1991 Alfa Romeo SZ

by | Jan 8, 2020

Photo Credit: RM Sotheby

1991 Alfa Romeo SZ

by | Jan 8, 2020

Photo Credit: RM Sotheby






Alfa Romeo




RM Sotheby’s


January 16 - 17

You can always depend on the Italians to create great auto body shapes, and the Alfa Romeo SZ is a perfect example. It is a bit controversial but stands out in a crowded parking lot. 

The high waistline climbs as it flows backward under the low greenhouse. At the front of the vehicle is the Alfa Romeo badge shape flanked by the horizontal headlamps that became popular in the early 1990s. The handling power of the Alfa Romeo, combined with the smooth drag figure of 0.03Cd, allows the car to reach up to 152 mph. 

The initial S stands for Sprint and Z for Zagato, but Centro Stile Fiat created the Alfa’s design. Zagato was involved at the assembling site, Terrazzano di Rho near Alfa Romeo’s headquarters. There they bonded the red thermoplastic body panels, the only color offered on the SZ, to a steel shell. Gray was the single roof color, and the interiors, with their banks of gauges and switches, were finished with tan leather.

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The basis for this design was the front-engine, rear-drive Alfa 75, known in the US as the Milano. That created the foundation for the floorplan, independent front suspension, and a de Dion layout in back with the five-speed transaxle. To coordinate with the sporting side of the SZ, the materials and specs used for the suspensions were similar to those on the Group A and IMSA race cars.

Modifications to the engine took horsepower for the single overhead cam, 3.0-liter V-6 engine to 207 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. That will put the 2,778-pound coupe at 60 mph in around 7.0 seconds. Known for its cornering, it’s said the SZ is capable of 1.1g on a skidpad.    

First shown at the 1988 Geneva Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo SZ was in production from 1989-1991. While the initial plan was to produce 1,000 cars, the final total for the SZ came to 1,036.

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