Alfa Romeo’s delightful and feisty little Giulietta SZ is said to have been born from a project to re-clothe a wrecked Giulietta Sprint Veloce in new lightweight bodywork – and the result worked so well that Alfa agreed to allow Zagato to create an entire series. It first saw light of day at the 1960 Geneva Salon, where the little car’s curvaceous lines and jewel-like proportions quickly wowed the crowds.
The 200 cars – the first 170 of which were round-tail Coda Tonda models as opposed to the later Kamm-tail Coda Tronca – used a tubular version of the Giulietta Spider chassis, upgraded brakes and lightweight aluminium bodywork that was hand-beaten at Zagato to a design created by Franco Scaglione towards the end of his term as a full-time Bertone employee.
Although the 1290cc twin-cam four had a conservative 100bhp, the fact that the entire car weighed 857kg gave it lively performance and a top speed of a genuine (and undoubtedly frightening) 120mph.
Essentially a pocket-rocket racer that also happened to be road-legal, the Giulietta SZ dominated the 1300cc category in major events such as the Targa Florio, drawing praise from professional and amateur drivers alike for its sweet handling and impressive performance – if kept ‘on the boil’ through vigorous use of the five-speed gearbox,
The car on offer at Gooding and Co. is chassis 33, built in August 1960, making it an early example. It was originally painted grey and sold new to racing driver Rinaldo Parmigiani, who raced in a variety of Alfas and Maseratis through the 1950s and ’60s. His last known outings in the car were with the Milan-based Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus – a team co-founded by Elio Zagato – at the Coppa Inter Europa at Monza and the 4 Hours of Pescara, both in 1961.
The little SZ’s whereabouts during the following 17 years remain hazy, although it is known to have remained in Italy until 1978 when it was shipped to the U.S. and sold to an Alfa enthusiast called Jerry Gamez.
After racing it at Laguna Seca in the 1980 Monterey Historic, Gamez moved the car on to a collector in Texas where it has remained, largely untouched, for more than 30 years. Described by Gooding and Co. as a rare ‘garage find’ it’s now tipped to realise $500,000-600,000.
Back in 2012, RM Sotheby’s sold a similar car for €257,600, after which soaring values enabled Gooding to shift an unrestored and heavily patinated one for $577,500 in 2015. Last year, however, RM failed to achieve
a similar sum for a very similar car with extensive racing history that had been with its original owner for 55 years – so it will be interesting to see what happens to this one in the declining market.
1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ. On sale at Gooding and Co, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 17/18 2020. Estimate $500,000 – 600,000. goodingco.com
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