A beautiful 1994 Alfa Romeo SZ, showing just under 1,300 km from new, believed to be original and one of only 1,036 SZ coupés produced, is set to go under the hammer with RM Sotheby’s in their Open Roads – The European Summer Auction 14-22nd July 2020.
Presented in the Alfa Romeo stand at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, the SZ was designed to amaze the public with its aggressive sporty profile, marked by low ground clearance, a high beltline and a wedge shape that conveyed grit and speed.
Known internally as the ES-30, or Experimental Sports Three-Litre, this was Alfa Romeo’s interpretation of the Sprint Zagato in the 1990’s. This low-production, high-performance automobile was designed by Robert Opron and Antonio Castellana, who had based it on the floorplan of the Group A/IMSA Alfa 75. The SV was nicknamed Il Mostro, or the Monster, due to its angular thermoplastic injection-moulded composite body panels, which generated quite a response from the public, although there was no denying its impressive performance. Flanking the traditional Alfa triangular grille opening are six small headlamps, which have been arranged in echelon. The tail lamps are placed in a panel across the rear of the body. There is a full-width horizontal spoiler across the rear hatch, and the simple alloy wheels are of a drilled-disc design.
Besides its innovative composite fibre bodywork, the car was the first in the industry to be produced using computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems. The unprecedented use of this technology significantly reduced design lead times and, most importantly, the need for refinements and modifications during production.
The heart of the SZ was its impressive V6 “Busso” engine (named after the designer), which equipped the 75 3.0i Quadrifoglio Verde in 1987. It incorporated electronic injection and a three-way catalytic converter, delivering 185 hp and up to 204 hp in the SZ version. The mechanics also included a 5-speed rear axle gearbox integrated with the differential, as well as suspension and brakes lifted from the 75 1.8 Turbo Evolution competition car. The chassis consisted of a steel underbody covered by a modern, composite-fibre bodyshell.
The design was a fusion between ideas from the Alfa Romeo and Fiat style centres and the projects of Zagato, which produced around 1000 units between 1989 and 1994, including a roadster version called the Alfa Romeo RZ from 1992.
The car was bulky but sleek, with low ground clearance, a very high beltline and a pronounced wedge shape. The new design and construction technology enabled the roof to seamlessly adjoin the front and rear windscreens in one smooth contour, forming a flowing greenhouse that stood out against the body due to the minimal black pillars and roof.
This incredible SZ offered at auction with RM Sotheby’s was delivered new to its native Italy and first registered in 1994. Amazingly, its odometer shows that it has been driven less than 1,300 km from new, which is believed to be original. As such, it presents in wonderful condition both inside and out, showing few signs of use. Importantly, it is accompanied by a set of original owner’s manuals. With just 1,036 examples built between 1989 and 1991, these are very highly sought-after cars today. Finding a low-mileage example can be difficult and as such, this particular SZ should not be overlooked.