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The more things change – or so the saying goes – the more they stay the same. Half a century after the originals graced the open roads and the auto shows of the early 1960s, two classic coachbuilt Alfa Romeos have been reborn in modern style. We're talking about the Alfa Romeo TZ and the Coda Tronca – the former now heading into its fourth iteration in the form of the TZ3 Stradale, and the latter just recently remade as the Spada Codatronca Monza. And now their progenitors are set to cross the auction block.
Regarded in the same light by Alfa aficionados as the 250 GTO is by the Ferrari faithful, the original TZ (so named for its tubular space frame and Zagato coachwork) made a remarkable 1-2-3-4 class finish upon its race debut at Monza in 1963, complimented the same year by class wins at Sebring, Le Mans and the Nürburgring as well as an outright win at the Alpine Rally the following season. Only 112 examples were made, and this particular model – chassis #750006 – was prepared by Autodelta (the same Alfa tuner still operating in the UK) and fully restored to its original 1964 Le Mans condition after single-family ownership of 23 years.
Likewise bodied by Zagato, this 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ "Coda Tronca" (chassis #0184) is one of only 30 such examples made out of 200 total SZs. Its Kamm-tailed body gave it its name, a shape which its original designer Ercole Spada reprised for his eponymous modern Corvette-powered special and which led to the development of the aforementioned TZ.
Both of these historic examples feature DOHC four-cylinder engines (1.6 liters and 150 horsepower for the TZ, and 1.3 liters and 135 hp for the Coda Tronca) mated to five-speed manual transmissions. They're set to join the Bertone prototypes and the Art Deco classics at RM's forthcoming auction at Villa d'Este, where the TZ is expected to fetch €475,000-€575,000 ($690k-835k) and the Coda Tronca €260,000-€300,000 ($377k-435k). With their modern successors destined for the garages of the extremely fortunate, we could hardly imagine better stablemates to join them. Have a closer look at each in the galleries below and delve further into their histories in the backgrounders after the jump.
[Source: RM Auctions | Images: Dirk De Jager, Simon Clay/RM]
150 bhp, 1,570 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,200 mm (86.6")
- One of the most important TZs in existence, race-prepared new for Alfa Romeo by Autodelta
- Entries at the Targa Florio, Le Mans 24 Hours, Monza 1000 Kms and Tour de France
- Landmark Alfa Romeo model with gorgeous aluminium Zagato coachwork
- Fully restored by Piet Roelofs Engineering to 1964 Le Mans configuration and livery
- Single-family ownership for 23 years
One of the most desirable of all of the post-war Alfas, TZs were and continue to be considered as Alfa Romeo's version of Ferrari's GTO. Ranking in rarity with the very best sports cars, only about 112 were built between 1963 and 1967. At the October 1963 FISA Cup at Monza, Alfa introduced a competition Giulia, named "TZ" for its "Tubolare" space frame chassis and striking lightweight "Zagato" coachwork. At this race, TZs finished 1-2-3-4 in their class – an extraordinary debut achievement. In 1964, the TZ was FIA-homologated and immediately began logging an impressive string of victories.
TZs raced in the most important races, were driven by some of the best drivers at the time and competed against the likes of Ferrari 250 GTOs, Shelby Cobras, Maserati Birdcages and Porsche 904s. At the 1964 Targa Florio alone, Porsche took the first two spots with 904s, Alfa Romeo came in third and fourth with TZs, and Ferrari with their 250 GTOs took fifth. Class wins at Sebring, Le Mans and the Nürburgring that year also solidified the TZ's position within the annals of motorsport. Without a doubt the TZ was a highly competitive road car, but the outstanding chassis provided very predictable handling and made for a virtually unbreakable rally car as well, with a TZ winning the Alpine Rally outright in 1964.
Its design is unrivalled as well. The stunning bodies were built by Zagato at a time when the coachbuilder produced some of its greatest designs, including the Aston Martin DB4 GTZ, Maserati A6G/54 and Ferrari 250 GTZ.
Chassis no. 750006
According to research, as well as the Zagato TZ Registry, chassis 750006 was completed and race-prepared by Autodelta for the Alfa Romeo DIPRE ESPE (Experimental Department) and invoiced on 2 April, 1964. This was to be one of the few Autodelta-prepared TZ chassis that were built. The later competition cars were derived from the standard homologation cars and are therefore not as rare or desirable. As such, chassis 750006 was fitted with special outboard front shock mounts, a close-ratio gearbox and a larger radiator header tank.
