Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coda Tonda (round tail)Lunga

Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ

Total Production: 30
Bridging the gap between the Alfa Romeo SZ and the TZ, the Alfa Romeo Gilietta SZ2 was a competitive vehicle that could also be used on the road. A descendent of the Guilietta Sprint Veloce, the SZ was for only the most of serious drivers. The Giulietta SZ featured a five-speed gearbox and produced 100 bhp from its 1,290 cc DOHC engine. It had a top speed of 120+mph and was 'the spearhead of Alfa Romeo's successful rally and race program' in the early 1960's.

Dubbed 'Zagoto's Little Jewel', the SZ featured a smooth and stubby body that couldn't be beaten in style, performance and all-round capability. Its main competition was the Lotus Elite, but even the most die-hard Lotus fans had to admit that it couldn't compete with the SZ. First introduced in March of 1960, the SZ was unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow.

The main shape of the vehicle reflected the unofficial Spint Veloce (SVZ) vehicle which was re-bodied by Zagato, early in 1956. With its 'free-revving' engine, the Giulietta SZ had an amazingly low level of wind noise, and was remarkably 'sure-footed'.

The SZ was only produced in a capacity of 200 units, and today these models are still collected. Representing everything fabulous about the Alfa Romeo in the 1960's, the success of the SZ led to the TZ (Turbolare Zagato). The main difference between the SZ and the TZ was in the rear body treatment which bridged the rounded tail of the 1.3-liter SZ and the Kamm-tail of the 1.6-liter TZ.

The final 30 of the 200 car production run featured a long tail called the 'Coda tronca'. This body was much longer and was designed to 'penetrate the air better' and featured a cut-off Kamm tail, a lower roof, a narrower front air intake and front disc brakes.

The Sprint Zagoto SZ was a race version Gilietta prepared specially in a direct agreement with Alfa Romeo. The SZ was based on a shorter chassis of the Spider and was combined with the racer Sprint Veloce mechanicals. The body was designed by Franco Scaglione in Bertone's studio, and the aluminum panels were 'beat out by hand' at Zagato's workshop.

The SZ was much faster than its steel-bodied production counterparts due to its own aluminum bodywork and small size. Utilizing a space frame chassis, the SZ was very unlike the production Giulietta. To reduce the weight, the SZ used perpex side windows and a very limited sparse interior.

The SZ was developed by a very innovative team that was led by Orazio Satta. To make it even more competitive, Giuseppe Busso used age-old techniques of building in lightness and in increasing the power. After the launch of the Spring, two months later the SV was taken to the starting line in its first competitive event. The weight was reduced at least 70kg, and the power was updated from 65 to 90 bhp. The SV became a 'class leading competition' vehicle.

Carlo and Dore Leto di Priolo entered the new SV into the 1956 Mille Miglia just weeks after the Giulietta SV's debut. Unfortunately the SV was crashed horribly near Perugia that seriously damaged the vehicle. The wreckage was then taken to coachbuilders Zagator and the tried and true formula of lightweight, improved aerodynamics was introduced in a rebuilt vehicle that appeared in September of 1956. The SV then won its class at the Coppa Intereuropa GT race at Monza, even against very stiff SV opposition.

In December of 1959, Alfa Romeo entered into an agreement to legitimize the Zagato connection and entered into a design phase that resulted in the Spring Zagato. The SZ was created by using a short wheelbase and a more powerful engine of the SS, combined with the functionality and lightweight nature of a Zagato body. The SZ went on to achieve great success for Alfa Romeo on the race track.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ had a displacement rate of 1290 cc, featured power of 100 bhp and had a top speed of 120 mph.

By Jessica DonaldsonFrom the start this high-performance super coupe Alfa Romeo SZ was dubbed 'Il Monstro' or Little Monster. During its lengthy automotive history, Alfa Romeo has been responsible for some awe-inspiring designs, and the Sprint Zagato or ES-30 (Experimental Sportscar 3.0 liter) was one of the most controversial of its models. The development occurred at lightning speed, taking only 19 months from the initial sketch to its debut at the Geneva motor show in March of 1989. This speed was achieved thanks to the use of integrated computer systems and CAD/CAM design.

