116 bhp, 1,290 cc dual overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, dual Weber carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front and rigid rear axle with coil springs suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,248 mm (88.5”)
• One of the rarest Alfa Romeos
• Appearances in the 1958, 1960 and 1962 Targa Florio
• Second in class and 14th overall in the 1960 Targa Florio
• Continuous ownership history
• Displayed at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Beginning with the legendary pre-war 6C 1750, the combination of Zagato’s lightweight bodywork and Alfa Romeo’s sophisticated engines and superb chassis has led not only to competition successes but to the creation of some of the most stylish sports and GT cars ever to come from Italy.
Among the rarest of this exclusive club are the 16 Sprint Veloce Zagato coupés built between 1956 and 1959. All slightly different in detail execution, and all built for competition purposes, they were tremendously successful on the racetracks, rallies and mountain circuits of Europe and the United States in the ‘60s. That the line began with an accident is fascinating and tells a compelling story of mid-20th century Italian racing. Massimo Girolamo Leto di Priolo was a gentleman racer who took delivery of a new Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce in May, 1956. Four days later, he drove his new car in the Mille Miglia, where he promptly crashed into a riverbed, essentially destroying the bodywork. Rather than having his car repaired to factory standards, Leto di Priolo had the remains taken to Zagato, who cut the wrecked panels off the platform and built a new body in its place.
With a more aerodynamic shape and an alloy body weighing over 100 kg less than the steel-panelled factory car, this ‘Sprint Veloce Zagato’ coupé was soon racking up a string of victories through the remainder of 1956 and into 1957. It did not take long for his fellow competitors, especially those with Giulietta Sprint Veloces, to take notice. Turning a factory Sprint Veloce into an SVZ was not an inexpensive matter. On top of the 2.26 million lira cost of a new Alfa coupé, another 1.2 million lira needed to be added for the new Zagato body.
This car, chassis no. 06184, has a known and continuous history and is documented in Gino Giugno’s book, Giulietta Sprint Veloce Zagato. The story of 06184 begins with Pasquale Tacci of Sciacca, Sicily, who took delivery of his new Alfa Sprint Veloce on 29 April, 1958 and who drove it in the Targa Florio the following month, with co-driver Taormina Baldassare. Tacci sold the Alfa to his co-driver on 1 July and Baldassare had Zagato rebuild it as an SVZ that same year.
After sharing the car in a number of Sicilian events through 1960, including 2nd in class and 14th overall in the 1960 Targa Florio, Baldassare sold the Alfa to Renato Flore of Palermo in January 1961. Vittorio Mascari purchased the SVZ in August 1962, and it was acquired by Mario Caracciolo of Naples in February of the following year. The car then passed through several known owners until its acquisition by Giovanni Farina of Salerno. Farina retained the Alfa for 14 years. Its ownership history is well-known from that point. In 1984, Luca Scheda began a restoration that was never completed. It is believed that sometime early on in the car’s life, the original engine was replaced with another of correct specification. After storing the car for almost 20 years in the shop of Gianni Torelli, it was sold to noted Italian collector and a restorer in 2007.
Restored to a very high level, with a keen eye to originality and correctness, 06184 was shown at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and remains today in superb condition. The panel fit appears to be excellent, and the light blue colour, as originally applied by Zagato, is very much of the period. Well-polished, bright trim and the red interior complement the body well. Inside, signature Zagato sport seats and a Nardi wood rimmed wheel face the simple crackle finish dashboard in a space designed for high-speed business.
A large history file also accompanies the car, containing registration documents from 1963 to present. Recently, the car was sent to Chris Robinson of RMR, one of the foremost leading Alfa experts. Whilst at Chris Robinson’s, the car received a gearbox rebuild, an RMR handling kit and a set of more modern shock absorbers to improve the handling. Chris Robinson himself describes the engine as “truly stonking”. In many ways, this rare and sexy Zagato bodied Alfa Romeo may be likened to a scaled down Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, as it embodies the very best performance specifications of its marque, with the lightweight, attractive coachwork only Zagato can deliver. Beautifully presented and prepared to the highest possible standards, this stunning Alfa Romeo drives as superbly as it looks.