Here at Road & Track, we love to learn more about cars, especially when it comes to their hidden design features. For example, you may not have known that the Porsche 996 and 997 Targas were, technically, hatchbacks. We just discovered a similar nifty note about one of our favorite old sports cars.
The Alfa Romeo SZ has been around for 30 years already, yet up until yesterday, it never occurred to me to wonder where it kept its spare tire. Luckily, there's a wonderful example of this car for sale at Fast Classics in the UK, and one of the accompanying images reveals the truth. Also, if you think $67,000 seems like a lot for a car based on an Alfa Romeo Milano Quadrifoglio Verde (known as the 75 "America" in Europe), remember that a mint 1991 SZ is still a bargain compared to the original, which will cost you ten times as much, even if it spent the past decades in a basement.
The Alfa Romeo SZ is such an unconventional design that our readers decided it was both one of the fifteen most beautiful and fascinating Zagatos, and one of the most peculiar, oddball cars ever made.
As the seller Fast Classics points out, what started out as Zagato's ES-30 (Experimental Sports Car, 3.0-liter) debuted as the Alfa Romeo SZ (Sprint Zagato) at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, based on the fastest Alfa Romeo 75. The initial SZ sketches came from Centro Stile Fiat's Robert Opron, while the design was finished by young Antonio Castellana. The car used Alfa's fantastic 3.0-liter V6 tuned to 210 horsepower, as well as a Group A/IMSA-spec suspension with adjustable Koni dampers, modified by Giorgio Pianta, team manager of Lancia's works rally team.
Fiat chose Zagato for their capability in assembling such a low-volume car close to Alfa Romeo's Arese factory, using injection-molded composite body panels sourced from local Carplast and French Stratime Cappelo Systems.
Between 1989 and 1991, Zagato built 1036 SZ coupés, all of which were left-hand drive. This particular example went through a "panel-off overhaul in 2007" to combat the problems caused by "the porous nature of the composite bodywork."
And that spare Pirelli P Zero? It lives where you'd naively expect some luggage space.
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