This car is one of the small batch of machines which bridged the Alfa Romeo SZ, a road-going GT which was frequently raced, and the TZ, which was essentially a competition car which could be used on the road.


The SZ was a descendant of the Giulietta Sprint Veloce, which first appeared in 1957. The SZ was for the serious driver: it had a five-speed gearbox, unusual on a small capacity car in the early 1960s, and produced 100 bhp from its 1,290 cc DOHC engine which, in turn, meant 120+ mph. The Giulietta SZ was the spearhead of Alfa Romeo's successful race and rally program in the 1960s.

The SZ had a stubby, but smooth, body by Zagato and was widely called "Zagato's Little Jewel." More than 35 years later, there is no reason to dispute that assessment. There was no other car in its class which could match it for performance, style and all-round capability. The Lotus Elite had its adherents, but even the most enthusiastic Lotus fan had to concede that Alfa Romeo had produced a more practical car.

"Road & Track" said that it went faster than it felt, a characteristic which it attributed to its "free-revving engine, the unmistakably sure-footed chassis and a really low level of wind noise." Only 200 examples of the SZ were built and it remains one of the milestones in the history of the GT car. It epitomized everything which was good about Alfa Romeo in the 1960s when the company could still look over its shoulder at the great days of the Alfetta and was still lean enough to create a car such as the SZ.

The success of the SZ led to the TZ - Turbolare Zagato. Between the two came only 44 Coda Tronca, or SZ2 interim cars. Externally the main difference is the rear body treatment which bridges the rounded tail of the 1.3-liter SZ and the Kamm-tail of the 1.6-liter TZ.

Chassis 0172 was the first of the batch of Coda Tronca machines and was delivered to Karl Froitek in Switzerland, being raced under the banner of Geneva-based Scuderia Filipinetti, which was then one of Europe's leading private teams. According to Marcello Minerbi's book, "Alfa Romeo - Zagato AZ & TZ," the car ran at Le Mans in 1962 driven by Foitek/Ricci but retired with clutch problems after 23 hours.

It spent most of its subsequent life in Switzerland, was sold at auction in 1989 for $141,500 and restored circa 1990, before being acquired by a major U.S. collection. It is in good all-round condition, and is finished in red with a red interior.

{analysis} 0172 was offered at the March 11 [1998] Brooks sale in Geneva at No Reserve, and was sold for $63,000.

We have followed the career of the 0172 for nearly a decade now. We first saw it at the World Classic Auction in Monterey in 1990, where it was bid to $150,000 and declared not sold. We described it then as a slightly scary car that had had a basic, shine-it-up-to-sell-it cosmetic refurbishment. Also, it was fitted with an incorrect 1,600 cc engine from a Duetto or a GTV; all SZ2s were of 1,300 cc displacement.

In the spring of '93 it was at the World Classic Auction in Danville, CA, but never crossed the block because it was damaged when it was unloaded, one rocker panel being severely creased. The seats had been redone, but in an incorrect color, burgundy. In August of '93, at the World Classic Monterey auction, rocker repaired, it was declared sold at $61,5400, a fair enough price, to a Canadian collector and SCM subscriber.

Now, five years later at the Brooks March 11 [1998] sale in Geneva, 0172 was announced sold at $63,000. This price is still in line with the current market; an SZ2 restored to Pebble Beach standards can break $100,000, but 0172 is far from that.

Perhaps this car has now gone to a vintage racer who will bring it back onto the track where it belongs. It certainly has not been a good financial investment; it might as well start providing road-going enjoyment for someone.

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