Rare Rides: The Extra Rare 1991 Alfa Romeo SZ, by Zagato

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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rare rides the extra rare 1991 alfa romeo sz by zagato

Italian design firm Zagato has a way with making things red and black — and extra angular. Why, just look at what they did to a standard Nissan Leopard in turning it into the Stelvio. And while the Stelvio’s integrated fender mirrors and overall level of crazy isn’t to everyone’s taste, general favor has always fallen upon Alfa Romeo’s ’90s Zagato model, the SZ.

Come and have a look.

Where the Stelvio was a heavily-modified Nissan Leopard, the SZ was a brand new design all its own. The S and Z making up the model’s name stand for Sprint Zagato.

Always intended as a limited-production model, the SZ debuted in concept format at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989. A lucky few individuals purchased them at Alfa dealers between that year and 1991. Though the body was brand new, most everything underneath it was not. The equally angular 75 model donated its engine, a 3.0-liter V6.

Most other mechanical components also came from the 75, but the suspension came from another level. The Alfa 75 IMSA car provided the suspension, with modifications for road duty made by the Lancia and Fiat rally team. Holding everything down to the road, the SZ shipped with standard Pirelli P Zero tires. Those have been replaced with cheaper Michelin units on this used example.

Today’s SZ is from late in the run, a ’91 model bearing production number 946. The original plan was to make 1,000 units but, this being Alfa Romeo, things got a bit enthusiastic. The company made 1,036 instead.

Interior accommodations on the SZ are perhaps not quite as expected — an interesting mix of luxury appointments and spartan racing-inspired simplicity.

The SZ got a follow-up model that is considerably rarer and even more doorstop-looking, called the RZ. Alfa Romeo cut the roof off the SZ to make it, implementing an R to mean Roadster. Alfa Romeo produced only 278 of the intended 350 Roadster Zagatos between 1992 and 1994.

Located in San Francisco, where some bridges are also red, this particular SZ was imported from Japan. Its condition appears excellent, since approximately zero of these were ever driven hard or very far. With 4,665 kilometers on the dial, the seller says it has 7,500 miles. Unless my American to Canadian calculator is failing me, I think that’s wrong.

Anyway, enjoy some boxy Alfa Romeo, which is yours for $79,000. The dealer has a Roadster too.

[Images via seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.

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  • JLGOLDEN It's really cute, and I'm sure the EV driving experience is a delight for those who give it a whirl. I hope this is enough to keep FIAT on the North American map! But, I fear dealers won't move enough units to justify investments in FIAT parts/service training for the long haul.
  • JLGOLDEN After most of these cars left their duty in rental fleets, they went on to lives with multiple changes of ownership and visits down the auction lane. Can Ford find the current owners and get these things repaired?
  • Abraham I rented a Kona EV - or tried to. I got in, turned it on and the battery had not been charged, displaying only about 25% state of charge and remaining range of 72 miles. It was driving ran outside and I was deciding if I wanted to keep it and find a charger or give up and get a regular vehicle. After about 3 minutes the displayed range dropped to 67 miles, then two minutes later dropped again to 64 miles, all without moving an inch with nothing turned on except the ignition. So the true remaining range was a complete crap shoot. I gave up and got a crappy Buick Encore with “unlimited” range instead.
  • Analoggrotto Committed? That would be your typical NA Miata driver with 10 degrees of negative camber dragging their body work on their rims with over stretched tires. I'm guessing that I described 80% of your friends right there.
  • Theflyersfan And in other breaking news, the sun rose in the east, water is wet, and there are a few people here who need committed as soon as possible. Of course they fall short! Automakers are going to publish the rosiest numbers possible with a big old "*" next to them to CYA. It's the same thing with ICEs. The worst offenders are the 2.0L turbos in 5,000 lb CUVs. The numbers look all fine in the EPA tests, but in the real world, loaded with people and stuff, with weather and hills, and driving like you're late for practice, and keeping the mouse-motor in constant boost, that 28 mpg in mixed driving becomes 18. EVs are no different. I guess CR and everyone who reported it needed clicks today.