With only a limited 402 models ever produced, the Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1600 was introduced in 1972 for a brief production run that lasted until 1975. The Junior Zagato took the floorpan from the 1600 Spider so that the normal fuel tank could be left in place unaltered. Because of this the 1600 Zagato is 3.9 inches longer than the 1300 JZ and evidence of this can be seen at the rear as the sloping roofline runs further back and the back panel is lower. To house the spare tire is a bulge in the lower part of the rear bumper. Compared to the 1300 Junior Zagato the 1600 Junior features numerous differences setting them apart.
First debuted at the Turin Motor Show in November of 1969, the 1600 was designed by Carrozzeria Zagato and featured a clean and fresh design that had a strong emphasis on good visibility. The Junior Zagato 1600 exhibited plenty of unique coachwork, in typical Alfa Romeo-Zagato fashion, on the high performance variant mechanical components from standard production vehicles. The modern 'wedge-shaped' styling of the 1600 was very advanced for the time and would be the basis of many 1970's model and even the inspiration for the CRZ in the 1990s. The Juniors came in both a long and short tailed version.
Powering the 1600 was a dual Weber version of the 1600 powerplant with the 1.6-liter (1,570 cc) twin overhead cam, all-alloy, four-cylinder, hemi head engine coupled to a five-speed transmission. With a top speed of 118 mph, the 1.6-liter engine produced 109 horsepower. Weighing only 2,100 despite aluminum-only engine lid and doors, the steel bodied 1600 Junior Zagato was a good performer, thanks to its low center of gravity. The cars rakish lines made the 1600 appear much sportier than its square-rigged predecessor, the Giulia.
On the inside the attention to detail was exquisite from the wood steering wheel to the Blaupunkt radio. Under the aluminum hood was a custom interior with sleek power windows. The luggage compartment was also quite spacious. The Junior Zagato was very rarely imported into the United States.
Today the Junior Zagato 1600 is quite rare and since Alfa Romeo wasn't well known for its quality control during the period, not many have survived. In 1972 an example sold for $4,505. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson