The Alfa Romeo story began when the "Società Italiana Automobili Darracq" was founded in 1906 to produce low cost cars. That company quickly ran into difficulties as the car market that had boomed since its creation at the start of the century now faltered so that car sales flagged. The factory that had been built in the Portello district of Milan was initially sold to a group of Italian car enthusiasts who called themselves "Alfa Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili" which then went into liquidation before being taken over in 1915 first by the engineer Nicola Romeo and then by his company "Accomandita Ing. Nicola Romeo e Co.".
Nicola Romeo was born in S. Antimo near Naples in 1876. He graduated in engineering in 1900 and spent some years gaining work experience abroad. He then returned to Italy where in 1911 he founded the company "Ing. Nicola Romeo e Co." to manufacture mining machinery and equipment.
In 1915 that company purchased the Portello factory and began manufacturing military equipment; World War I had started and the Italian government had increasingly urgent need of trucks and engines.
When the War ended in 1918 the company changed its name to "Società Anonima Ing. Nicola Romeo & Co." having taken over a number of smaller firms.


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