Thursday, 20 January 2011

" Il Mostro " ahead of it's time ? - Alfa Romeo SZ & RZ

The Alfa Romeo SZ designed, in just 19 months, by Robert Opron, responsible for the equally alien Citroen SM, and Antonio Castellana with a little input from Zagato amongst others was dubbed The Monster when it was launched in 1990, one either loves or hates its 'back street speed shop' styling.

The Sprint Zagato was powered by a 210 hp 2,959 cc / 180 cui alloy V6, good for a 150 mph and matched to a superb chassis thanks to the work of Giorgio Pianta who fine tuned the Alfa Romeo 75 chassis inherited from the Group A / IMSA racing programme.

Unfortunately the SZ was launched in the middle of a world recession making it very difficult to sell the 998 Rosso Alfa coloured vehicles. It is believed that there were an additional 38 prototypes and pre production models, many of which are thought to have been scrapped.

Sales of the SZ were boosted by a 'one model' SZ Trophy racing series for which participants were offered a 25% discount on the purchase price of an SZ.

Despite the difficulty selling the SZ when production ceased in 1991 the roadster RZ version of the composite plastic bodied SZ was put into production and went on sale in 1992.

Like the SZ the RZ has a hydraulic lifting mechanism activated by a button which allows the ride height to be raised by 50 mm / 2 inches in order to negotiate bumps in the road surface.

The RZ proved even more difficult to sell than the SZ so production was abandoned after just 278 of the planned 350 were completed, in light of the success of the BMW Z series sports cars perhaps the SZ and RZ were just half a decade ahead of their time.

With thanks to E van der Beek and A.Ritzinger for additional information.

Hope you have enjoyed today's back street racer edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you'll join me again tomorrow on Ferrari Friday for a look at 3 flat 12 racers. Don't forget to come back now !


  1. In concept, this Alfa's body and "greenhouse", along with its linear taillight, reminds me so much of my former, beloved Subaru SVX.

  2. That will be the Zagato influence I suspect Steve :-)

  3. I'm happy to see the Alpha red today, and the yellow is "jazzy", but I must admit, this car leaves me passionless. It doesn't rev my engine in looks or style. But hey, maybe that's just me. I can't fall for every car, right?!

  4. It looks like a sexy version of the last model of the Olds Cutlass. Too bad GM can't make cars that look THIS good. That is one sexy Alpha. Who new square and boxy could look this good? I guess if anyone can do it, Zagato can.

  5. Nice to see opinion so civilly and evenly divided in the 187 house hold :-)

  6. That car is 20 years old? I like it.

    Is it Friday?

  7. It's nearly Friday and tomorrows cars will be around thirty years old JC :-)

  8. Nope :-) Better tune in for a surprise tomorrow JC :-)