The SZ, or Sport Zagato, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show as a prototype in 1988 in the wake of Alfa Romeo’s acquisition by Fiat. Those who saw it had strong reactions; they either loved it or hated it. As a result, Fiat decided to go with a limited run of a tad over 1,000 of the SZ models under the Alfa Romeo badge. Every single one of them sported Alfa Rosso thermoplastic panels bonded to a steel shell along with tan leather inside and a dark gray roof. All of them, that is, except for one anomaly: the one presented to Zagato boss Andrea Zagato in black on black.
One of the red models, complete with a sport-tuned Giuseppe Busso-designed 3.0-liter V6 making sweet music, is for sale out of San Mateo, California through auction site Collecting Cars. It has just shy of 32,000 miles on the clock and it’s a jewel. With three days to go, the bidding is picking up and sits at $31,250 at this writing.
“The lone high-tech aspect of the car was a button on the console; pressing it raised the car 50mm (about 2”), allowing passage over road irregularities. It had no ABS, no electronic traction or stability controls. ‘Il Mostro’ or The Monster as it was dubbed by the press, was a traditional sports car pushed to the limits of conventional engineering,” says the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Capable of zipping from 0-60 in 7 seconds, Il Mostro could also achieve 1.1G in cornering power and could exceed 150 miles per hour. The aerodynamics are stellar with a 0.30 drag coefficient and with all of that, you can still fit luggage behind the two seats in front. In fact, you could race it with your gear in the back and then head out for a weekend getaway.
Imported from Japan to the U.S. only recently, the SZ had a full workup at Dino Motors in San Mateo, and it still rides on its original 16-inch split-rim alloy wheels wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact sport tires. A nice update is the audio system, which was swapped out for a Pioneer Carrozzeria head unit with remote control and USB port.
The SZ was built on Alfa’s floorplan for the 75, but the materials and tuning were based on Group A and IMSA racing specs. According to the Lane Museum, cooling for the engine and transaxle were tweaked, the engine received larger intake and exhaust manifolds, and the valves and camshaft profiles were upgraded. In the end, the SZ engine could make 210 horsepower, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual.
In 1991, the number one song on the Billboard charts was “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams. Personally, I think the #21 song that year, “Joyride” by Roxette, fits this SZ much more. If you’re craving a joyride in Il Mostro, you should probably get ready for some heavy bidding.
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