The car that makes you look twice to check if you’re seeing things. Yes, it’s real.
A great example of a concept car that actually made it to production, the Alfa Romeo SZ is truly a wonderfully odd-looking car.
Produced between 1989 and 1991, only 1,000 were made and all of them were left-hand drive, unfortunately. That, however, didn’t stop around 10% of them, or around 100 units, being initially sold in the UK with a price tag of £35,000. In 1989, this placed the car around the same price point as a Porsche 911 which is a rather precarious place to be given the popularity and success of the 911.
A common mistake people make with the SZ is to claim that it was designed by Zagato. Although it may be easy to believe this myth given the rather uncharacteristic aesthetic of this Alfa Romeo, the truth is that it was designed by Alfa’s own Robert Opron and built by Zagato, with the car keeping the ‘Z’ logo to affirm that sense of mystical Zagato quality.
Looking at the car, it’s incredibly boxy, has a row of six square headlights, is very low to the ground and is actually very short. It’s so short, in fact, that there is no boot! There’s some luggage space behind the two front seats along with some fancy luxury Italian luggage straps but that’s all the storage space you get with the SZ.
The wheelbase measures in at just 2,510mm long, which is around 2 inches longer than a Mini Coupe. Almost like an optical illusion, the SZ’s long bonnet and fairly high roof decieves people into thinking that the car is bigger than it actually is.
Even the proportions of the doors are strange, with the side of the car seeming to comprise mostly of panels and only a small portion of the top being small slanty windows. Follow the roofline down to the end and you’ll meet a large wing followed by a perfectly boxy tail-end. All in all, it’s not too dissimilar to a caricature drawing making it a car truly worth looking at, whether you like it or not.
Powered by a 3.0-litre V6, the little Alfa Romeo SX produces around 235hp, using a 5-speed manual gearbox. The body is almost all fibreglass and the suspension is derived from the Group A race car.
The Alfa Romeo SX represents many things. A bold design, Italian sports car mystique, true sports car performance and ‘feel’ and also, it represents one of the final true RWD Alfa Romeo sports cars, for a long time at least.
Let us know what you think of the Alfa Romeo SX, in the comments!
If you enjoyed this, you may also like: ‘Aston Martin Lagonda: Weird Car of The Month’
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