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HomeCar CultureWhat Did I Just See?

What Did I Just See?

Chance sighting of extremely rare Alfa Romeo

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My lunch breaks usually involve a walk around the block just to get a dose of Vitamin D, if not to exercise my formerly broken ankle. Those 20 minutes are generally benign as I see few people and observe little other than many locals running stop signs. However, yesterday was different as I caught sight of this unique vehicle.

The styling seemed familiar, appearing like a cross between a Zagato-bodied Fiat-Abarth 750 and a Kamm-tailed Shelby Daytona Coupe, but the car did not. The grille pegged it as an Alfa Romeo, a brand of which I was once dismissive though over the years I’ve come to appreciate for its strong engineering department and coach-built variants from the most famous Italian design houses. However, the car I saw didn’t ring a bell.

Posting this image on Facebook brought me the answer I was seeking: a Giulia TZ (Tubolare Zagato). The Giulia is familiar to American enthusiasts, both in sedan and coupe/Spider forms (especially the sleek Sprint Speciale). Per my sleuthing, there were two versions (often referred to as TZ1 and TZ2), with this one being the former that first appeared in 1963. Power came from a 112-horsepower, twin-cam 1,570cc inline-four up front (which I wasn’t expecting) paired with a five-speed manual. A tubular spaceframe chassis, disc brakes, and independent suspension were surrounded by coachwork courtesy of Zagato. Thanks to weighing around 1,500 pounds, performance was brisk despite the diminutive engine.

rutamotor.com

Only 100 TZ1s were built, both in street and race trim. Another 12 TZ2s were built, all in race trim. If a rare sighting could be had during an afternoon jaunt, this Alfa Romeo TZ is as good as any.

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Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Diego, lucky AND a great friend to our hobby. I love those old Alfas; gotta tell ya, lotsa loud hi performance inline 4s running around, most Asian.
    But the 4inline sound I covet was from a neighbor in Indianapolis in the late ’80s. His Alfa Spyder had a twin tip Monza exhaust that made my arm hair stand up- definitely not a modern fart can. Sigh.

  2. A friend of ours, also a former coworker with my wife, purchased an Alfa Type 2 Zagato in 1980 as a vintage racer it was one of three factory team cars for Lemans and Sebring. He had me drive it in Portland Oregon Vintage races in 1980 and at Laguna Seca in August of 1981. He started a full restoration of it then sold it in boxes to be complete by someone else. We do not know where that car is but do have photos from 1981.

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