“Presented for the first time in 1960, the round-tail SZ dominated its
class for two years, winning all the most important races up to 1,300cc… It
represented the best the market could offer for competing in [that] class” – marque and model
expert Marcello Minerbi summarises the SZ in the standard on the subject, ‘Alfa
Romeo – Zagato SZ and TZ’
The combination of fast Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce running gear
and lightweight and advanced ‘high penetration’ coupé bodywork by Elio Zagato
proved almost unbeatable in small-capacity, early 1960s racing. Approximately
200 exquisite SZs were lovingly built at great (LIT 2,600,000) expense from
1960 to 1963.
The Giulietta SZ
The Giulietta Sprint Zagato (SZ) came about – quite literally – by
accident. After the 1956 Mille Miglia, Giulietta Sprint Veloce driver Dore Leto
di Priolo went to Zagato to ask them to rebody his car, heavily damaged in the
famous 1000-mile road race. The Milanese coachbuilder did, producing a
lightweight racing car (the SVZ) that had a considerable edge over the already
fast Sprint Veloce.
In 1959, when Alfa Romeo was prepared to offer independent coachbuilders the
shorter, 2250mm-wheelbase chassis and five-speed running gear of the Giulietta
Spider Veloce, Zagato took the opportunity to build a new racing car, the
Giulietta Sprint Zagato, or simply ‘SZ’.
The new SZ was egg-shaped and based on the ‘high penetration’ theory of
aerodynamics. Its hand-beaten aluminium panels were fixed to a tubular steel
framework attached to the standard Alfa’s chassis. A traditional Alfa Romeo
heart-shaped grille was flanked by two other air intakes. Wheels were solid
steel, or steel/alloy, by Borrani with hubcaps. Inside the black cockpit the
lightweight Zagato racing seats and plastic-rimmed aluminium steering wheel
dominated. With its highly tuned 1,290cc, single-spark, DOHC engine, a good SV
could easily top 200kmh (124.28mph).
The SZs were very effective both on the race tracks and in rallying, and were
available to order from regular Alfa Romeo agents. Well-known proponents of the
Giulietta SZ included Carlo Abate, Carlo Facetti, Jean Rolland and Elio Zagato
Production ceased in 1963 after some 200 cars were sold, the model replaced by
the tubular-chassis TZ.
This Motor Car
Italian rally driver Angelo Corio took delivery of this car – chassis
‘00031’, the 31st SZ built – on 18 August 1960. The Torinese
resident, a member of the Scuderia del Grifone (a famous Ligurian sporting club
founded in 1958), who maintained his interest in competition for another two
decades, registered the new SZ ‘TO 342120’. The pairing’s first event was the
26 February 1961 Rally dei Fiori – the forerunner of the modern Rallye Sanremo.
Over the next three years, Corio and his Giulietta SZ competed in 24
events and in 1963 finished third in class in the Italian Rally Championship. A
letter from Ignazio Quattrocchi on Scuderia de Grifone letterheading dated 2
November 1962 congratulates Corio on his class victory at the October 1962 XXII
Coppa Riviera di Ponente, the final round of the Italian rally championship. On
this event Corio finished second overall, and his exploits were written up
under the headline ‘CORIO VINCE’ (Corio wins) in a local magazine together with
a picture of the car.
Corio transferred ownership of the car to Antonio Bottassi on 29 January
1964, who then quickly sold ‘00031’ to Carlo Aureli of Savona (a Ligurian
seaside town) on 27 April 1964. Corio went on to rally more Italian greats such
as a Lancia Fulvia HF and Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA. By then the SZ’s period
competition career was over.
Aureli registered the car ‘SV 54128’ and kept it until 20 March 1970
when he sold it to fellow Savonard, Walter Carlini. Later that year (10 August
1970) it was bought by Egidio Cervo, also of Savona. Its later provenance can
· 25 August 1971.
Stefano Berrino (Savona). On his death passed to his widow, Pierina Bellardo.
24 July 1979. Tito
Caffarana (Torino, Italy). ‘SV 54128’
· 9 October 1979. T. Franssen (Helden, Holland). ‘SV
October 2011. Carlo Confidati (Viterbo, Italy). ‘SV 54128’
Our Swiss client bought the car on 2 October 2015, later registering it
in Zurich. During Franssen’s and Confidati’s ownership the car had been placed
in long-term storage. Complete but requiring recommissioning, the current owner
entrusted the body and chassis to See Garage Portmann on Lake Zurich in
Switzerland, who carried out all necessary repairs before respraying it using
colour samples from Zagato’s former supplier Lechler. Model specialist Facetti
rebuilt the correct-type engine and gearbox in Italy, while the balance of the
work was completed by our client’s regular mechanic, Zurich-based Alfa Romeo
expert Peter Zahnd. The cost of the work exceeded CHF 185,000 and copies of
invoices accompany the car.
In 2016 the now immaculate Giulietta SZ joined the owner’s other Alfa
Romeo Zagato (a pre-War 6C 1750 GS), ready for action. From 2016 to 2018
‘00031’ was exercised rigorously at time trials such as the Vernasca Silver
Flag and the Arosa Bergrennen. Its FIVA Identity Card was granted on 19 April
We have rarely come across a racing Alfa Romeo of this period with such
clear and unsullied provenance. Eligible for all the right events including
Goodwood and the Tour Auto, a delight to drive with its free-spinning powerful
jewel of a motor and visually stunning – post-War Zagato at the top of its game
– we cannot recommend this delightful Giulietta SZ highly enough.