Alfa Romeo's successful Giulietta range debuted in 1954 with the arrival of the Bertone-styled Sprint coupe, the Berlina saloon not appearing until the succeeding season. Veloce models with improved performance followed, and the agile Giulietta SV quickly established an enviable record in production car racing, notable victories including a Granturismo class win in the 1956 Mille Miglia. Nevertheless, to fully exploit the car's potential, lighter and more aerodynamic bodywork was deemed necessary, a requirement which resulted in the ultimate Giuliettas: Bertone's Sprint Speciale and the Sprint Zagato, both built on the short-wheelbase Spider platform and powered by the 116-bhp version of Alfa's classic, 1.3-liter, twin-cam four.

Conceived as an out-and-out competition car, the Sprint Zagato coupe employed lightweight aluminium-alloy coachwork and demonstrated its designer's commitment to weight saving in every detail. As a result, the SZ tipped the scales at a mere 785 kg (1,727 pounds), and with a top speed of 125 mph was easily the fastest of the Giuliettas. Even today there are few 1.3-liter cars that can match this level of performance. The SZ's inherent stability and instantaneous response to steering input made it a driver's car par excellence. On the racetrack it proved virtually unbeatable, and the Sprint Zagato remains a major force to be reckoned with in historic motor sport, being eligible for a wide variety of prestigious events.

169 "round tail" Sprint Zagatos were built before the introduction of the Kamm-tailed SZ2 for 1962. Finished in white with red center stripe, this SZ has come from Italy and has recently benefited from a bare-metal re-paint and an engine rebuild.

{analysis} This little football was punted to a new home at the Brooks December 2/3, '98 London auction for , including commission, of $36,052 (1 pound sterling = $1.65USD).

This same car had been sold had been sold for a similar amount a year earlier by one of Mr. Brooks' competitors.

With SZs trading in the $45,000 - $60,000 range we wondered why this car, said to be in very nice condition by the people we spoke with, continued to trade hands at what we would consider to be a sub-market price. The answer was quick in coming.

SZs, as SCMhas mentioned before, are essentially rebodied Giulietta Sprints. Even today, you can order a fresh SZ body from Galbiati, and in a few months it will appear.

While this is an advantage to a restorer, it also makes it very easy to create air cars, where a "lost chassis number" is suddenly found (often in that elusive Swiss wrecking yard where so many exotics seem to have ended up), and, with the sprinkling of a few or many dollars, a new car springs up from the ground.

We are not saying that is the case with AR595119. However, it was reportedly offered with very little if any documentation supporting its history over the past thirty years.

Not having famous race history is one thing - having no history at all is another. SZ buyers, being a savvy lot, simply put a rather large discount on a car whose owners have been unwilling or unable to document a car.

So, if the new owner is willing to take the time and rummage through the Alfa archives, and comes up with some interesting history for this car, it was a very good buy. If it turns out that no details are forthcoming, and that this will always be a car with an unknown past, the fun quotient won't be diminished, but the market value will continue to suffer.

Market opinions in italics by Keith Martin{/analysis}

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