Soon after, it was purchased by Eugenio Dragoni's Scuderia Sant'Ambroeus, which was organised during the late 1950s by Dragoni, a successful Italian cosmetics magnate with a passion for motor sports and a close relationship with Ferrari. The team was very successful in the 1962-1966 period, winning both a driver's and constructor's title in Grand Prix racing, four sports car championships and three consecutive Le Mans titles.
Barely three weeks after acquisition on 24 April, 1964, it is understood 750006 was assigned temporary road registration 68328 W6 and race number 58 in preparation for entry into the Targa Florio. While the historic Targa Florio archives are not accessible, there is photographic evidence that corroborates the car and driver's participation in the various stages of the race. It was piloted by Roberto Bussinello and Nino Todaro, who finished the 720-km, 10-lap race in third position overall with lap times only 16 seconds slower than the race-winning Porsche 904 GTS "works" entry – a superb achievement.
In June 1964, chassis 750006 contested the Le Mans 24-Hour race, where it battled against a squadron of Porsche 904s, Ferrari 250 GTOs and V-8 Shelby Cobras, among other GT-class entries. Original Le Mans paperwork confirms that chassis number 750006 was indeed assigned race number 41 on the grid. Although the car faced a horsepower disadvantage, 750006, with Giampiero Biscaldi and Giancarlo Sala driving, managed 15th overall and 10th in GT, with 4,102 kms completed in 305 laps.
Alone, both Targa Florio and Le Mans history contribute immeasurably to a car's competition pedigree, but 750006 racing days weren't over yet. In September, the car was jointly entered into the Tour de France Auto by Autodelta and Scuderia Sant'Ambroeus, where it was co-driven by Jean Hébert and Georges Burggraf and carried race number 142. Unfortunately, it crashed on day three and retired.
In March 1965, Giancarlo Sala, who co-drove 750006 at Le Mans, bought the car from Scuderia Sant'Ambroeus. Entered by his local Scuderia Brescia Corse, it contested the Monza 1,000-km race on 25th April, driven by Sala and Giorgio Pianta. Carrying race number 26, it experienced engine trouble on lap 58 and failed to finish the race. Following the Monza race, Sala entered 750006 into the Trofeo Vallecamonica in Brescia, Italy, where it finished 6th in class on number 157.
Sala continued to race 750006 in Italy during 1966, 1967 and 1968, finally entering the 1969 Targa Florio that May, where it failed to finish. In an effort to remain competitive through weight reduction, Sala removed all paint from the inner and outer bodywork of 750006 at some point in 1967, an idea inspired by the bare-aluminium Porsches that he had seen earlier at the Nürburgring. The car remained in bare aluminium until its eventual restoration during the 2000s.
Current ownership and authentication
Sala retained the TZ for another 13 years, finally selling it to Ambrogio Gallotti in June 1982. In 1985, 750006 was entered into the Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo (RIAR) under the number 190. Mr. Gallotti then sold it to Francis Fabulet, a Parisian who entered the car into a number of historic rallies, in December 1986. The current owners acquired 750006 from Mr. Fabulet via Guido Bartolomeo in November 1987. Restoration work was eventually begun with Piet Roelofs Engineering in Holland, who returned the car to its 1964 Le Mans configuration and livery and finished the restoration just last year. Due to the condition of the bare aluminium body, much of the skin had to be replaced. The roof and most inner components of the body, however, remain original, and it should be noted that the original aluminium skin of the body will be included with the sale of the car.
Following restoration, a shakedown run confirmed the startling performance of 750006 and the knee-weakening sound of its DOHC double-ignition engine at full throttle. In July 2010, the TZ was entered into the prestigious Le Mans Classic and also took to the show field at the Le Mans Heritage Club Concours, where it was awarded first in class. On 4th and 5th September, the TZ was entered in the Paleis Het Loo Concours d'Elegance, where it was awarded second in its class. Most recently, 750006 was exhibited at Auto Moto Italia in Houten, Holland in October 2010, followed by a December 2010 appearance at the Essen Motor Show in Germany.
