- The 401st of 1,036 examples built
- Showing just over 13,000 kilometers
- Tasteful performance modifications
- A bodacious Radwood participant
Alfa Romeo has never been short on innovations or design prowess. The angular Alfetta succeeded the vaunted Giulia-based coupes in the late 1970s with such driver-oriented advances as a transaxle powertrain configuration and a De Dion tube rear axle. Handling was spirited.
A decade on, the Alfa Romeo’s in-house design studio as well as that of parent company Fiat teamed up with Zagato for a showstopping coupe that would usher Alfa Romeo’s styling into the 1990s. Debuting at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show as the Experimental Sportscar 3.0-Litre, the wedge-shaped design featured muscular proportions, an upright fascia, and an integrated grille crest flanked by a trio of square headlights. Production began not long after at Zagato’s facility outside Milan, and the car was renamed Sprint Zagato, or SZ for short, paying homage to the lightweight Giulietta SZ of 1960. Power from the 3.0-liter “Busso” V-6 engine was substantial and was rooted to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transaxle.
The example offered here is number 401 of just 1,036 built. While it retains Alfa Romeo’s signature red hue with a black roof, a handful of modifications make the most of its balanced chassis. A modern coilover suspension and Wilwood brakes are teamed with upsized 17-inch Image wheels in the style of the original 16-inch versions. Sparco racing seats feature five-point harnesses and have been reupholstered in tan leather to match the factory seats. A period aftermarket shift knob and Momo steering wheel complete the interior package. The original steering wheel accompanies the car.
This exceptional SZ was kept for an extended period as a show car with a previous owner in Japan, which helps explain its low ~13,200-kilometer odometer reading. Ready to be shown or enjoyed, this SZ represents late 20th-century Italian design at its best.