When it was launched at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show the striking Alfa Romeo SZ caused quite a stir. Its angular and aggressive looks were at the same time unconventional and appealing; although they led to the Italian press labeling the SZ as il Mostro, or the Monster, they left little doubt that this was a performance machine.

Underneath composite body panels bonded to a steel frame - but with aluminum roof and carbonfiber rear spoiler - ground effect principles had been employed to further enhance the efficient aerodynamic shape which boasted a Cd of just 0.30. Inside, the two-seat cockpit was bereft of both electronic gadgetry and creature comforts, bar supportive and adjustable leather-trimmed Zagato seats with matching door trim.

The light alloy, fuel injected 2,959cc V6 engine produced 210 bhp at 6,300 rpm and 1,811 lb.ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Mated to a five-speed, close ratio transaxle with limited slip differential this was sufficient to propel the SZ to 152 mph and 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, while braking was taken care of by large ventilated discs at each corner. But it was the roadholding and handling that really caught the imagination, leading the SZ to be considered one of the most exhilarating supercars available. So well was the SZ received by press and public alike that orders exceeded the 1,000 limited-production run before it had even begun.

This example is one of only 40 cars delivered to the UK. First registered in April 1991 - production ended later that year - it has covered just 11,000 miles in the hands of one previous owner. Twice in 1995 this car was awarded concours certificates at Alfa Romeo Owners Club meetings.

Finished, like all SZs, in bright red with tan hide interior, it is thus offered in "concours" condition and comes complete with service history, two concours award certificates, instruction manuals, SZ history book, a current road registration and license.

{analysis} On March 14, 1996, at its London auction, Coys sold this SZ (nee ES-30) for a market correct $41,391. Launched at the height of the speculative frenzy, contracts for SZs changed hands at prices in excess of $100,000 before the first car was even delivered. When reality set in, buyers realized what they had was a high-performance serial production Milano-special with controversial coachwork. Prices plummeted, and seem to have stabilized in the $35,000-$40,000 range. This car may be a great driver, but it is not a good financial investment. - ED.{/analysis}

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