The contentious world of Alfa historians and experts had a moment of rare consensus on this TZ, and no one questioned its parentage
Though immensely successful as a competition car, Alfa Romeo's Giulietta Sprint Zagato had been based on the road-going Giulietta Spider platform, a compromise that suited clients who wanted a touring car that could be raced on weekends.
But as the 1960s dawned, the need to keep the Milanese marque's name at the fore in international GT racing led to an entirely new Alfa Romeo, one designed from the outset with competition in mind. The result was that most desirable of post-war, 4-cylinder Alfa Romeos-the Giulia Tubolare Zagato, or TZ, for short.
First displayed in prototype form at the Turin Motor Show in October 1962, this new competizione model took its Giulia designation from Alfa Romeo's recently introduced 1.6-liter passenger car range. The Giulia TZ was constructed around a state-of-the-art, multi-tubular spaceframe-hence the name tubolare-and complemented by all-round independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.
Like its SZ forebear, the TZ employed wind-cheating, lightweight, aluminium alloy coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato and took its designer's already fanatical commitment to weight saving even further. As a result, the TZ tipped the scales at an astonishing 1,455 lb, some 165 lb lighter than the SZ, and with as much as 160 hp available from its 1,570-cc twin-cam 4-cylinder engine in race tune, it was the class of the GT field in its day.
The production TZ-1 Berlinetta was launched at the Geneva Salon in March 1963. Ferrari star Lorenzo Bandini gave the TZ victory on its racing debut at Monza in November that same year, with TZs filling the next three places, and from then on, Alfa's "baby GTO" proved virtually unbeatable. In 1964, the cars made their international debut in the Sebring 12 Hours, winning their class, and doing it again in the Targa Florio, the Nürburgring 1,000 Km, and the Le Mans 24 Hours. It won the Alpine classic after finishing second in the Tour de Corse and added success in the Tour de France and Paris 1,000 Km.
The TZ was hand-built in limited numbers, a mere 100 being required to satisfy the conditions for homologation. When production ceased in 1967, 112 TZ-1 Berlinettas had been constructed by Alfa's racing subsidiary, Autodelta. Chassis number 080 was delivered new in April 1965 by SOFAR (Société Française Alfa Romeo) to Claude Journot.
The 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ-1 comes with continuous history of all owners from new, and as the car never left France, the French registration numbers of all owners with dates of ownership can be supplied to interested parties. In superb condition after a ground-up, meticulous restoration while in the ownership of Bernard Consten since 1990, the unmolested TZ-1, chassis number 080, was to our best knowledge never damaged, in spite of some minor French period competition history, including the 1965 Rallye de Lorraine, 1966 Cevennes Hillclimb, and 1966 Tour de Corse.
Following this concours-standard restoration, which is fully photo-documented, including the original bare metal tubular chassis, the car was fitted with its
matching-numbers engine tuned for competition use and won an award at the 2002 edition of the Saint Raphaël "Golf de Valescure" Concours d'Elegance.
It has completed less than 5,000 km since restoration and participated in a trouble-free 2008 edition of the Coupe des Alpes rerun with the 1958 event winner Bernard Consten.
|Vehicle:||1965 Alfa Romeo TZ-1 Berlinetta|
|Original List Price:||$8,395|
|Tune Up Cost:||$750|
|Distributor Caps:||$15 (single plug) $1,000 (twin plug)|
|Chassis Number Location:||Frame tube above pedal box|
|Engine Number Location:||Right side of block|
|Club Info:||Alfa Romeo Owners Club PO Box 12340 Kansas City, MO 64116|
This 1965 Alfa Romeo TZ-1 Berlinetta sold for $465,735, with premium, at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival auction held in Sussex, England, on September 19, 2008.
The TZ (sometimes referred to as the TZ-1 after the introduction of the later TZ-2 model) is arguably one of the most desirable post-war Alfa Romeos ever built. With a terrific period racing record including scores of wins in international and club racing for many years, and capable of running competitively in track, rally, and hillclimb events, the TZ is a very user-friendly car that will guarantee its owner entry to any top-level event around the world. Of course, in order to enter such events, it’s rather important that your car actually be what it says it is.
Alfa SZ and TZ fairly easy to fake
A strong and question-free provenance is always important in any racing car and especially important for a coachbuilt Italian vehicle. While some may think the age of the artisan is behind us, even as you read this page there are impressively talented people at work in Europe who can, for a surprisingly modest sum, create the “vintage” sports racing car of your dreams. The Alfa SZ and TZ are fairly easy to fake, as the mechanicals are production-based and the Zagato frame, bodies, and interiors are quite simple. It’s therefore vital to do your homework before taking the plunge on one.
Like a politician who is suddenly confronted with a peccadillo from his distant past at the most inopportune moment, it’s sadly common to have one of these cars unmasked as a pretender at an embarrassing time. Chassis 080, as offered here by Bonhams, is a car which everyone agrees has no skeletons in its closet. While it has a minor period racing record, it also possesses an all-important continuous history. In scanning the chatter on this car when it came up for sale, it was clear that the sometimes contentious world of Alfa historians and experts had a moment of rare consensus on this 1965 TZ-1 Berlinetta, and no one questioned its parentage.
Fully documented from new, and with a recent restoration to a high standard, chassis 080 is ready to give the new owner miles of enjoyment no matter how he chooses to use it. And use it he should, as the TZ is a comfortable, reliable, durable car, which owners say won’t leave you wrung out and exhausted after hours behind the wheel, unlike many other successful sports racers of the period. Paul Hardiman, SCM’s man on the scene at the Goodwood sale, observed that the car had a good appearance for a former competition car and was still quite sharp 5,000 km of vintage competition on from its restoration. In short, it’s just the kind of car you want to have-fully sorted, not just out of the shop.
Results and originality seldom go together
It’s always an interesting exercise to consider the value of a vintage race car. Conventional wisdom holds that an impressive period competition record, along with continuous ownership history and as much originality as possible, is the ideal. However, as we know, impressive period results and originality are seldom seen in the same vehicle, and a used race car can often go missing for years when it’s just an uncompetitive hunk of metal, not yet old enough to be a prized collectible.
In some cases, such as this, a car like 080, which raced at a lower level, can be a better buy than a well-flogged Works entry. It is less likely to have been rebuilt so often and thus possibly retains more originality. The 70 or so genuine TZs thought to remain most often change hands privately, with no more than seven seen in the SCM auction database since 2000. This price, at $466k, is no advance on the $484k obtained for chassis 100 at the Geneva Sportscar auction in October 2007.
An example with a major event history could certainly make nearly $700k, so the price here doesn’t seem too far out of line. Indeed, the new owner has gained a Alfa Romeo TZ-1 Berlinetta with the all-important continuous ownership trail, which is the single most important factor to be considered with these cars.
As such, I would consider the price paid to be a bargain for the peace of mind alone.