The SZ is one of the most collectable Alfa Romeo due to its rarity, extreme looks and Zagato pedigree. Luckily, it is still a rather affordable handbuilt sportscar.
Today, examples of this limited-production ‘Monster’ rarely come up for sale. The SZ was only manufactured in left-hand drive form, and this lovely example dates from 1991 when it was registered to its first owner in Japan. The car was imported to Hong Kong by current owner in 2017, with the odometer indicating 57,758 km. This car hasn’t been restored, instead it has been preserved and only driven on occasion in 27 years. The body, chassis, and interior remain completely original, while the driving experience remains as the factory intended. The car has received a fluid refresh for engine, transmission and steering since import.
This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of these ultra-rare Zagats-Built Alfa Romeos that can only become increasingly collectable. The SZ offers a unique driving experience and looks that resemble nothing else on the road today. This is truly a must-own car for any true Alfisti.
Body: 2-Doors Coupe
Exterior: Rosso Alfa 130
Interior: Brown leather
Driver's Sider: LHD
Indicated Mileage: 57,758 KM
Location: Hong Kong
Registration: Not Registered in Hong Kong
History: Imported from Japan in 2017
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A fabulous example of 'Il Mostro'. Hand built by Zagato. Just 1,036 produced
Sold new in Japan in 1991. Imported to the HK by current owner in 2017
Current mileage 57,758km
Very collectable This rare and highly individual supercar is much sought after
First conceived as the ES-30 “Experimental Sportscar 3.0 litre” design study in 1987, the SZ “Sprint Zagato” (styled by Alfa Romeo Design and Robert Opron, but built at Zagato) caused quite a sensation. Dubbed 'il Mostro' or 'the Monster', this was no conventionally good-looking Alfa Romeo coupe. But such was the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it, that in 1989, Alfa launched a production version at the Geneva Motor Show. Sensibly, it was based on a heavily modified 75 V6 platform, so the SZ had the performance (and sound) to back up its sporty yet unconventional looks. Its ability to hang on in bends really made the SZ special – it was said to be able to generate 1.4G of lateral load. Like most of the Zagato Alfa's, the SZ had a near perfect 50:50 weight balance. Total production of the SZ reached 1036 units, which makes it quite a rare car.
Mechanically and engine-wise, the car was based on the Alfa Romeo 75, production being carried out by Zagato at Terrazzano di Rho near the Alfa factory in Arese. The thermoplastic injection moulded composite body panels were produced by Italian company Carplast and French company Stratime Cappelo Systems.
The suspension was taken from the Alfa 75 group A IMSA race car and modified by Giorgio Pianta, engineer and team manager of the Lancia and Fiat rally works team. A hydraulic damper system was made by Koni. The SZ was originally equipped with Pirelli P Zero tyres (front 205/55 ZR 16, rear 225/50 ZR 16) and is able to sustain over 1.1 G in cornering, some drivers have measured a cornering force of 1.4 G, which remains an excellent performance figure.
Whether at a concours or a Cars & Coffee, it is an important chapter of Alfa Romeo history that will always draw a crowd. It has exotic looks but without exotic maintenance bills as it shares platform and engine with the Alfa 75/Milano. The SZ may look like nothing else out there, but at the same time it won’t provide much of a challenge for your mechanic. Drivetrain parts are plentiful, the engine is known to be robust and reliable, and support within the Alfa community is always unwavering.
“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” The SZ is the best type of art: provocative, challenging, stunning. The more you look, the less you’ll want to look away.
Dating back to the late 1950s, the Alfa Romeo SZ, or Sprint Zagato, designation has always been an indication of speed. The 1991 SZ is no exception. Initially considered a joint design exercise for Alfa Romeo and its parent company FIAT, production began at the Zagato factory at Terrazano di Rho. Unveiled to the public and press to rave reviews at the 1989 Geneva Salon and originally called ‘ES 30’, the SZ soon became known as ‘Il Mostro’, Italian for ‘The Monster’, because of its superb performance and outlandish styling. The SZ looked like nothing else available at the time, eschewing the rounded styling and aluminium-alloy styling normally associated with Alfas built by Zagato in favour of an angular moulded plastic body with an alloy roof painted in contrasting colours, dark grey for the red livery.
This modern interpretation of the Sprint Zagato was based on the floorplan of the Group A/IMSA Alfa 75. The front-engine/rear-drive design also borrowed from that model’s five-speed manual rear transaxle and suspension, which was comprised of lower front wishbones with coil springs, transverse links, and an anti-roll bar, and in the rear a de Dion axle with coil springs, trailing arms, and an anti-roll bar.
The 3.0-litre quad-cam V-6 was used in many Alfas of the period and is considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the finest engine packages ever designed. The aggressive styling of the coupé was attractive but, perhaps more importantly, was also highly aerodynamic. The drag coefficient of just 0.30, combined with the 210 bhp from the engine, propelled the SZ to a top speed of 152 mph, a highly respectable number at the time.
The four-wheel disc brakes were mounted inboard at the rear. The suspension was carefully reengineered and Koni produced special shock absorbers for the SZ. When fitted with high-performance Pirelli P Zero tyres, the car was able to sustain more than 1.4 g on a skid pad, which was quite outstanding for the day.
The interiors featured a pair of deeply bolstered competition seats in tan leather, a tan headliner, and a black dashboard and console. The driver would grip a thick three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a hand-grip was built into the passenger seat. There was ample luggage capacity behind the seats as well. The Sprint Zagato was air conditioned, and the instrument panel carried a full complement of Veglia gauges. Each car carried a special plaque on the console which featured its serial number; this example is number 095.
Alfa Romeo originally contracted Zagato to build just 1,000 examples, but demand was such that a total of 1,036 were produced between 1989 and 1991. Even this increased number could not satisfy the overwhelming demand.
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