Zagato. Was there ever a firm as capable of making some of the most achingly beautiful cars, and at the same time some that were so contentious? The company has always had that wonderful uncertainty to its monstrous talents - a terrible beauty, as WB Yeats had it.
So, what do you make of Il Mostro here? Well, if it's divisive you want, this little sports coupe serves it up in spades. And to add even more confusion it's not really a Zagato design, of course. Zagato built, yes, but the initial styling was the work of Robert Opron, and it was a talented young designer called Antonio Castellana who handled the finishing.
The result is stunning. Or awful - depending on your point of view. Whatever, there aren't many of them around (just over 1,000 of these coupes were made, and just under 300 of the roadster version), and if you are sired by Alfa Romeo and weaned by Zagato you're a classic without having to get out of bed, and sod the panel gaps.
As a further bonus, it was bloody good to drive, with its shortened Alfa 75 platform, race-car-inspired suspension and standard-fit Pirelli P Zeros. Under that extraordinary bonnet was a 210hp 3.0-litre V6, which made a wonderful noise and drove the rear wheels through a five-speed 'box and via a rear transaxle. Thanks to its lightweight composite body, it had a particularly hearty power to weight ratio, too - think 0 to 60mph in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 153mph. Even more impressively, it hung on in corners like a limpet - 1g plus was the order of the day here.
This example, plucked from the classifieds, is a rare treat. It's been well maintained, serviced every year, has only 30,000 miles on the clock and has had just four owners from new in 1996. At a tad under £50k it's not a bad price, either, and one which, plug-ugly design or not, is only going to go one way.
See the full ad here.
SPECIFICATION: ALFA ROMEO SZ
Engine: 3.0-litre V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 210@6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 181@4,500rpm
First registered: 1996
Recorded miles: 30,000