The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Isn't A First For Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the company's first SUV, but it's certainly not its first truck.

Alfa actually started building trucks in the 1930s, and in the early 1950s, it built some Jeep-like vehicles for the Italian military and a 1952 AR 51, is heading up for auction in America where it's expected to sell for around $55,000.

The AR 51 and its civilian sibling, the AR 52, gained the nickname "Matta," the Italian word for "crazy." Apparently, this name was a reference to its impressive off-road abilities.

It's powered by a version of Alfa's 1900cc twin-cam four-cylinder that was also used in the 1900 sedan. It makes around 65 horsepower, and interestingly, is dry-sumped. This was an advanced road-car engine for its day, and there was certainly nothing else like it in any other military vehicles.

The engine is hooked up to a four-speed manual transmission with a low-range gearbox that sends power to all four wheels. The Matta also has independent front suspension, which is unusual for an off-roader like this.

This Matta was first delivered to the Italian military in 1952, with its first private registration coming in 1978. It was recently restored to original military specifications, and shows 69,000 km on its odometer.

So if you fancy a bit of history why not make a bid. Alternatively you can call in to Mangoletsi this week and test drive the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio! Find out more about the Stelvio here.