During the 1956 Mille Miglia, Carlo Leto di Priolo badly crashed his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce, destroying the body. He then had the car rebodied by his friend Elio Zagato. The new bodywork bore all the hallmarks of Zagato's mastery - low drag, beautiful lines and lightweight, tipping the scales at some 110 kg less than the standard SV. When tuned by Stefanelli and Vecchi of Milan, the car was capable of 121mph, and on its debut at the Coppa Intereuropa at Monza, it was two seconds per lap faster than any other car in its class, winning by 22 seconds from Jo Bonnier in a conventional SV, and in the process setting a new record speed of 90.56 mph race average, the last laps of which were in the rain.

Over the next six years, the car and its successors totally dominated its class, with engine tuners extracting up to 130bhp from the twin cam engine, leading Alfa Romeo to officially re-enter motor racing. Leto di Priolo's car was also a concours d'elegance prizewinner.

Following the success of this first SV Zagato, orders soon piled up at Zagato's works, and in 1957 three further examples were built, all with "double bubble" roofs, and between 1958-1959 fifteen additional cars were built, all with a conventional flat roof.

Of the three double bubble cars, Carlo Maria Abate's won the Italian 1,300 cc GT championship and mountain climb championship, winning numerous races on the way. It was also driven by him on the 1957 Mille Miglia, where it appeared in its distinctive metallic gray coachwork with red flashes on the wings.

The car described here is finished in the same color scheme, and is in good condition, having received a full restoration a few years ago. It will of course be eligible for the historic retrospective Mille Miglia, as well as numerous other important events. One of only three of the more interesting double bubble cars, this is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a delightful and historic motorcar.

{analysis} This SVZ brought an astounding $88,485 when it sold at the Coys November 20, 1997 auction in London.

Since the Italians are extremely adept at creating cars from suspect bits of scrap, and since so many SVZs were raced, crashed, rebuilt, raced and crashed again, we can only assume that this car was fully documented.

If so, it is an extremely rare and desirable piece, and its price is fully warranted.

Comments in italics by Keith Martin.

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