The press was none too shy about voicing their opinion. Roger Bell of Car Magazine called it 'Ugly, ghastly, ridiculous, monstrous' while other journalists didn't have anything nicer to say about it. The SZ though was exactly what Alfa Romeo needed at a time when the company was nearly bankrupt; Fiat hadn't had time to invest money in the company so a temporary substitute was needed to help raise Alfa Romeo's profile. Seeking to repair their tarnished image of building rusting cars with a lack of quality, Alfa Romeo sought a way to link with their exciting history of sports cars. Then there was Zagato, the Milan-based design studio and coach builder, who was working on a way of separating from their development and manufacturing of exotic car bodywork to industrial design and prototyping. The two companies were drawn to each other in a mutual need to reestablish their image in the late 1980's. The end result was the individual Alfa Romeo SZ coupe. The company was limited to developing a car on an existing platform, and the only suitable one was the respected Alfetta chassis, which had been around since 1972.

Three teams were given the job of designing the car by Vittorio Ghidella, Fiat's boss. Walter de Silva led one team; who would later go on to design the extremely successful Alfa Romeo 156. The second team consisted of Fiat's design manager Mario Maioli who created a smooth modern design that was quite conservative. Unfortunately, it would have been difficult to produce due to its conventional construction. De Silva on the other hand worked in partnership with Zagato and designed something much more controversial, the bold SZ. Ultimately the design that originated from the Fiat design center lead to the ES-30 with Robert Opron making the initial drafts while young designer Antonio Castellana was mostly responsible for both the interior of the car and the styling of the body.

The need for speed in developing the car resulted in initial suspension settings sorted out by utilizing two Alfa Romeo 75 Mules and experience that was gained with the IMSA racing 75's. The SZ body was styled and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned on a shortened 75 V7 floor pan. At the same time Zagato set to work in combination with Carplast to produce a body. Carplast specialized in resin panels and was run by Giuseppe Bizzarini, son of sports car manufacturer Giotto Bizzarrini.

In order to fit the methacrylic resin panels to the steel framework the SZ body used a variety of new techniques. It spend numerous hours in Fiat's wind tunnel and the engineers did a great job getting the bluff fronted design's drag factor down to a small 0.30 while still managing to produce down force. This was a difficult accomplishment in a vehicle shaped like an airplane wing. A thermoplastic resin, the coachwork was reinforced with glass fiber composite material that was joined to a steel chassis with special adhesives that produced a body with extreme torsional rigidity.

The chassis received more fine-tuning by Fiorgio Pianta once the SZ had reached the prototype stage. Pianta is credited with his work on some of Lancia's stunning rally cars. In testing the SZ he managed to create some impressive G figures up to a large 1.4G for short intervals of time.

Featuring extremely good visibility in the front, the large amounts of glass-encased a surprisingly conventional interior. The dash is sporting, and the rev counter and Speedo were placed directly in the front while the minor instruments were placed off to the right in the center console. The interior controls were easy to find and use. The famous 'Z' crest of Zagato was placed on both sides of the car, though Zagato only made minor contributions to the design of the front and back of the ES-30. Unusual headlights were positioned in a trio on each side of the car, a design cue that was used subtly on later Alfa Romeos in the '00s.

Though it looked like something out of this world, Alfa Romeo chose to begin a production line for a limited series of the ES-30, renaming the car SZ (Sprint Zagato) as a reminder of Alfa's exciting past. That same year the initial eleven SZ cars were made and a maximum production number of 1,000 units was announced. Distribution of the SZ began in 1990, but with only 289 units produced. The following year was the final production year for the SZ. Only 736 models left the factory, which made the grand total 1,036 SZ cars ever produced. Thirty-eight of these models were prototype and pre-production cars whose future was the scrapyard, though some still survived today.

