Alfa Romeo SZ: Spotted

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.


Engine: 3.0-litre V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 210@6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 181@4,500rpm
Weight: 1,256kg
First registered: 1996
Recorded miles: 30,000
Price: £49,995

Mark Pearson

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (97) Join the discussion on the forum

  • 1781cc 10 Jun 2018

    Loved the look of this car when I was starting to drive, the nostalgic appeal is still there. Prices are Astro for a car with its credentials though

  • ucb 10 Jun 2018

    I’d disagree about the prices when compared to the contemporary 911 which are much more numerous.

  • ducnick 10 Jun 2018

    A wonderful thing and certainly a good way to stand out from the crowd. I remember having a passenger ride in a prototype one of these that was over here on secondment to Lotus for handling work. It was quite a thing back then and I remember it being more of a special one in a lifetime event than riding in some of the other development cars they had at the time such as the fwd elan, an esprit, an Isuzu something of other based on the elan, Carlton and the zr1 vette.

  • DrSteveBrule 10 Jun 2018

    Gorgeous. I’ve made it a mission to own one of these at some point.

  • V88Dicky 10 Jun 2018

    Love the idea of a manual, rear drive, great sounding V6, but I've never grown to like the looks.



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