Last week we featured a stunning 1994 Alfa Romeo SZ with less than 1300km, was set to go under the hammer with prestige auction house RM Sotheby’s. Now RM Sotheby’s have done it again, this time offering the roadster version, an extremely rare, 1993 Alfa Romeo RZ by Zagato, one of just 284 built.
When Alfa Romeo and Carrozzeria Zagato revived the SZ, or Sprint Zagato, name at the 1989 Geneva Salon, they did so in a dramatic fashion. First in coupe form and later as a roadster (Roadster Zagato, or RZ), the Type ES-30 SZ/RZ—which also counted Fiat as a development partner—was based on the floor pan and drivetrain of the Alfa Romeo 75. Its styling, however, was unlike anything else available; initial design work was completed by Fiat’s Robert Opron, with Antonio Castellana finalizing the aggressive, angular exterior. Zagato was responsible for assembling the cars. Notably, with the exception of an aluminum alloy roof panel, the coupe’s bodywork was constructed of thermoplastic, injection-molded composite.
After 1,036 SZ coupes were delivered, an open version, called the RZ (for Roadster Zagato), followed. The Alfa 75-sourced, 3.0-litre fuel-injected four-cam V-6 engine provided a potent 210 horsepower, sent through a rear-mounted five-speed transaxle. The rally-tuned suspension was fully independent in front, with a de Dion axle with Watts linkage in the rear, lending excellent handling qualities. The Zagato’s four-wheel, 11-inch disc brakes could easily haul the 2,800-pound car down from its estimated 143 mph top speed. Unlike the coupe, the RZ’s interior received additional colour matched details—namely the door panels, revised centre console, and convertible top cover-panel.
This 1993 Alfa Romeo RZ on offer is the 130th produced between the 1992 and 1994 model years. Finished in Rossa Alfa over a black leather interior, it is a nicely presented low-mileage example. Recently sourced from Japan, it currently displays 15,258 kms (~9,481 mi). Its set of optional 16-inch Speedline alloy wheels are shod in fresh Pirelli P-Zero tires.
Completed on April 30, 1993, accompanying Japanese documentation indicates that this chassis passed through the collections of four owners between the date it was delivered (September 7, 1995) and June 2014; nearly 13,500 kms were recorded during this interval. More recently, this RZ was held by a Tokyo dealer between September 2015 and July 2018, whereupon it was acquired and imported to the United States by the consignor.
While the styling of the SZ and RZ stirred some controversy when the car was introduced, today it is considered very modern, and these rare, luxuriously trimmed high-performance sports cars are much sought after. This lot is accompanied by an owner’s manual with leather pouch, import documents and Japanese registration records, spare wheel, two keys, jack, tools, and production information from the Alfa Romeo historical museum.