Only one color scheme was available for Alfa Romeo SZ: a red body or Rosso Alfa combined with a dark gray roof section. All of the cars were the same except for Andrea Zagato's personal vehicle; a rebuilt Trophy racing vehicle that was entirely black, the interior and the seats as well. All of the mechanical components of the SZ were produced by Alfa Romeo and further enhanced by Alfa Corse.

Even though the commercial success of the SA wasn't extremely high a convertible version was introduced from 1992 until December of 1994, the RZ (Roadster Zagato). Though in appearance it was nearly identical to the SZ, the two cars had completely different body panels except for the front wings and the trunk. The RZ received an updated bumper and doorsills to aid in ground clearance and the trunk lost the intimidating ridges. The RZ came in three colors; standard black, yellow and red. Black and yellow were the most popular choices. The yellow and red cars featured a black leather interior while the black car had a burgundy interior. The inside of the RS was quite similar to the SZ but with a painted central console that ran between the seats to hide the convertible roof storage area.

Plans were set to produce 350 units, but only 252 models were created before production was halted once the Zagato factory producing the cars for Alfa Romeo went into receivership. 32 more cars were completed under the control of the receivers before production was completed at 284 units, making the RZ the lowest production Alfa Romeo ever produced.

By Jessica Donaldson

Total Production: 180

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Sprint
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint

Total Production: 24,084

Model Production *

* Please note, dates are approximate

Related Articles and History

The 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta was an important vehicle for the Company, because it was the first offering since World War II that truly resembled the racing-inspired vehicles Alfa was capable of producing. The vehicles were mass-produced, a first for the company. The Giulietta came in various body styles including the Spider, Sprint, TI, and Veloce.
The vehicles were built with the engine in the front and powered the rear wheels. Most used a four-speed manual gearbox with front and rear drum brakes. The steering was worm-and-roller with the front suspension comprised of wishbones with telescopic dampers and coil springs with anti-roll bar while the rear was a rigid live axle with telescopic dampers and coil springs.

The first of the Giulietta's to be offered was the 2+2 coupe which featured a four-cylinder engine and bodywork by Bertone. The 1290 cc engine producing 65 horsepower, a respectable figure at the time. A year later the Berlina version appeared, commonly referred to as a salon. This version brought a level of practicality, with its four doors and longer wheelbase. It featured the same mechanical components as the Sprint but the engine was not as powerful, producing a little over 50 horsepower.

The famous coachbuilder, Pininfarina, was tasked with designing a new prototype for 1955. What was created was the Giulietta Spider Prototype, first introduced to the public at the 1956 Turing Motor Show in production form. It sat atop a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Sprint but used the same mechanical components.

In 1956, the Veloce was introduced. This version was sporty, with its dual-cam 1300 cc alloy engine. Using dual Weber DC03 carburetors the vehicle was capable of producing 90 horsepower. The gas tank was enlarged to better prepare it for endurance racing while the larger front brakes provided excellent stopping power. By using Plexiglas rear and side windows and aluminum alloy doors, hood, and trunk lid the vehicle was able to shed weight, ultimately improving performance. The Veloce version was available on the Spider and the Sprint.

In 1957, the Giulietta Ti was introduced, outfitted with a salon body and powered by a Sprint engine. With the four doors and a 65 horsepower engine, this became the most popular Giulietta ever produced.

Modest changes were made in 1959 to correct reliability issues. There were few aesthetic changes, mostly to the exterior of the TI version.

In 1961 the berlina's received an updated grill and the Spider now shared the same wheelbase as the Sprint. The TI received extra power, an increase that brought total output to 75 horsepower.

In 1963, the production of the Berlina ceased with the TI doing the same a year later. Throughout the production lifespan of the Giulietta, the TI was by far the most popular model with nearly 93,000 examples being produced. The closest to the TI was the Berlina with a little over 39,000 examples. With nearly 2,800 examples produced, the Spider Veloce was the lowest produced version. There was a version dubbed the Promiscua that was a four-door estate car and featured bodywork by Coli that was even more exclusive, with only 91 examples produced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011

Prior to World War II, Alfa Romeo was blessed with a mystique that few companies have ever been able to duplicate. Perhaps the easiest way to describe prewar Alfa Romeo is to compare it with postwar Ferrari, a company whose relentless dominance on the racetrack and in the garages of millionaires has become a familiar fact of life. It was, after all, with Alfa Romeo that Enzo Ferrari began in earnest his famous career.

