Reviving its tradition of building special-bodied Alfa Romeos, including the original SZ (Sprint Zagato) competition coupé of the late 1950s, Carrozzeria Zagato unveiled its outrageous new SZ at the 1989 Geneva Salon. Built at Zagato’s factory at Terrazano di Rho, the SZ was a joint project that also involved the styling departments of both Alfa Romeo and its parent company, FIAT, whose Robert Opron was responsible for the initial sketches.
Originally typed ‘ES 30’ (Experimental Sports 3.0-litre) but known popularly as ‘Il Mostro’ (The Monster) the aggressive-looking two-seater coupé eschewed the rounded styling and aluminium-alloy coachwork hitherto associated with Zagato’s high-performance Alfas in favour of an angular bodyshell crafted in lightweight moulded plastic – alloy roof excepted – by Carplast, which was bonded to the floor pan of the existing Alfa 75. Lessons learned from the latter’s IMSA racing programme influenced the SZ’s suspension, which endowed the car with superlative handling and roadholding, some drivers recording lateral cornering forces of up to 1.4G during testing. Suspension development was overseen by engineer Giorgio Pianta, formerly team manager of the FIAT and Lancia works rallying teams. There was power assisted steering but no ABS.
Powering the SZ to its highly respectable 152mph top speed was a 210bhp version of Alfa’s superb 3.0-litre four-cam V6, widely recognised as one of the finest power plants of recent times. This excellent performance was achieved thanks partly to the body’s exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.30 Cd, the product of many hours spent in FIAT’s wind tunnel.
The Alfa Romeo SZ offered here is number 111 of the 1000-or-so models manufactured and was delivered new to the UK and has the correct MPH speedometer. We are told that the car is in excellent all round condition having been well maintained throughout it’s life and with recent work carried out by Alfa Aid. This included a cambelt change in 2016 and more recently a replacement starter motor and alternator. The suspension was also refurbished at this time with new ball joints, bushes and gaitors. The interior presents wonderfully with everything working correctly and the leather seats having recently benefitted from re-connolising. This wonderful example of a highly sought after and rare Zagato is showing approximately 56,000 miles on the clock and comes with a large history file, service book, rare parts manual and Certificato di Collaudo. The car also comes with a UK V5C and valid MOT until September 2018.