The "Alfetta" name originated from the nickname of the Tipo 'B' 158 which won the first world Formula One drivers championship in the hands of Giuseppe Farina in 1950. In 1951, none other than Juan Manuel Fangio made it two championships in a row for the Alfetta in the Tipo 'B' 159.
The reason Alfa named it's new saloon after it's famous grand prix car is that both share the same basic layout of a front mounted engine with a rear mounted gearbox. The Alfetta sedan was the first production based car to be designed in this way so the link to Alfa's Formula One glory days is justifiable.
Whilst there is only one third of a litre difference in the capacity of the orignal Alfetta and the production car, the Grand Prix engine was supercharged to keep up with the much larger capacity Ferraris.
The Alfetta name began in 1972 with the 1.8 litre sedan and was finally put to rest with the last GTV model in 1987, of course the Alfa Romeo GTV name plate has been recently resurrected by Alfa through it's new coupe. The final year for the saloon was, at least locally, 1985 with the GCL Gold Cloverleaf (see "profile" for exhaustive list of models).
Alfa released the Alfa Romeo Alfetta between the smallish Alfa Romeo Giulia Super and the ageing Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina sedans. It was intended to be a genuine sporting saloon despite it's conservative styling. Only the flared guards offering a hint to the advanced and performance orientated engine, drivetrain, suspension and weight distribution.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Super was a little too small to be considered a genuine four seater and the 2000 was aimed at a slightly more elite market. The alfetta was directed squarely at the "family man" (yes it is out dated but it was 1972) who needed the practicality of a sedan but was still after some sporting thrills if he so desired.