“The Alfa Romeo 156— my extremely initial substantial project– will constantly take a unique location in my heart. Every single time I see one, I recognize it’s a work of art that does not age”– Walter de’ Silva, 2012
When we look back upon the turn of the millennium as well as the early 21st century, it is doubtless that Walter de’ Silva will be seen as among car design’s most prominent protagonists of that period.
Having functioned at Fiat and at the I.DE.A institute throughout the early 1980s, de’ Silva took a setting at Alfa Romeo in 1986. By the mid-90s, he was the design supervisor there.
Alfa Romeo experienced some sizzling times throughout De’ Silva’s early years there, and also this had actually influenced the business’s design part, Alfa Romeo Centro Stile. The 164 executive sedans had been outsourced to Pininfarina, and also in 1987, Fiat took economic control of Alfa Romeo (certainly de’ Silva was one of the really last individuals hired by Alfa Romeo before Fiat took control of).
The very first vehicle introduced under Fiat possession was the front-wheel-drive 155, which changed the rear-wheel-drive 75. Like the 164, the 155 was outsourced, this time to the I.DE.A institute, although its Fiat group genes were clear.
The idea that the 155 was not a proper Alfa Romeo and combined testimonials motivated a comprehensive auto racing program to boost the automobile’s photo. Development programs were reshuffled in the wake of the Fiat takeover, and the 164 flagship sedan would certainly be one decade old by the time it was replaced.
As the middle of the 90s showed up, however, Alfa appeared to be regaining energy with the 145 and also 146 hatchback as well as a compact sedan (the very first Alfa manufacturing automobiles credited to De’ Silva), as well as the Pininfarina styled GTV as well as Crawler cars twins, which premiered a brand-new series of Fiat-based 16 shutoff Twin Spark engines that at some point also discovered their way into the 145, 146 as well as 155.
It was unpreventable then that a great deal of interest would certainly be concentrated on the 155’s substitute, both internally at Alfa Romeo and also from journalism.
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Fiat management, led by president Paolo Cantarella, understood that such was the significance of Tipo 932 (as the job was recognized during the growth phase), they pushed it past the 164’s substitute (which ultimately damaged cover as the 166) in the advancement timetable.
A genuine declaration of Alfa Romeo’s future also came in 1996 with the Nuvola idea vehicle, a two-door Gran Turismo which took care of to be wed cutting edge technology with timeless Alfa Romeo iconography and worths, a unique blend that would certainly characterize the marque’s new designs in the coming years.
” We tried to create an auto that had all the personality the 155 had not had the ability to provide because it had actually been subjected to hard design constraints”– Mario Favilla, Alfa Romeo Advanced Design and Alfa Romeo Centro Stile Public Relations.
It was late 1993 when three styling houses, Pininfarina, ItalDesign Giugiaro and Alfa Romeo’s very own Centro Stile, initially put forward early propositions for the Tipo 932 quick. Inevitably, it was the interpretation of the Centro Stile which obtained approval, with Walter de’ Silva as head of the workshop and Antonio Rosti as the primary developer for the general 932 tasks, while Zbigniew Maurer leads the exterior design.
Arcangelo Jeker, Giulio Fantin and Vincenzo Ferreri lead the design of the inside, and Simona Falcinella headed up the shade and materials element of the project. Although the brand-new version would eventually strike showrooms as the Alfa Romeo 156, within the design team the job became called ‘Giulietta’, in reference to the cutting-edge design of the exact same name which was an essential juncture for Alfa Romeo in the 1950s that gave much motivation to the Alfa Romeo 156 design group, as well as various other classic Alfas consisting of the Giulia and also 1900.
The brand-new automobile’s design was authorized in 1994 as well as the 156 made its launching to a satisfied target market at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, making its 155 precursors and a number of its contemporary competitors appear quickly boring.
Traditional Alfa Romeo styling hints had actually been pleasantly and playfully re-imagined, such as the ‘scudetto’, the immediately recognizable shield-shaped grille, which currently appeared to secure the styling of the whole cars and truck, resting proudly atop the ‘comet’– the bulge that began at the base of the scudetto as well as continued over the hood.
The two ‘pencil stroke‘ lines on the flanks were an evolution of the unabridged body fold that had been an Alfa Romeo 156 design signature for a long time, and despite showing up softer and a lot more advanced than the crease still handled to maintain its sporty and aggressive effect while positioning a subtle emphasis on the wheels.
There was also a hat idea to the four-round headlamps which have appeared on numerous famous Alfa Romeos 156 in the two-round reflectors snuggled inside each headlamp cluster.
These historical aspects were skillfully incorporated with refreshingly contemporary and innovative touches such as the door handles– the fronts a beautiful piece of metalwork providing an impression of high quality at first touch, while the backs were smartly camouflaged as part of the glazing so as to not interrupt the back ‘pencil stroke’ and also enhance the 156’s coupe-like look.
With the effective 1997 launch of the 156 out of the method, Alfa Romeo turned its attention to expanding the range by including an extra functional estate model to the Alfa Romeo 156 arrays. The Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon made its debut in March 2000 at the Geneva motor show.
Normally, Alfa Romeo Centro Stile dealt with the design, although assessment was sought at the beginning from Bertone and I.DE.A institute. Throughout this duration, Walter de’ Silva and also Wolfgang Egger relocated to SEAT and also started their professions at Volkswagen Group, while Andreas Zapatinas took control of the function of the head of the Centro Stile.
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Unlike various other estate cars and trucks of the sportiness, age, as well as style, were high up on Alfa Romeo‘s schedule. The C pillar was outstanding raked, and also the roofline was coupe-like in its lengthy, mild curve towards the back of the vehicle.
To minimize the effect of this on the tailgate opening, the tailgate hinges were pushed far from the back glass, suggesting the tailgate opening incorporated the tracking edge of the roof covering.
|Displacement||1,598 cc (97.5 cu in)|
|Valves||16 DOHC VVT|
|Max. power output||120 PS (88 kW; 118 hp) at 6,300 rpm|
|Peak torque||144 N⋅m (106 lb⋅ft) at 4,500 rpm|
|Top speed||200 km/h (124 mph)|
|Displacement||1,910 cc (117 cu in)|
|Max. power output||105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 4,000 rpm|
|Peak torque||255 N⋅m (188 lb⋅ft) at 2,000 rpm|
|Top speed||188 km/h (117 mph)|