Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce Zagato
Beginning with the legendary pre-war 6C 1750, the combination of Zagato’s lightweight bodywork and Alfa Romeo’s sophisticated engines and superb chassis has led not only to competition successes but to the creation of some of the most stylish sports and GT cars ever to come from Italy.
Among the rarest of this exclusive club are the 16 Sprint Veloce Zagato coupés built between 1956 and 1959. All slightly different in detail execution, and all built for competition purposes, they were tremendously successful on the racetracks, rallies and mountain circuits of Europe and the United States in the ‘60s. That the line began with an accident is fascinating and tells a compelling story of mid-20th century Italian racing. Massimo Girolamo Leto di Priolo was a gentleman racer who took delivery of a new Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce in May, 1956. Four days later, he drove his new car in the Mille Miglia, where he promptly crashed into a riverbed, essentially destroying the bodywork. Rather than having his car repaired to factory standards, Leto di Priolo had the remains taken to Zagato, who cut the wrecked panels off the platform and built a new body in its place.
With a more aerodynamic shape and an alloy body weighing over 100 kg less than the steel-panelled factory car, this ‘Sprint Veloce Zagato’ coupé was soon racking up a string of victories through the remainder of 1956 and into 1957. It did not take long for his fellow competitors, especially those with Giulietta Sprint Veloces, to take notice. Turning a factory Sprint Veloce into an SVZ was not an inexpensive matter. On top of the 2.26 million lira cost of a new Alfa coupé, another 1.2 million lira needed to be added for the new Zagato body.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
116 bhp, 1,290 cc dual overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, dual Weber carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front and rigid rear axle with coil springs suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,248 mm (88.5”)
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay