JUNE 2013 - This year marks the 90th anniversary of the ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ – green four leaf clover – the legendary symbol that has identified Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage, as well as some of its sportiest production models.
The origin of this symbol has been lost in legend, but it is interesting to note its correspondence with the flag that distinguished the aeroplanes of the ‘10th Caproni Bomber Squadron’ in the Great War.
Today, the Quadrifoglio is part of the Italian Air Force’s coat of arms, while at the same time it remains the symbol of Alfa Romeo’s philosophy – based on the constant pursuit of excellence applied to competitions and then completely transferred to its production vehicles.
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 of Alfa’s racing cars were distinguished by this emblem and renowned lucky charm, while certain standard production Alfa Romeos from the 1960s onwards have also worn the QV badge.
The Giulietta and MiTo QV models carry the famous Quadrifoglio forward into a new era and assume a place in the tradition of the best Alfa Romeos, drawing on the heritage of dynamic performance, without compromising on efficiency, respect for the environment and convenience in everyday use.
The symbol recognised on race circuits and streets throughout the world
The ‘Quadrifoglio’ became an emblem indissolubly linked to Alfa Romeo in 1923, when Ugo Sivocci raced in the Targa Florio with this symbol painted on the bonnet of his ‘RL’, achieving the first of the brand’s ten victories in this prestigious competition.
Victory followed a perfect race – 432 kilometres of the Madonìe Circuit (4 laps of 108 km each) at an average of 59.040 km/h, a speed that was amazing at the time, especially considering the pitfalls and roughness of the course.
Alfa Romeo’s success was so clear that the other drivers of the Alfa Romeo team – including Enzo Ferrari, Antonio Ascari and Giulio Ramponi – decided to adopt the lucky ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ for all other races as well. From this moment on, the Quadrifoglio Verde became the symbol of Alfa Romeo race cars and was later also used on special series of production models, to demonstrate the continuity between Alfa’s ‘touring’ cars and those designed for competition.
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, the first of the five world titles that Alfa Romeo won.
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 Quadrifoglio Verde was the hallmark of the ‘ready-to-race’ version of the Giulia, called the TI Super, and then sat beside the blue Autodelta triangle for a number of decades, from the GTA to the 33 and up to the two World Championships of the 33 TT 12 (1975) and the 33 SC 12 (1977).
Alfa Romeo’s racing activity carried on in the 1980s: after it returned to F1 in 1980, the successes in racing for touring cars were repeated (GTV 6 2.5) up to the resounding victory in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Mesterschaft) with the 155 V6 Ti in 1993 and the long series of wins by the 156 Superturismo (1998–2004).
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, such as the Giulia TI Super, Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, 1750 GT Veloce – which actually featured gold coloured Quadrifoglio badging – and the Alfasud Sprint.
From the 1980s onward, others have Quadrifoglio Verde as part of their official name, such as the Alfasud ti Quadrifoglio Verde, the Sprint Quadrifoglio Verde, the various versions of the 33 Quadrifoglio Verde, the 75 Quadrifoglio Verde, the Spider 2.0 Quadrifoglio Verde, the 164 Quadrifoglio Verde and the 145 Quadrifoglio Verde.
The ‘Quadrifoglio Verde’ legend continues on current Giulietta and MiTo models
Distinguished by the legendary emblem, the Quadrifoglio Verde versions of the MiTo and Giulietta have assumed a place in the tradition of the best Alfa Romeos, drawing on the heritage of dynamic performance, without compromising on efficiency, respect for the environment and convenience in everyday use.
In particular, the exclusive 173 kW Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde 1750 TBi offers the most high-performance engine in the range and an authentic sports set-up that delivers driving pleasure with surprisingly limited consumption and emissions for this power rating.
The 1750 TBi boasts a specific torque output of 195 Nm/litre (the highest of all petrol engines in the category) and an outstanding 340 Nm peak torque achieved at just 1,900 rpm. The engine features some cutting-edge technological solutions, including direct petrol injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary ‘scavenging’ control system that eliminates so called ‘turbo lag’.
The 125 kW MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde 1.4 MultiAir Turbo also ensures excellent performance, offering a specific power value (124 HP/litre) among the highest in the world. Moreover, the pièce de résistance of this engine version is its exceptional weight/power ratio (6.7 kg/HP), which has always been one of the key factors behind the success of Alfa Romeo cars on the road and the racetrack.
Thanks to their sports and safety characteristics, the Quadrifoglio Verde versions of the MiTo and Giulietta have played the role of Official Safety Car in various seasons of the SBK Superbike World Championship. Alfa Romeo has been its major sponsor since 2007, sharing the same values of sportsmanship, technology and safety at the highest levels.