By on September 3, 2021

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]

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10 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 2010 Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale Zagato, Unexpected Underpinnings...”

  • avatar

    The choice to go for American power was informed by Piero Rivolta, out of Sarasota, who– I don’t know if he owned Zagato or ran it, but he seemed to have a TON of juice there back when I knew him. Rivolta’s dad famously designed the Iso Grifo that used Corvette power, and this was a callback to that (well, another callback to that, there was an Iso Grifo 90 that was also Corvette based a few years prior). I dunno– for me, the Viper engine works here. One of my favorite “Florida school of automotive design” cars.

  • avatar

    It seems to me the only party who should be miffed is the buyer. Since not even a one percenter spends seven figures on a car without at least a cursory check, I have to assume at least the sound gave its American roots away. I was appalled by the early Viper as it appeared to me to be a hammer in perpetual search of a nail. And a rusty one, at that. By the time the Coupes came out, my skepticism had declined, and I finally got to drive one, which immediately got away from me. Luckily those turns toward the back staight at Portland have large runoff areas. Before we were done I was close to a Star Mazda time, and suitably impressed. I had come to the conclusion that the Special projects guys had achieved exactly what they set out to do. I’ve loved the cars ever since and believe they do not get the admiration they deserve. As for this Alfa? I’ve never understood the the high praise for the modern version. Merely another Italian trying way too hard to get the Commendatore to pay attention – even in death.

  • avatar

    “ The TZ3 was a modern take on the original TZ (TZ2) or Tubolare Zagato, which was officially a part of the Guilia line.”

    Make that “Giulia”, pronounced Julia.

  • avatar

    It’s the Reid Bigland of Alfa Romeos!

    For recent true Alfa goodness see

  • avatar

    Finally, I can have the styling and convenience of a banana in a touring car.

  • avatar

    Alpha Romeo!

  • avatar

    Ugliest car of all time.

  • avatar

    “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.”

    Literally lol’d at that.

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