Last summer's third national Alfa Romeo day in Brazil drew some truly stunning historic machines (above) that brought to life once again the FNM history, led out by an original white FNM 2000 JK from 1960. Joining it on the beautiful manicured lawns was a red FNM 2000 Onça (less than 10 units were ever made of this Mustang-inspired design), the red FNM 2150 Fúria (a competition prototype which is now powered by an Italian Alfa 2000 engine), and a silver FNM 2150 Fúria GT (street prototype). Photos: ARCMG.

Although Alfa Romeo isn't present in Brazil today, despite this being Fiat's biggest global market, the sporty brand hailing from Milan had a long and very fascinating history in this Latin American country before it exited this market almost quarter of a century ago; and this weekend Alfa Romeo enthusiasts will gather in the city of Caxambu, Minas Gerais, for a weekend meeting to celebrate their passion for these unique Italian cars.

This will in fact be the fourth National Alfa Romeo Day to be held in Brazil (following events in 2004, 2006 and 2010); it is dubbed Encontro Alfa Romeo 2011, and is being organised by Club ARCMG, in partnership with the AlfaRomeoBr Group, and the Scuderia Grande ABC Club.

Alfa Romeo has historically seen the majority of its sales coming across the European markets; however it has found affection and loyal followings across the global thanks to its succession of stylish, sporty cars - in the past even assembling cars in nations as far flung as Argentina, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia - and Brazil. It commands favour from dedicated and passionate enthusiasts in many dozens of countries, and Brazil is simply no exception. But here the story is both unique and interwoven into the local automotive fabric. Not only did Alfa Romeo build its cars here in the past, including unique models to this market, but it had a long a fascinating tie-in with domestic car and commercial vehicle maker FNM, which started carrying the famous Alfa Romeo 'heart' on its vehicles in the early 1960s, before the Italian concern finally took control.

The richness of this history, which spawned cars such as the FNM 2150 and Alfa Romeo 2300, is kept alive by enthusiasts who still revere the sports marque from Italy and they now periodically get together for extravaganzas.

This year more than one hundred cars bearing the badge that derives from the coat of arms of the City of Milan, where the marque was founded 101 years ago, are expected to gather in Caxambu for the fourth national gathering and a unique richness not to be found at Alfisti gatherings anywhere else in the world will be on show thanks to the presence of at least ten FNM models.

The story of the Brazilian National Alfa Romeo days starts back in 2004 and 2006 where the organization of these two events was managed by passionate Alfisti Gustavo Carvalho de Barros. "The initial idea, to give life to the event Alfa Day Brasil, was to provide reassurance of the brand in our country, gathering the vehicles and Alfisti in one place," recalls Gustavo. Taking advantage of his contacts with the local government and the natural beauty of his city, Avaré, São Paulo, Gustavo decided to invest in the idea, getting support from Fiat Automóveis, the city mayor and local businessmen from the tourism sector. Held from 13 to 15 August 2004 in the beautiful setting of the Recinto de Exposições Dr. Fernando Cruz Pimentel in Avaré, the programme comprised of an exhibition of vehicles, lectures, presentation of documentaries and vehicles ride through the city.

The concept of the event was well received among the members of the Alfa Romeo BR group, and the gathering became the 1st Alfa Day Brasil a success both in terms of vehicles taking part and in the public presence. "So for the first time in Brazil, a national event brought together Alfa Romeo cars and FNM trucks, in an exclusive party," says Gustavo.

"With the success of the first edition, we went to the 2nd Alfa Day Brasil in 2006," he adds. That second event was also held in Avaré, São Paulo, but this time at the Villa Verde Hotel. The programme was similar to the first year, but expanded: an exhibition of vehicles, lectures, presentation of documentaries, vehicle ride through the city and a dinner themed fashion show, with the key models on show including the Alfa 2300 B, 2300 ti4, FNM JK 2000, FNM D-9500 and D-11000 (trucks), FNM Onça, Alfa Spider, 145, 155, 164, 166, 156, 156 Sportwagon, 147, Giulia GTV, Montreal and Giulietta.

There was a four year break before the third 'Alfa Day' was held in Araxá, a tourism-focused city in the west of the state of Minas Gerais, last year, as part of the XIX Encontro Nacional de Automóveis Antigos (Brazil Classics Fiat Show 2010) from June 02 - 06, one of the biggest dates on the classic car calendar which is organised by the Veteran Car Club do Brasil - MG that brings together collectors and around 300 old cars with more than 40,000 visitors attending.

This third Brazilian national Alfa Romeo event was sponsored by Fiat Automóveis and organised in partnership of ARCMG Club to celebrate not only 100 years of since Alfa Romeo was formed in Milan back in 1910 but also 50 years of Alfa Romeo being present in Brazil as the first model manufactured in locally was the FNM 2000 Modêlo JK (a local market version of the 1950s Alfa Romeo Berlina) which was launched on April 21, 1960, the same day as the inauguration of Brasília, the new capital of the country, by the President Juscelino Kubitscheck [J.K.], hence the model's name.

That event last summer drew some truly stunning historic cars that brought to life once again the FNM history, led out by an original white FNM 2000 JK from 1960. Joining it on the beautiful manicured lawns was a black 1965 FNM 2000, a red FNM 2150, a red FNM 2000 Onça (less than 10 units were ever made of this Mustang-inspired design), the red FNM 2150 Fúria (a competition prototype which is now powered by an Italian Alfa 2000 engine), a silver FNM 2150 Fúria GT (street prototype). Adding to the quarter of a century of history of Alfa Romeo's manufacturing operations in Brazil was a green 1979 Alfa Romeo 2300 ti (from 1978, the Brazilian built Alfa Romeo 2300 was actually made by Fiat at its massive plant in Betim, MG). These famous cars were joined by a string of historical Italian imports: Alfa 2000 Berlina (1973), Alfa Montreal (1973), Alfa GTV 1750, Alfa GTV 2000, Alfa Giulia GTC, Alfa 2600 Spider, Alfa Giulia Spider, Alfa Spider Duetto and Alfa Spider Coda Tronca, as well as more modern cars.

This weekend, 6/7 August, Brazilian Alfisti will gather for the occasion of Encontro Alfa Romeo 2011, the fourth national Alfa Romeo event to be in held in the country, scheduled to take place in the city of Caxambu, Minas Gerais, Brazil and promoted by the Club ARCMG, in partnership with AlfaRomeoBr and Scuderia Grande ABC. The programme will start on Saturday with Alfa Romeo owners making "road trips" from various cities across Brazil to Caxambu for a morning reception and exhibition (9:00 am - 12:00 pm), followed by lunch at the Hotel Glória (12:00 pm - 02:00 pm), an exhibition and tour in the Water Park of Caxambu (02:00 p.m. - 05:00 pm), a lecture and film focusing on Alfa Romeo (06:00 - 09:00 pm) and finally by dinner in the Hotel Gloria (09:00 pm). Sunday (August 7) will see the Alfisti taking breakfast at 8:00 am, followed by a morning meeting before the event closes at midday.

For more information on Encontro Alfa Romeo 2011 visit: http://www.arcmg.com.br

Alfa Romeo in Brazil: a history

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