28/4/1876 - 15/8/1938
Record updated 28-Apr-20
Nicola Romeo, was born near Naples in 1876, graduating in engineering in 1900 before travelling overseas to gain wider work experience. On his return to Italy in 1911, Romeo starts his own company, producing mining machinery and other associated heavy equipment. His purchase of the ailing ALFA concern, is apparently not even motivated, initially at least, by any desire to build cars. Instead, it's generally accepted that he purchases the ALFA company to simply gain control of the Portello factory - using it to manufacture military equipment to support his country's involvement in the First World War. With production successfully underway at the factory, Romeo is soon encouraged to start assembling trucks by the transportation starved Italian government …and so begins Alfa Romeo's vehicle manufacture under Nicola's ownership.
By the time the First World War has ended in 1918, Romeo had further acquired several other manufacturing companies - and in the company's first post war prospectus, published on the 3rd of February 1918, he grandly announces that the purpose of the new company is ..."the construction and management of engineering, steel, agricultural, mining, chemicals and quarrying companies with particular emphasis on military, aviation, marine and agricultural equipment as well as the building of internal combustion engines for all possible applications in airplanes, automobiles, locomotives and other wheeled transport"!
In 1927 the company came close to liquidation, thanks in part to the collapse of its majority shareholder, the Banca Italiana di Sconto. Thankfully however, Alfa Romeo’s reputation was already well established in Europe and America and the company was rescued. But the dictates and changes forced upon the company werer too much for Nicola Romeo, and he severed all links with the company that bears his name, in 1928.
He was married to Angelina Valadin and had 7 sons (Maurizio, Edoardo, Nicholas, Elena, Giulietta, Piera and Irene)
He passed away serenely on 15 August of the 1938 at its house on Lake Como.