Alfa Romeo TZ

The 105 Series Giulia range of Alfa Romeo road cars was introduced at Monza in 1962. The super strong chassis was an evolutionary design based on the previous Giulietta and 101 Series. The 105 introduced major suspension upgrades and, for the first time, disc brakes.

A competition Giulia was introduced at the 1963 FISA Monza Cup. Named for its Tubolare spaceframe chassis and striking light aluminum Zagato coachwork, the Giulia TZ took the first four places there in its class. In 1964 the TZ was FIA homologated (100 units were needed for homologation to the Gran Turismo category) and immediately began logging its impressive string of race wins in Europe and North America. It is believed that, in the end, less than 100 examples were built between 1963 and 1967.

A purpose-built competition GT, TZ (often called the TZ-1 by modern enthusiasts to distinguish it from the later TZ-2), development was guided by Autodelta, a company led by ex-Ferrari engineer Carlo Chiti. The TZ shared the same basic 1,570 cc engine with the Sprint Speciale and Spider Veloce (later, with the addition of a twin plug cylinder head). The transmission had heavy duty, close ratio gears and a very quick short-throw lever. Reduced bonnet height was achieved by tilting the engine in the frame. The front suspension is a similar design to the standard Giulia while the rear is an elaborate independent competition type to minimize unsprung weight.

Aiding the TZ project in its quest for aerodynamic performance was the treatment of the rear bodywork. Incorporating the research of Dr. Wunibald Kamm, the TZ used an approach called “coda tronca,” otherwise known as the Kamm tail.

For ultimate streamlining, the principle is that an aircraft-like, extended tail is optimal. Since that is not practical for an automobile, Dr. Kamm discovered that there is surprisingly little increase in drag by simply chopping it at an angle. Zagato had previously proved the success of this tail treatment with their Coda Tronca Sprint Zagato Alfas, and so it was a natural evolution to adapt this to the TZ.

The stunning result of all this effort was a lightweight coupe (658 kilograms), with torsional superiority to other cars of the day and the power to achieve up to 240 kph (depending upon final gearing), not to mention superb Zagato aerodynamics. The outstanding chassis provided very predictable handling for road racing, but also made for an unbreakable rally car, with a TZ winning the Alpine Rally outright in 1964, for example. Class wins at Sebring, Le Mans, the Targa Florio, and Nürburgring in the same year solidified the TZs iconic position in the annals of motorsport. As the TZ program progressed and became successful, Autodelta increasingly became Alfa Romeo’s racing wing, leading to an eventual acquisition by the firm.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

160 bhp, 1,570 cc twin overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 86.6".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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