Cloverleaf or in Italian ‘Quadirfoglio’ (four leaf) badges go way back to 1923, when Alfa works driver Ugo Sivocci, presented one to the team who was driving in the Targa Florio that year as a good luck symbol. From that moment on, the green four-leaf clover badge would signify high performance, competition models.
- Anthony Crawford
Sadly, Ugo was tragically killed that same year, while testing the Alfa Romeo P1 Grand Prix car at Monza, where he ran off the road and overturned. The car had the number ‘17’, which was never used again on any of their race cars.
I have a soft spot for the Alfa badge; I’ve owned two, a 2.0-litre Spyder and a 1750 GTV. Both cars were products of the seventies when the Italian carmaker was building some very special looking cars, which both went, and handled, with a deliberate sports attitude.
The only Cloverleaf car I ever driven, was an all time favourite of mine, a GTV 6 which belonged to one of the old man’s mates who had a few dollars. The exhaust note was race car like and the ride and handling was as impressive as it’s straight-line speed. Those were the Alfa days!
Whilst the marque itself has made a return to building beautiful sports cars in the guise of at least the GT and Brera, performance is somewhat dull and uninspiring.
It seems that these days, the four-leaf clover badge represents high-end variants with the right ‘look’ but without the right performance numbers on the dial.
Take the top shelf GT 1.89 JTDm 16V Q2 powertrain with just 127kW. You will need a whole 8.2 seconds to accomplish the ritualistic 0-100km/h sprint and top speed of just 216km/h which could only be described as average.
It’s a shame, as Alfa Romeo enthusiasts deserve better than this. However to be fair, the Alfa buyer these days appears to care less about performance than the styling of the cars.
All the GT Cloverleaf variants will be fitted with gorgeous 18-inch double spoke alloys, red brake calipers, satin-effect door mirrors and front grille.
Three out of four versions will sport a Cloverleaf badge on the boot lid while the range topper places the leaf inside a white triangle above the front wheel arch.
Inside, the high-end treatment continues with leather sports seats, aluminium pedals and instrument dials with a red background. Audio is by Bose featuring their RDS radio with CD and MP3 reader.
"Come on Alfa, how about some real value for money performance. It’s not like you haven’t been there before"