Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Zagato
*Please note further research suggests that a different SZ, 00206, participated in the 1962 Tour de France Automobile and the Coppa D'Autunno Monza that were listed in this car's Race History.
Gianni Bulgari, Rome, Italy (acquired new in January 1961)Gilberto Castagnini, Rome, Italy (acquired circa 1963)Antonio Bonanno, New York, New York (acquired from the above in August 1963)Lorenzo Garcia, Laurelton, New York (acquired in 1964)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Targa Florio, April 30, 1961, Gianni Bulgari and Maurizio Grana, No. 40 (DNF)Coppa Gallenga Hill Climb, June 18, 1961, Gianni Bulgari (1st in Class)4 Hours of Pescara, August 15, 1961, Gianni Bulgari and Maurizio Grana, No. 92 (10th Overall and 2nd in Class)Targa Florio, May 6, 1962, Gianni Bulgari and Maurizio Grana, No. 12 (DNF)Tour de France Automobile, September 23, 1962, Gianni Bulgari, No. 128 (DNF)Coppa D’Autunno Monza, October 14, 1962, Gianni Bulgari (6th Overall and 4th in Class)Targa Florio, May 5, 1963, Mario Costantini and Corrado Ferlaino, No. 26 (DNF)
Lime Rock Historics Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance, September 2014 (First in Class)
When, in 1956, a wrecked Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce was taken to Elio Zagato for new coachwork, a true 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 car, the resulting Giulietta Sprint Zagato, or SZ, was built on the short-wheelbase chassis of the Spider and featured powerful finned aluminum drum brakes, a full-synchromesh five-speed gearbox, and the high-performance Tipo AR120 engine.
In typical Zagato fashion, the SZ’s coachwork was minimal to the extreme, with smooth organic lines, lightweight aluminum panels, Plexiglas windows, and virtually no ornamentation. The cockpit was comfortable and businesslike, with two supportive tube-frame seats, vinyl upholstery, a simple three-gauge instrument binnacle, and excellent visibility all around.
Sold through Alfa Romeo and distinguished by their 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 fact, the SZ proved so successful as a racing car, some were still competing 10 years after they were built.
In total, just 200 examples of the original SZ were built, along with 30 examples of the updated SZ “Coda Tronca,” distinguished 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 sports car of the early 1960s and is, today, among the top-tier of collectible Alfa Romeos.
According to Marco Fazio of Alfa Romeo Automobilismo Storico Centro Documentazione, this Giulietta SZ, chassis AR10126.00043, was completed on September 23, 1960, originally finished in metallic grey with red upholstery.
On January 7, 1961, the Alfa Romeo was sold to its first owner, Gianni Bulgari of Rome, who immediately began racing the car under the Scuderia Campidoglio banner. Throughout the 1961 and 1962 season, Sig. Bulgari’s SZ was a regular participant in some of the most important events of the day, running at the Targa Florio, the Tour de France Automobile, the 4 Hours of Pescara, and GT races at Monza. Along the way, Bulgari even captured a class win at the Coppa Gallenga in the hills around Rome.
Following the 1962 season, Bulgari sold the SZ and, over the next two years, he and Grana continued to race as members of Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus, campaigning 250 GTOs, Alfa Romeo TZs, and Porsche 904s in leading international events.
Records indicate that a short-lived racing team, Scuderia Settecolli, entered the SZ in the 1963 edition of the Targa Florio, where it was entrusted to Mario Costantini and Corrado Ferlaino. In its last race, the Alfa Romeo wore race no. 26 and was distinguished by its new dark red livery and streamlined Plexiglas headlamp covers supplied by Zagato.
A declaration of sale document, dated August 11, 1963, records that the SZ transferred ownership from Gilberto Castagnini of Rome to Antonio Bonanno, an Italian citizen living on West 43rd Street in Manhattan. From there, the Alfa Romeo was exported to the US and, circa 1964, was sold to Lorenzo Garcia, a resident of Laurelton, New York. It is believed that Mr. Garcia used the Alfa Romeo as an enjoyable means of transportation until 1968 or 1969, when it was retired from the road.
From there, this SZ disappeared from the public eye, and it wasn’t until fall 2014 that enthusiasts were given the opportunity to see this important 1960s competition car. In September 2014, the Giulietta SZ caused a stir when it was presented at the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance, held in conjunction with the annual Lime Rock Historics races. Justifiably, this unique SZ was recognized with First Place in Class 22 (Just as We Found It, Untouched or Minimally Massaged Originals).
Offered for public sale for the first time, this unrestored Alfa Romeo is a marvelous time capsule of a bygone era that is sure to capture the interest of discerning collectors. A rare and exciting find under any circumstances, this Sprint Zagato is all the more alluring, as its appearance has changed little since racing at the Targa Florio in May 1963.
Existing images dating from early 1964 show the SZ looking very nearly as it does today, wearing its distinctive taped headlamp covers, NART decals, and two Amadori-Campagnolo wheels fitted by Sig. Bulgari in 1961. Even today, the original 1963 Targa Florio sticker and ACI Tassa di Circolazione are still afixed to the windscreen.
Having been parked for many years, a thorough mechanical restoration will be required; however, the cosmetic condition is such that, for preservation-minded collectors, the SZ could be returned to running order and maintained visually, as is.
If only for its status as one of the most successful sports 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, including their lively performance, highly individual character, and thoroughbred competition bloodline. This SZ then, with its impressive period racing record, time-warp appearance, and outstanding unbroken provenance, is surely among a rarified category of Alfa Romeo competition cars.