In response to Alfa Romeo’s request for a TZ successor, Autodelta’s co-founder Ludovico Chizzola built this prototype for Alfa Romeo to opt for its own design—the TZ2—so the car remained a one-off. After completion, this unique Alfa Romeo remained the Chizzola family’s property until it was bought by the current vendor at Bonhams’ Nürburgring Sale in August 2000. Known in the Chizzola family as the “TZ1½,” the car is a development of the original TZ. The un-numbered chassis is a one-of-a-kind tubular design: A modified Ferrari F2 frame according to the late Ludovico Chizzola—but shorter and different than a TZ’s. The fiberglass “gull-wing” coachwork is of an unusual design that corresponds to a scale model kept at the Alfa Romeo Centrostile museum. Both side and rear windows are of Plexiglas, and the cockpit features a wide transmission tunnel, the familiar TZ wood-rim steering wheel and TZ/Giulia gearlever knob, switches, etc…. The car has a genuine TZ-type “single-plug” engine, which breathes through twin Weber 45DCOE carburetors, and runs on 13-inch alloy wheels (à la TZ2). The engine is set low and well back in the chassis, while the wheels are positioned at the extreme corners, thus achieving minimal body overhangs. The leading TZ2-owning authority acquainted with this car since new says that it drives very much like a TZ2. This unique TZ prototype has covered only a minimal distance since completion, but Ludovico Chizzola’s sister recalled one memorable drive with her brother over the standard test route along which he drove all TZs prior to delivery. Comprising 80 kilometers—50 miles—of twisty mountain roads, the drive typically takes 1.5 hours but was covered in this car in just 40 minutes! Stored at the old Autodelta works from 1965-2000, the car had only been seen in public once prior to its sale in 2000—at the 1996 Autodelta Reunion at Udine where it was the star of the event. When auctioned, it had covered just 580 kilometers (360 miles). Since its acquisition by the current vendor, the TZ has been overhauled by Cars International and has only been used once, at an Alfa centenary event in the U.K. The car is described as in generally very good condition and running well. Today a TZ of any sort is both rare and highly sought after, and this unique specimen is surely all the more desirable by virtue of its place in Autodelta and TZ history.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Prototipo Berlinetta
Years Produced:1965
Number Produced:1
Original List Price:N/A
Tune Up Cost:$750
Chassis Number Location:Unknown
Engine Number Location:Right side of block
Club Info:Alfa Romeo Owners Club, P.O. Box 12340, Kansas City, MO, 64116

This car sold for $128,540, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams La Vente du Grand Palais, Paris, France auction on February 5, 2011. The sale was in Euros, €1=$1.36.

Although we all pretend that looks aren’t as important as personality, it’s seldom that a quick wit, a good mind and a winning smile beats drop-dead gorgeous. But it’s also true that sometimes the pretty ones aren’t the most satisfying in the end.

The buyer of this Alfa Romeo obtained a very interesting historical artifact—a unique piece which will gain him or her carte blanche over any vintage event car selection committee and at a considerable discount. The “Tubolare Zagato” cars, literally named for their tube-frame chassis and Zagato bodies, are among the most desirable post-war Alfas.

What the buyer did not get was a car with drop-dead gorgeous, or even late-night-bar-room pretty, looks. In this case, it’s all about personality—or as we say in the world of collectible automobiles, provenance.

A big name—and known history

This car also demonstrates quite vividly the power of provenance. It is called a “TZ Prototipo,” and that is sort of correct, inasmuch as it is a one-off and has Giulia TZ mechanical and suspension bits.

If it were not built by Ludovico Chizzola and if its whereabouts since creation were not well documented, it would probably have the value of a nice 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia GT. While it carries the AR 105 11 prefix of a factory TZ, it is not in the sequence of numbers beginning with 750 000 through 117, which the official TZ1 and TZ2 chassis have.

If this car had been discovered in a country garage during the 90s, it would be poisonous. Genuine Tubolare Zagatos are notoriously easy to fake, and one with an “incorrect” chassis number, different chassis design and individual styling would quickly be dismissed as a bizarre fantasy.

Now the car is a bit of a bizarre fantasy, but since it’s one dreamed up by Chizzola, it of course makes it rather okay. Perhaps more to the point, there’s no real reason for it to carry a Z in its name, as it wasn’t built by Zagato. It was called by its creator “Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Prototipo Berlinetta Vico”—with the last word a nickname for Ludovico—and was so known for most of its life prior to his death. It’s been helpful marketing to call it a TZ, as it shortens the explanation period.

So, as for the difference in value between this car and a TZ, there is, of course, another factor. Almost every TZ has a competition history, which adds to the allure and therefore to value. On the other hand, a competition record is also an opportunity for a car to lose various original components, such as engines, bodywork, suspension components and so on, which renders them less original.

This car has traveled very few kilometers and as far as I could uncover, was never run competitively until 2007, when it was entered in the Fordwater Trophy race at Goodwood. It failed to cover itself with glory on that occasion, as it became a mechanical casualty during qualifying. I haven’t found any other evidence of use on the track or rallies, but it certainly would be welcome in either milieu.

Special car, replica price

As an exercise in physics, Chizzola’s goal of building a race car with a low moment of inertia may have been a success. But, as is the case of many theoretical designs, the ideal must sometimes be compromised to meet the needs of the aesthetic. As no one has noticed any particular major handling deficiencies in either the TZ or TZ2, this design seems to be the answer to a question no one had asked.

A replica TZ, that is to say an acknowledged copy—done to a very good level—brings $115,000 to $135,000. A genuine, no-stories, all-the-contentious-experts- agree TZ, with a majority of its gearbox and suspension bits original or correct and with chassis and body panels showing only the repairs it should based on its history, cannot be found for less than $600k. There is no question that this car is at heart a special.

What makes it different from many other wannabe cars is that it was conceived by and built for one of the most important names in Italian motorsport, someone who certainly had the right, if that can be said, to use the pieces from which it was made.

That this car has been valued by the market on this day as equivalent to a fake TZ is ample proof of one of my maxims: That given a certain amount of money, it’s always better to buy a real something than a fake of something better. I could live with the looks in exchange for owning and driving a unique piece. I hope the new owner manages to get it sufficiently fettled to allow it to take part in competition— at least on over-the-road rallies. I would therefore call this Giulia 1600 Prototipo well bought.

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