From the legendary pre-war 6C 1750, the combination of Zagato’s lightweight bodywork and Alfa Romeo’s sophisticated engines and superb chassis has led not only to competition successes but to the creation of some of the most stylish sports and GT cars to come from Italy as well.
Among the rarest of this exclusive club are the 16 Sprint Veloce Zagato coupes built between 1956 and 1959. All slightly different in detail execution; they are the ancestors of the Alfa Romeo SZ and TZ that would follow. That the line began with an accident is fascinating and tells a compelling story of mid-20th century Italian racing. Massimo Girolamo Leto di Priolo was a gentleman racer who took delivery of a new Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce in May 1956.
Four days later, he drove his new car in the Mille Miglia, where he promptly crashed into a riverbed, essentially destroying the bodywork. Rather than having his car repaired to factory standards, Leto di Priolo instead had the remains taken to Zagato, where craftsmen cut the wrecked panels off the platform and built a new body in its place. With a more aerodynamic shape and an alloy body weighing more than 220 pounds (100 kg) less than the steel-paneled factory car, this “Sprint Veloce Zagato” coupe was soon racking up a string of victories through the remainder of 1956 and into 1957.
This car, chassis 06184, has a known continuous history and is documented in Gino Giugno’s book, Giulietta Sprint Veloce Zagato. Having been stored for almost 20 years in the shop of Gianni Torelli, it was sold to noted Italian collector and restorer Franco Meiners in 2007. Restored to a very high level, 06184 was shown at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and remains today in superb condition. This Giulietta is stated to be ready to run.