One of the first Alfa Romeo SZ models to roll off the line more than three decades ago is back to its former glory and it looks as polarizing as ever. It was restored by none other than Alfa Romeo. Well, by FCA Heritage, a subsidiary within Stellantis that looks after classic cars from Alfa, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
FCA Heritage has been plugging away since 2015, keeping Lancia Deltas going with new parts from their catalog and by issuing certificates of authenticity to settle Craigslist disputes in Italy. But some of the center’s most crucial work is doing maintenance on classic Italian cars and full restorations like with the SZ.
The FCA Heritage workshop, located at the old Abarth HQ, closed briefly at the height of the pandemic, but reopened not long afterwards, because someone has to rebuild and restore these machines. And they have to do it right:
This Alfa Romeo SZ is just the latest full restoration FCA Heritage has shared with fans. The Alfa SZ is affectionately known as ‘il mostro,’ as Periodismo del Motor reports, because of its design. It was dubbed ‘the monster’ because it looked bizarre and extreme when it debuted in 1989.
I don’t know what Italy’s penchant is for calling its coolest vehicles monsters, but there’s at least one other sexy red machine from Italy, the Ducati Monster.
The Alfa Romeo SZ (Sport Zagato) was developed and produced in thirds, as Periodismo remarks. The simultaneously sleek and blocky car was the product of the design team at Alfa, Fiat’s Robert Opron, and Zagato. Notably, the Alfa design team was led by Walter De Silva at the time, and even though the car’s name says Zagato, the company’s design contributions are debated. What is certain, is that Zagato builders assembled the ZF by hand. From FCA Heritage:
This Alfa Romeo SZ, restored in our Officine Classiche workshop, is an ex-works car from the Balocco test circuit: an authentic test car, it was used in the shoots for the presentation of the model and differs in various details from the other SZ units subsequently produced, including the steering wheel and the background color of the instrumentation.
The SZ was designed by Zagato and the new Alfa Romeo Tonale evokes the proud lines of its front lights. It was assembled virtually by hand at the Milan coachworks on the outskirts of the city, with about a thousand made between the end of 1989 and 1991.
The car has been completely dismantled and meticulously restored. The all-composite bodywork was stripped and coated and the interior was completely regenerated with conservation a priority. Our experts, who take care of the Heritage collection, are at your service for your classic Alfa Romeo with the same dedication. Find out more about our restoration services.
That loving hand-assembly from decades ago had to be followed up by dismantling the car so that the shop could restore it to the original production specs, which FCA Heritage keeps archived. I can’t imagine what a restoration like this costs, and honestly, I’m a little scared to ask. But if you ever do find an Alfa Romeo ZF in a barn, rest easy knowing that Alfa can bring it back to life.