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Weekly Treasure: 1990 Alfa Romeo SZ

Car Culture / Comments

It has how many miles!?

Alfa Romeo has not had it easy for the past, oh, few decades. The iconic brand is older than Ferrari and Enzo Ferrari himself began his career racing Alfas. Now part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Alfa Romeo finally has a strong parent company but, unfortunately, sales are not as strong as initially hoped, especially in North America. It's not that the product is poor quality, quite the contrary, but rather Alfa Romeo was kind of late to the game. The likes of Audi and BMW own the luxury sports sedan and premium crossover segments.

Down but not out, Alfa Romeo still has plans for a new crossover smaller than the current Stelvio and a coupe variant of the excellent Giulia and Giulia Quadrifoglio are planned. The 4C coupe has been retired but the 4C Spider is still around. It'll soon be replaced by an all-new supercar, potentially called 8C. We remain hopeful.

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In the meantime, there are plenty of used Alfas on the market, some rarer than others. Let's put it this way: there are more than enough Spiders out there to pick from. And then there's the SZ. Unveiled as a concept in 1989 at the Geneva Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo SZ, or Spring Zagato, was a limited production, high-performance sports coupe built only until 1991 as a joint project with Zagato, though Alfa Romeo, owned by Fiat, handled most of the design. Only the 'Z' Zagato logo was ultimately retained for the production version. Interestingly, Zagato handled final production.

The only engine available was a 3.0-liter V6 with 207 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque and mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Zero to 60 mph took 7.0 seconds flat and top speed is 152 mph. Like a majority of sports cars at the time and now, the SZ has a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive setup.

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Only 1,036 examples were built as production was intended to be limited from the get-go. To help save money, the SZ was based on the Alfa Romeo 75, though various modifications were made, specifically to the suspension. In fact, the suspension was taken from the Alfa 75 group A/IMSA car and a unique hydraulic damper system was also added. It even has thermoplastic injection-molded composite body panels. Sticking with an "everything Italian" mentality, the SZ was equipped with Pirelli P Zero tires. Impressively, the SZ was capable of sustaining over 1.6 G when cornering.

After SZ production ended in 1991, Alfa Romeo and crew build the RZ, a convertible version. Instead of simply slicing off the top, it actually featured all-new body panels, modified door sills, and bumper. RZ production ultimately came to an end in 1994 after around 350 examples were built, making it even rarer than the SZ. But even seeing an SZ on the road is not a common occurrence.

That's why this one up for sale on Bring A Trailer is a real find.

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This red over tan example (the only color combo offered) has only about 2,000 miles on its odometer and its most recent service was done in 2015 when it received a new timing belt, water pump, tires, along with a fuel system cleaning and flushing. Generally speaking, the car looks to be in very good condition, which shouldn't come as much a surprise given the extremely low mileage.

This Alfa Romeo SZ was imported to the US in 2015 from its previous owner in the Netherlands and immediately received the aforementioned service. As of this writing, the current bid was $56,000. The auction is scheduled to end in the coming hours.

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