In order to definitively confirm the car's authenticity and identity, 750006 was taken to Italy in February 2011 and submitted to the rigorous scrutiny of a homologation and authentication session at the factory-supported Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo. Thoroughly examined by Alfa Romeo experts Maurizio Tabucchi and Lorenzo Marzullo, 750006 passed with flying colours and probably set the standard for TZs to come. The current owners have applied for, and have been granted, the most elaborate certification, the "Certificazione di Autenticita," which will be included with the car.
As offered, this TZ completes nearly a quarter-century of ownership by a single family of true enthusiasts. Chassis 750006 is acknowledged as one of the finest TZs in existence today. With its outstanding period racing history at some of the most storied racing events and venues, it is eligible for today's most prestigious vintage racing and rally events and is complete with an extensive file containing historic photographs and documentation. For sports racing and Alfa Romeo enthusiasts, this may very well be an unrepeatable opportunity.
Lot 102 - 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Zagato 'Coda Tronca'
Est. 135 bhp, 1,300 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle, front disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,248 mm (88.5")
- One of only 30 SZ "Coda Tronca" examples built
- Lightweight Zagato bodywork
- Autotecnica Conrero engine
- Known ownership beginning in Lugano, Switzerland
- Shown at Villa d'Este (2004)
- Eligible for many prestigious events
With only 200 examples built, the Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato (SZ) is a very rare car indeed, particularly in "Coda Tronca" long tail form, of which only 30 cars were ever built. It has all the elements for racing competitiveness, beginning with a highly tuned 1,300-cc engine mated to a five-speed transmission and married to carefully constructed, lightweight aluminium bodywork, which in itself reportedly took Zagato 300 hours to construct. The stunning long tail "Coda Tronca," the final development of the legendary racing Giulietta, was designed with a lower roof line as well as a Kamm tail, which made for better aerodynamics.
Chassis no. 0184, the outstanding example on offer, started its life in Switzerland. It was manufactured on 28 March, 1962 and quickly sold two days later to "Società per il Commercio dei Prodotti Alfa Romeo Lugano," a well established Alfa dealership in Ticino. In 1970 the car passed to renowned local body shop owner Mr. Arno Mark of Gstaad. From there, correspondence on file suggests Michael Storer of Zurich purchased the car from Mr. Mark.
By 1989, the car was owned by Rudy Pas of The Netherlands, and it was during this ownership that the car was given a full restoration. The bodywork was done by "Autocostruzioni SD," who retained the majority of the original aluminium panels and re-skinned the parts that were beyond repair. A mechanical rebuild was also undertaken, conducted by Conrero who built and fitted a competition engine to SZ specification. Conrero is highly acclaimed for the tuning of "Conrero 1,300 cc" Alfa engines, of which this car benefits – an excellent engine producing about 135 bhp. The suspension, brakes and clutch were also rebuilt at the same time. All told, the car is extremely well suited for road and track use.
During Mr. Pas's ownership, the car was predominantly used as a showpiece, only being driven sparingly at prestigious events. It was seen in public on few occasions, and records show that it competed at the 2006 Bologna-Raticosa hill climb, as well as being a distinguished featured car at the 'Celebration of Zagato' in 2004 at Villa d'Este. Acclaimed Alfa specialist Paul Schouwenburg then purchased the car, describing it in correspondence as "a scaled down version of the Ferrari 275 GTB/C with similar feelings of exhilaration and excitement." In an interview with a classic car magazine, Mr. Schouwenburg explained that this SZ "Coda Tronca" was one of his all-time favourite cars, second only to his Ferrari 250 GT SWB "SEFAC Hot Rod."
In 2007 the car was exported to the United States, where the new owner Ronald Hein used the SZ on regular occasions. Two years later he had the engine professionally refreshed at a cost of more than $14,000 by Conrad Stevenson of Berkeley, California.
Only the final 30 Sprint Zagatos left the factory with Coda Tronca bodywork, making this a very rare and tremendously collectable car. Its wonderful GT shape would follow into the development program of the Alfa Romeo TZ "Tubulare Zagato." The offering of chassis 0184 is a rare opportunity to purchase a Zagato masterpiece with outstanding heritage, racing character and the heightened prestige of being a welcome entrant for such important collector car events as the Tour Auto, Goodwood Revival and Le Mans Classic. This particular example was recently re-imported into the EU with all taxes paid and is complete with a fully documented history file.