cars has an opinion about the Arna. A negative one.
Yet hardly anyone has any experience with the car itself, given not many were made and the last one was sold, presumably thanks to much smooth-talking and a sizable discount, back in 1987.
If you follow my YouTube channel, then you know I'm an automotive historian with a taste for a good "underdog" story.
Tired of hearing the same old prejudices repeated time and again and passed off as the accepted truth, I've taken it to myself to write the first documented history of the Alfa Romeo Arna.
Here are a couple of extracts from it, enjoy...
"The validity of the technical choices made by Rudolf Hruska back in the late 60s allowed Alfa Romeo to reuse the Alfasud's underpinnings for the new 33, and all the better for it: Alfa could no longer afford to develop an entirely new car on its own, much less two.
That's the reason that led president Massacesi to seek out a "partner" for the "920" project: the new entry-level model of the Alfa Romeo range.
At this point, it's important to remember the most critical factors behind Massacesi's decisions:
1) The target was to saturate the Pomigliano D'Arco factory, so the new car would have to utilize the Alfasud's engines and transmissions. What Massacesi (Alfa's president) and Innocenti (Alfa's CEO) were after was to share, or possibly avoid altogether, the massive investments that new body tooling required.
2) Back then, the development time of a new car was around four to five years, an amount of time Alfa Romeo did not have.
On the 30th of April 1979, the top managers of Alfa Romeo and Nissan met in secret at Alfa's proving ground at Balocco, midway between
Turin and Milan (...)"
"The two companies had less than two years to integrate the Alfasud drivetrain into the "N12" generation Nissan Cherry that was already in development in Japan, plus build a new factory in the Avellino area, 70 Kms from the Salerno port and 50 Kms from the Alfasud factory. Building an additional factory to resolve a production overcapacity issue may sound counterintuitive, and that's because it is."
The book is available in both paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon.