It’s tempting to speculate what this car might have brought if it had retired after the 1964 season instead of being raced for years

One of the most desirable of all of the postwar Alfas, TZs were—and continue to be—considered as Alfa Romeo’s version of Ferrari’s GTO. Ranking in rarity with the very best sports cars, only about 112 were built between 1963 and 1967. TZs raced in the most important races, were driven by some of the best drivers at the time and competed against the likes of Ferrari 250 GTOs, Shelby Cobras, and Porsche 904s.

According to research, as well as the Zagato TZ Registry, chassis 750006 was completed and raceprepared by Autodelta for the Alfa Romeo DIPRE ESPE (Experimental Department). This was to be one of the few Autodelta-prepared TZ chassis that were built. The later competition cars were derived from the standard homologation cars and are therefore not as rare or desirable. As such, chassis 750006 was fitted with special outboard front shock mounts, a close-ratio gearbox and a larger radiator header tank.

Barely three weeks after acquisition on April 24, 1964, 750006 was assigned race number 58 in preparation for entry into the Targa Florio. While the historic Targa Florio archives are not accessible, there is photographic evidence that corroborates the car and driver’s participation in the various stages of the race. In June 1964, chassis 750006 contested the Le Mans 24 Hour race, where it battled against a squadron of Porsche 904s, Ferrari 250 GTOs and Shelby Cobras. Although the car faced a horsepower disadvantage, 750006, with Giampiero Biscaldi and Giancarlo Sala driving, managed 15th overall and 10th in GT.

In March 1965, Giancarlo Sala bought the car. Sala continued to race 750006 in Italy during 1966, 1967 and 1968, finally entering the 1969 Targa Florio that May, where it failed to finish. In an effort to remain competitive through weight reduction, Sala removed all paint from the inner and outer bodywork of 750006 at some point in 1967. Sala retained the TZ for another 13 years, finally selling it in June 1982. Restoration work was eventually begun. Due to the condition of the bare aluminum body, much of the skin had to be replaced. The roof and most inner components of the body, however, remain original, and it should be noted that the original aluminum skin of the body will be included with the sale of the car.

In order to definitively confirm the car’s authenticity and identity, 750006 was taken to Italy in February 2011 and submitted to the rigorous scrutiny of a homologation and authentication session at the factory-supported Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo. The current owners have applied for, and have been granted, the most elaborate certification, the “Certificazione di Autenticita.”

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1964 Alfa Romeo TZ Coupe
Number Produced:112
Original List Price:3,700,000 Lira (about $6,000)
Chassis Number Location:Tube on left side of engine bay
Engine Number Location:Right side of block
Club Info:Alfa Romeo Owners Club

This car, Lot 126, sold for $895,014, including buyer’s premium, at the RM Villa d’Este auction on May 21, 2011.

The Alfa Romeo Tubolare Zagato has always been the stuff of lust and legend, one of those particular designs that has remained iconic from the day it was introduced to the present. They were formidable competitors on the track, giving serious competition to 3-liter Ferraris and 2-liter Porsche 904s, particularly on short, twisty tracks 1964 Alfa Romeo TZ Coupe It’s tempting to speculate what this car might have brought if it had retired after the 1964 season instead of being raced for years by Thor Thorson Photos: Dirk De Jager ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions September 2011 71 SCM Digital Bonus SCM Digital Bonus. Additional images and more… and events. Although they came along a bit after the Ferrari GTO’s time, they were considered by many to be in the same league—albeit on a much smaller scale. Alain de Cadenet famously bought his first Ferrari GTO (admittedly old and very used) because he couldn’t afford to buy a TZ.

The TZ was first raced in 1963, but it had spent a very long time getting to production. The original idea goes all the way back to a collaboration between Abarth, Boano, and Alfa Romeo in 1955, when the three parties tried to develop a 1500cc pure racing coupe using the then-new Giulietta mechanical package.

The idea faded then resurfaced through the late 1950s, evolving from a folded steel chassis to a tubular one but remaining in the background as the Zagato-bodied SZ successfully carried Alfa’s racing hopes—if not dreams—to the outside world.

Although Alfa proudly carried one of the most storied racing heritages in the industry, they had reluctantly been forced to accept that they were a production car company that couldn’t afford to get deeply into the racing side. The type 158/159 Alfetta Grand Prix cars of the late 1940s had been spectacularly successful but had almost bankrupted the company.

The lesson was not lost on anyone: racing was great, even as a core passion, but it couldn’t be allowed to divert the company from production cars. The SZ had shown up literally by accident when a customer wrecked his Sprint Veloce in the 1956 Mille Miglia and asked Zagato to build aluminum body to replace the wrecked stock one. The resulting car, called the SVZ, was sufficiently lighter and slipperier that it caught the factory’s attention and soon evolved into the Sprint Zagato (SZ), which ended up carrying the Alfa racing banner into the early 1960s.

The SZ was basically a light body on a production Sprint chassis, and Alfa had decided that it was time to pursue the dream and build a proper purpose-built racing car. The sketches and ideas that had been simmering in the background for years finally took shape about the time that the new 1600cc Giulia model line was developed, so the Giulia would be the source of the mechanical package.

Zagato was right across town from the Alfa factory, and the relationship developed with the SZs was excellent, so the body would clearly be both Zagato and an evolution of the current SZ design. The tubular chassis design was finalized in 1960, and in early 1961, the first chassis was delivered to Zagato. It took a long time to work out the details, and the prototype was first displayed in Turin in October 1962, with the final design not finalized until mid-1963, and the car didn’t reach serious production until 1964.

A beautiful, collectible, big-time racer

The Alfa TZ basically ticks all of the collectable racing car boxes: It is beautiful, exotic, and fast, with a lightweight aluminum designer body and huge competition success. It is also an extremely dependable and useable racing car, easy to maintain, with fundamentally production mechanicals, and easy to drive quickly and well. Alfa Romeos always take care of their driver.

The relatively large production also helps keep the market liquid and defined; there are always a few available and plenty of buyers looking. The downside is that they are notoriously easy to replicate: between many cars being wrecked and lost and others being wrecked and found, there is a huge range in correctness and authenticity in the cars available. Bulletproof provenance is crucial and accounts for at least a third of the value of the best cars.

Almost the best of the best

So what about this particular TZ? In short, it is almost but not quite the best of the best. On the good side, it is one of the early pre-production racing cars with visibly defining differences from the “production” chassis. It also has an extensive quasi-factory racing history, including Le Mans and Targa Florio. The car has a short, completely known—and unquestioned— ownership history, and it has full Alfa certification.

On the downside, the TZ lived a very long and hard competition life as “ just an old race car” after its glory years. So, some of the patina and originality has been lost. It has been re-bodied in large part, and although the livery is authentic 1964 Le Mans, it’s not quite the real thing.

Whether the engine is original is unknown (this is not as important for Alfas as some other cars). The car certainly does not have its original single-plug cylinder head (twin plug heads, as this car is currently fitted with, were very unusual on TZs and then only on the very late ones, as they weren’t even legal to use until April 1965).

There is a huge range in TZ market values as discussed above. The best have been selling privately in the low $800k range, so this car’s purchase price was a little high, but not irrational. It’s tempting to speculate as to what it might have brought if it had been hidden away at the end of the 1964 season instead of raced for years, but the greater the racer, the less likely for that to happen. I’d say the car was well sold and fairly bought. ?
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Auctions.)

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