Suggesting that the two brands are entirely analogous is far too simple a conclusion, though. Ferrari did, in a sense, pick up where prewar Alfa left off, building glorious cars that were created first and foremost to win races. But the Ferrari company was a relative latecomer to auto racing, while Alfa Romeo was involved from nearly the start of the sport. Alfa Romeo built its reputation with some of the finest drivers, finest engineers, and finest automobiles known to the world. An Alfa won every Mille Miglia from 1928 to 1938, with the exception of the 1931 race that was won by a Mercedes-Benz SSK. Alfas won Le Mans in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1934. It wasn't until just before the outbreak of World War II when Nazi Germany fed Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz great sums of money to create cars that could dominate auto racing and boost national pride, that Alfas began to slowly slip off the podiums—and even after that the company remained highly competitive.

Alfa Romeos raced in the most grueling, dangerous, frightening, and exciting events that car racing has ever known. The company's road cars, too, used phenomenal engines and chassis, many of which were initially developed for race use and then later detuned and clothed in stunning bodies by Italy's famed carrozzerie. Alfa built supercars before supercars existed. Alfa was, put simply, one of the absolutely superlative prewar marques, a rarefied combination of lust, precision, sophistication, and aesthetic excellence.

After World War II, though, Alfa Romeo boldly entered a market into which it had never before ventured: that of the mass-produced car. Fortunately, these later Alfas did not lose their prewar dignity. Instead, the carmaker's characteristically excellent engineering and styling were translated into smaller, more affordable packages. The 1900 was the first of Alfa's mass-produced cars. An excellent vehicle with monocoque construction and a twin-cam four-cylinder with an alloy head, the 1900 was a clear departure from Alfa's prewar roots. The car was distinctive, though, and while it was usually ordered as a conservative sedan, it could also be ordered as a coupe or convertible from the same excellent design houses that created some of the finest examples of prewar Alfa style. The real success story of Alfa Romeo's early postwar years, though, was introduced four years after the 1900, and named Giulietta.

Despite what BMW fans might say about their 2002s, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta was the first sports sedan. Admittedly, that assertion might meet with some controversy, but even on paper, the Giulietta's sporty demeanor is clear. Even the four-door (or Berlina) Giuliettas were equipped with mechanicals that made many contemporary sports cars jealous. The brakes were excellent finned Alfin drums, the rear axle with its aluminum differential housing was suspended by coils instead of leaves, and the car's compact size and weight of just one ton ensured delightful road manners.

And then you see the engine. Displacing just 1,290cc, it was not particularly powerful. It had a polished sophistication that could not be matched by the engines in many cars with bigger price tags and more impressive performance figures, though. The Giulietta engine was such an inherently excellent and modern unit that its basic design, albeit in 1,962cc form, was in use until the very last of the Alfa Romeo 105- and 115-series Spiders were produced—in 1993.

The Giulietta's engine contained many features usually reserved for prohibitively expensive cars, yet it was made available affordably to the masses. The block and head were both cast in aluminum. An oil capacity to rival the Exxon Valdez ensured cool operation even at sustained high engine speeds. The pistons traveled in cast-iron wet liners that were replaceable, indicating that these engines were designed not just to perform but also to last. Twin, chain-driven camshafts operated two valves per cylinder that opened into hemispherical combustion chambers. This was an engine comparable to those used in some of the very best sports cars of the time—and sure enough, Alfa created successful racing cars using tuned Giulietta running gear coupled with aerodynamic bodies.

Unlike most cars offering more than one body configuration, where the four-door sedan is usually the first style introduced, Alfa Romeo introduced the coupe (or Sprint) version of its Giulietta before the Berlina. The background behind this unusual decision is fascinating.

