Rare Rides: The Extra Rare 1991 Alfa Romeo SZ, by Zagato

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZItalian design firm Zagato has a way with making things red and black — and extra angular. Why, just look at what they did to a standard Nissan Leopard in turning it into the Stelvio. And while the Stelvio’s integrated fender mirrors and overall level of crazy isn’t to everyone’s taste, general favor has always fallen upon Alfa Romeo’s ’90s Zagato model, the SZ.

Come and have a look.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZWhere the Stelvio was a heavily-modified Nissan Leopard, the SZ was a brand new design all its own. The S and Z making up the model’s name stand for Sprint Zagato.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZAlways intended as a limited-production model, the SZ debuted in concept format at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989. A lucky few individuals purchased them at Alfa dealers between that year and 1991. Though the body was brand new, most everything underneath it was not.  The equally angular 75 model donated its engine, a 3.0-liter V6.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZMost other mechanical components also came from the 75, but the suspension came from another level. The Alfa 75 IMSA car provided the suspension, with modifications for road duty made by the Lancia and Fiat rally team. Holding everything down to the road, the SZ shipped with standard Pirelli P Zero tires. Those have been replaced with cheaper Michelin units on this used example.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZToday’s SZ is from late in the run, a ’91 model bearing production number 946. The original plan was to make 1,000 units but, this being Alfa Romeo, things got a bit enthusiastic. The company made 1,036 instead.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZInterior accommodations on the SZ are perhaps not quite as expected — an interesting mix of luxury appointments and spartan racing-inspired simplicity.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZThe SZ got a follow-up model that is considerably rarer and even more doorstop-looking, called the RZ. Alfa Romeo cut the roof off the SZ to make it, implementing an R to mean Roadster. Alfa Romeo produced only 278 of the intended 350 Roadster Zagatos between 1992 and 1994.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZLocated in San Francisco, where some bridges are also red, this particular SZ was imported from Japan. Its condition appears excellent, since approximately zero of these were ever driven hard or very far. With 4,665 kilometers on the dial, the seller says it has 7,500 miles. Unless my American to Canadian calculator is failing me, I think that’s wrong.

Image: 1991 ALFA ROMEO SZAnyway, enjoy some boxy Alfa Romeo, which is yours for $79,000. The dealer has a Roadster too.

[Images via seller]