Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Zagato
Delivered New to Rinaldo ParmigianiRinaldo Parmigiani, La Spezia, Italy (acquired new in 1960)Corrado Cupellini, Bergamo, Italy (acquired by 1978)Marvin Collins, El Cerrito, California (acquired from the above in 1978)Jerry Gamez, Castro Valley, California (acquired from the above by 1980)Private Collection, San Antonio, Texas (acquired from the above in 1984)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
4 Hours of Pescara, 1961, Parmigiani/“Kim,” No. 102 (19th Overall, 7th in Class)Coppa Inter-Europa, 1961, Parmigiani, No. 38 (6th Overall, 4th in Class)
Monterey Historic Automobile Races, 1980
When, in 1956, a wrecked Giulietta Sprint Veloce was taken to Elio Zagato for new coachwork, a remarkable transformation took place. By fitting a lighter, more aerodynamic body to the already potent Veloce foundation, Zagato created a Giulietta with the potential to rival GT cars of far greater displacement. Other Sprint Veloce owners soon followed suit and, after witnessing the performance attained by these re-bodied Giuliettas (now referred to as SVZs), Alfa Romeo contracted Carrozzeria Zagato to build a limited run of factory-sanctioned racing cars.
A true dual-purpose competition gran turismo, the resulting Giulietta Sprint Zagato, or SZ, was built on a short-wheelbase chassis and featured powerful finned aluminum drum brakes, a five-speed gearbox, large-capacity fuel tank, and the high-performance tipo AR00120 engine.
In typical Zagato fashion, the SZ’s coachwork was lightweight and minimal to the extreme, with smooth organic lines, thin aluminum panels, Plexiglas windows, and virtually no ornamentation. The cockpit was businesslike, with two supportive tube-frame seats, simple vinyl upholstery, and a three-gauge instrument binnacle.
Distinguished by its special type number (AR10126), the Giulietta SZ was first delivered to customers in late 1960 and immediately dominated the 1300 GT class in endurance events, circuit races, and hill climbs. Wins were innumerable and the car soon developed a reputation as a giant killer.
In total, just 200 examples of the original SZ were built, including 30 examples of the updated SZ “Coda Tronca,” identifiable by its long-nose, Kamm-tail coachwork. The final evolution of the racing Giulietta and the direct predecessor to the Giulia TZ, the Sprint Zagato was the premier small-displacement GT car of the early 1960s, and today is among the top tier of collectible Alfa Romeos.
According to Angelo Tito Anselmi’s definitive book, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, this SZ, chassis 00033, was originally finished in gray and sold new, on August 25, 1960, to Rinaldo Parmigiani of La Spezia, Italy.
An amateur racing driver, Parmigiani began his career in the early 1950s. Beginning in 1956, he passed through a succession of Alfa Romeos, which he campaigned at major events like the Mille Miglia, Coppa Inter-Europa, and Giro di Sicilia. His first known outing in this Sprint Zagato took place on August 15, 1961, at the 4 Hours of Pescara. Entered under the Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus banner, the SZ was driven by Parmigiani and Sergio Pedretti, better known by his nom de course “Kim,” to a respectable 7th in Class and 19th Overall.
The car’s last known race was at the Coppa Inter-Europa at Monza, held on September 10, 1961. One of six Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus entrants, including five Alfa Romeos and one Fiat-Abarth, Parmigiani drove his SZ to 4th in Class and 6th Overall.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Alfa Romeo remained in Italy, where it was later repainted red and fitted with a 1750 GT Veloce engine (tipo AR00548). By 1978, the noted Bergamo-based collector Corrado Cupellini had acquired the car and registered it in Lucca as “LU 124954.” Later that year, the SZ was sold to Alfa Romeo specialist Marvin Collins of El Cerrito, California, and shipped to San Francisco. Mr. Collins sold the car to Jerry Gamez of Castro Valley, California, who prepared the SZ for a return to the track and entered it in the 1980 Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca. In 1984, Mr. Gamez sold the Alfa Romeo to a private collector in San Antonio, Texas, whose stable included many iconic postwar European sports cars.
This SZ has not been seen in public in over 30 years, and its appearance has changed little since arriving in the US over four decades ago. Having been parked for many years, mechanical attention will be required prior to use; however, the cosmetic condition is such that, for some collectors, the SZ could be recommissioned and maintained visually, as is. Significantly, the all-important stamped Zagato body number (441) has been located in several areas around the car. Accompanying the sale is a file of documentation that includes original maritime shipping paperwork from 1978, Italian and California registration records, and various service invoices from Jeremiah Brown’s Mouse Engineering in Oakland, California, and Fredz Autogofast in Berkeley, California.
If only for its status as one of the most successful Italian GT cars of the early 1960s, the Giulietta SZ is among the most collectible and historically significant postwar Alfa Romeos. For decades, knowledgeable collectors have admired the special qualities of these rare Zagato-bodied Giuliettas – their lively performance, highly individual character, and thoroughbred competition bloodline. This SZ, with its impressive period-racing history and well-documented provenance, is surely among a rarified category of Alfa Romeo competition cars.