Alfa Romeo SZ
- Mileage: 56,223
- Year: 1992
- MOT Expiry: September 2018
- Exterior Colour: Rosso Alfa
- Interior Colour: Tan Leather
- Top speed: 152
- 0-60mph: 7.0
- BHP: 207
- Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
- Engine Capacity: 2959cc
- Engine Configuration: V6
The Alfa Romeo SZ, or Sprint Zagato, was a high-performance limited-production sports car built between 1989 and 1991 with partnership between Centro Stile Zagato, Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, and Centro Stile Fiat. It was unveiled as the ES-30 (Experimental Sports car 3-litre) at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show as a prototype built by Zagato. It was soon dubbed ‘Il Mostro' (The Monster) as a result of its striking appearance.
Robert Opron of the Fiat design studio was responsible for the initial sketches while Antonio Castellana was largely responsible for the final styling details and interior. The car was planned and designed in a very brief 19 months thanks to the use of integrated computer systems and computer-aided design (CAD).
Mechanically and engine-wise the car was based on the Alfa Romeo 75, although production was 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.
It was the car’s ability to hang on in bends really made the SZ special – it was said to be able to generate 1.1g of lateral load. Like the cars that sired it, the SZ had near-50:50 weight distribution. Furthermore the suspension was taken from the Alfa 75 group A/IMSA car and modified by Giorgio Pianta, engineer and team manager of the Lancia and Fiat rally works team. An adjustable hydraulic damper system was made by Koni.
A grand total of just 1,036 SZs were produced, of which 38 were prototype and pre-production cars destined to be scrapped, but some of them do still exist. There was only one color scheme available for the SZ: a Rosso Alfa body combined with a dark grey roof and tan interior. The only exception to that was Andrea Zagato's personal car, which was completely black, including the interior. The mechanical components of the SZ were produced by Alfa Romeo and enhanced by Alfa Corse.
Zagato sports zeats with passenger grab handle, Three-spoke Momo/Zagato steering wheel, Air conditioning, Adjustable ride height, Electrically adjustable door mirrors, Electric windows, Dash clock, Carbon effect interior trim, Carbon-fibre rear spoiler, Lockable glove compartment, Rear storage compartment, Rear luggage straps, Space saver spare wheel, Tailored Alfa Romeo carpet mats, SZ numbered plaque, SZ build certificate.
The lustrous Rosso Alfa paintwork of the SZ presents well all round, with only a few expected marks to report upon very close inspection. The aluminium roof and carbon rear spoiler are correctly finished in satin grey, retaining a perfect unblemished appearance. The lightweight composite panels are in great shape throughout, with even gaps in between. Given the limited production run of the SZ, parts are increasingly scarce; difficult to source replacement items such as the headlights and trim remain in fine fettle, with no damage to be found.
The cabin retains a feeling of quality with tan leather upholstery that extends to the door cards and headlining. The Zagato Design seats are particularly comfortable and surprisingly wear-free, with no discolouration to the leather or damage to the deep bolsters. The dash and centre console are also trimmed in leather, and the Zagato/Momo steering still appears wonderfully fresh. There is minimal wear to the switchgear and the Veglia gauges are all still perfectly clear. Behind the seats you’ll find unmarked carpeting with handy luggage straps.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The smooth 3-litre ‘Busso’ V6 sits longitudinally and produces an admirable 207hp, shifting the car from 0-60mph in 7 seconds. Lifting the large bonnet reveals an orderly engine bay that appears clean throughout. The mechanics of the car are in fine fettle having benefitted from a major service and timing belt change just 700 miles ago. The clutch was replaced 10k miles ago.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The original 16-inch Speedline split rims look fantastic beneath those large composite arches. The alloys present in fine condition all round with only light age-related wear to note on close inspection. The wheels are wrapped in a matching set of Michelin tyres that have seen very little use. The discs and pads also have plenty of meat left and the brake fluid was changed just 700 miles ago.
This rare example is one of only a handful of SZs officially supplied to the UK. The car was first registered in July 1992 and was sold through Wades (Lancing) Ltd. Wades also carried out the running-in inspection at 1,468 miles. The History File is complete with the original SZ leather document pack and owner’s manuals. The leather-bound build certificate is also still present.
The car has been serviced at the following mileages: 9k, 18k, 33k, 36k, 39k, 52k, 52k, 53k, and most recently at 55k miles. At a cost of over £3,400 the last service was more of a light re-commissioning. Renowned marque specialist Alfa Aid carried out the work, which included a full service, inspection, timing belt and water pump change, brake fluid change, and transaxle oil change. Additional work was carried out to the underside and suspension, including the replacement of several gaiters, bushes, and ball joints. A new set of Michelin tyres was also fitted.
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