Rare Rides: The 2010 Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale Zagato, Unexpected Underpinnings

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s Rare Ride is one of just nine Alfa Romeo TZ3s built in 2010 by Zagato. Priced at over $1 million at the time, every example was immediately sold to a collector who put it in an alarmed garage somewhere warm and sunny, and then didn’t drive it.

However, underneath the fanciful Zagato bodywork was a platform few million-dollar class collectors covet for their garage.

The TZ3 was a modern take on the original TZ (TZ2) or Tubolare Zagato, which was officially a part of the Guilia line. The Zagato-styled sports coupe was sold from 1963 to 1967 and had a very distinctive look from all angles. The Sixties TZ made a name for itself when it competed against the likes of the Shelby Cobra and Ferrari 250 GTO, and finished in third and fourth place ahead of the Ferrari at the ’64 Targa Florio.

As modern homages go, the TZ3 avoided goofy “trying too hard” pitfalls and integrated modern styling elements well. One really can see the original TZ in the TZ3’s design. 2010 was chosen for a resurrection of TZ as it was Alfa Romeo’s 100th anniversary. Zagato designer Norihiko Harada penned the 3’s shape, a body constructed completely of carbon fiber. Underneath was a modern tubular space frame, but underneath that was something American.

The TZ3 was based on the Dodge Viper’s platform, and as such was powered by its 8.4-liter V10 engine. For those of you calling sacrilege at a bespoke Alfa powered by an American V10 (neither country nor cylinder count are Alfa-like), your author agrees. Alas, with FCA’s ownership of Dodge and Alfa, the partnership fell into place easily. Third-generation designer and racing driver Andrea Zagato said “Because of the Fiat Group Chrysler/Dodge partnership, the TZ3 can be considered history’s first ‘American’ Alfa Romeo.” Indeed.

The 8.4 was specified to ACR tune in the TZ3, which meant 640 horses and 560 lb-ft of torque. Heady figures, all slotted through the Viper’s six-speed manual. What wasn’t so heady was the interior of the million-dollar TZ3, which was very clearly full of Viper parts, and thus full of parts from the Dodge Caravan.

But collectors didn’t care, and all nine were snapped up quickly for storage. Today’s example in suitable red was sold for $489,000 in Indiana late last year, which is some pretty steep depreciation for 210 total miles. Our pictures today are sourced from a video of a yellow TZ3. Complete with a V10 exhaust clip, there’s something notable about this yellow one: It has a center console plate covering up all the Dodge-ness, where our Rare Rides subject doesn’t. The climate and radio positions are swapped too. Interesting.

[Images: YouTube]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 10 comments
  • Sobro Needs moar Roots.
  • RHD Questions? None, no, not really. Interested in some random Hyundai? No, not at all. Yawn.
  • Formula m Alfa-Romeo had the great idea to unveil my all time favourite car at the world expo in Montreal. Never built or Sold in North America. The called it the Alfa Romeo Montreal. Never even sold in North America.
  • RHD Nice little car. Give it comfortable seats, price it very competitively and leave the Alfa Romeo script on the grille. We need a smaller, cheaper electric car, and this could be just the thing to bring AR back. Heck, rebrand a variant as a Chrysler, so that potential buyers actually have something to look at in the showroom. Give it a nice long warranty. The wheels are great, hopefully the rest of it will follow through.