Alfa intended to release the Giulietta Berlina as the initial Giulietta body style in 1953. In order to raise money and generate interest in their new car, Alfa held a lottery by issuing company securities and giving security holders the chance to win a Giulietta. Alfa Romeo held this lottery while their latest car was still being developed, though, and by 1953 the Giulietta was not yet ready for production. The randomly selected lottery winners were getting upset at not having their cars by the originally stated release date, and Alfa knew it had to act quickly to settle the problem before the Giulietta's reputation was tarnished before the model had even been released.

The Giulietta Berlina would not be ready until 1955. Given Alfa Romeo's close relationship with the Italian carrozzerie, though, the company knew that it could order a limited run of cars built quickly to assuage the concerns of angry lottery winners. Alfa Romeo accordingly contacted Bertone to arrange for the production of the Giulietta Sprint in time for a debut at Turin in 1954. Alfa didn't realize just how well its Giulietta would sell in all three standard body configurations (Berlina, Sprint, and Spider), and by the end of production, the car had been a success story not only for Alfa but also for Bertone, which went on to produce all Giulietta Sprints.

In addition to the Berlina and Sprint, a two-seat Spider (convertible) version of the Giulietta was also produced. Styled and built by Pinin Farina, this lithe and pretty automobile was proof that the Giulietta running gear was perfectly suited to sports cars. Though the Berlina was the most popular body style by a wide margin, the little sedans are now very rare as they tended to lead rougher lives than the Sprints and Spiders.

From 1956, Giulietta shoppers could choose a Sprint Veloce or Spider Veloce in addition to the standard versions of the three primary body styles. The Veloce models featured, amongst other engine modifications, twin Weber carburetors in place of the standard trims' single Solex units, and they could rev to 8,000rpm. With virtually no external cues giving away the added power, the Veloces were true sleepers that offered tremendous fun in cars that were still relatively affordable and sturdy.

Two other notable and exclusive Giulietta body styles were the Sprint Speciale (by Bertone) and the Sprint Zagato. These models added sleek, aerodynamic bodies to an already impressive platform. The cars are highly prized today, the Sprint Speciale for its terrific style and the Sprint Zagato for its racing pedigree.

The Giulietta was produced in two series, retroactively titled 750 and 101 in reference to the beginning digits used for part numbers associated with the vehicles. The early 750 and later 101 were distinguished by several subtle yet important changes (such as the 101's split-case gearbox and longer wheelbase for Spider), but they were not marketed as different cars, and there were transitional examples that blurred the distinctions between the series. Despite the detailed changes, the Giulietta models were never fully redesigned until the Giulia replacement came in 1962 (some Giulietta models remained in production until 1964). The Giulia continued to cement Alfa Romeo's postwar reputation as the producer of innovative, thoughtfully engineered, and superbly styled mass-produced sports cars and sedans.

To gain an insightful understanding of the Giulietta, it's helpful to consider the car's name. Giulietta. No one seems to know for sure where that name came from, but there is a popular legend that offers a possible idea. Several of Alfa Romeo's directors, as well as racing driver Jean-Pierre Wimille, ended up in a Paris nightclub at a time near the debut of the Alfa 1900. A clever Russian prince who happened to be in the same nightclub recognized the eight gentlemen and asked, 'You are eight Romeos, without even one Giulietta?' Evidently, the Alfa directors liked the name.

Whether or not this story is true, it gives a clear (if romanticized) picture of what Alfa Romeo was like in the 1950s. This was a clever, stylish brand, run by charismatic enthusiasts who were ready to reformulate the essence of their company. Exciting times, exciting people, exciting cars—Giulietta's birth represented a new chapter in Alfa Romeo's history that has come to be as highly regarded as the tradition of extravagant perfection before it.


Benson, Joe. Illustrated Alfa Romeo Buyer's Guide . 2nd. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 1992. Print.

Goodfellow, Winston. Italian Sports Cars. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 2000. Print.

LaChance, David. ''The Italian Girlfriend'.' Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car. Dec 2010: 24-29. Print.

By Evan Acuña