1991 Alfa Romeo SZ Coupé
Year of manufacture1991
Only 1,300 kilometres from new
1991 Alfa Romeo SZ Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato
Chassis no. ZAR16200003000590
Engine no. AR61501000600
"With little in the range of much performance intent, out of nowhere Alfa Romeo showed something called the ES30 design study at the 1987 Geneva motor show. The Alfa Romeo SZ was born. Those of a younger disposition might know Alfa Romeo products to be attractive, but underwhelming to drive. Well, the SZ was the other way around. Affectionately nicknamed 'Il Mostro', Alfa Romeo's Frankenstein shocked for many reasons, not least its brutalist styling." evo magazine.
Reviving its tradition of building special-bodied Alfa Romeos, including the original SZ (Sprint Zagato) competition coupé of the late 1950s and early 1960s, Carrozzeria Zagato unveiled the outrageous new SZ at the Geneva Salon in March 1989. Under development for the preceding 19 months, the SZ was a joint project that also involved the styling departments of both Alfa Romeo and its parent company, FIAT, whose Robert Opron, formerly with Citroën, was responsible for the initial sketches. There are examples of other Opron-inspired masterpieces the Citroën SM and Citroën CX in this very sale. Opron's colleague Antonio Castellana was largely responsible for the final styling details and interior. The SZ lacked Zagato's characteristic 'double bubble' roof, while it has been suggested that its controversial styling resulted from early experiments with CAD/CAM (computer-aided) design. The SZ was built at Zagato's factory at Terrazano di Rho.
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 - which was bonded to the floor pan of the existing Alfa 75. Nowadays, smaller multiple light sources are relatively commonplace, which makes the controversial SZ, with its two clusters of three small headlights, recessed into the wide front grille, a design was ahead of its time.
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 were Koni adjustable hydraulic dampers all round and power assisted steering, but no ABS.
Powering the SZ to its highly respectable 245km/h top speed was a 210bhp version of Alfa's superb 3.0-litre four-cam V6. Designed by Giuseppe Busso, Alfa's V6 is widely recognised as one of the finest power plants of recent times, and it is certainly one of the most glorious sounding sixes ever.
The SZ's 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 engine was mounted longitudinally and drove the rear wheels via five-speed manual transaxle transmission.
Demand for the 1,000-or-so SZs scheduled for series production greatly exceeded supply. There was also an even rarer open spyder version: the RZ. By the time production ceased, Zagato had built only 1,036 SZ coupés, and today this rare and highly individual supercar is much sought after
The limited edition Alfa Romeo SZ was only manufactured in left-hand drive form, and this pristine example was delivered new in its native Italy and first registered in 1994. It has covered fewer than 1,300 kilometres from new. As such, it is presented in wonderful condition both inside and out. Importantly, it is accompanied by a set of original owner's manuals, car cover and Italian registration papers. A wonderful opportunity to acquire one of these ultra-rare Zagato-built Alfa Romeos that can only become increasingly collectible.
Please be advised that due to the limited number of kilometres recorded on the odometer, this Lot may incur VAT liability upon registration in the EU. The VAT payable will be the rate prevailing in the country of registration.