1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ rises from the dead after 35 years in a basement
Life often gets in the way of our beloved car dreams. We’ve uncovered enough stalled projects on Barn Find Hunter to know that even the best laid plans can get derailed, sometimes for decades. A car gets left in a garage, or in a barn, and suddenly enough time has passed that letting the project sit for months or years longer becomes an easy excuse.
But sometimes the reason is more explicit—like how a broken elevator in Turin, Italy, apparently trapped this stunning 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ underground for 35 years.
According to the Alfa Romeo Giulia & 105-series Facebook page, the Giulietta SZ was found last November. It was owned by a mechanic who, presumably, was unable to get the car out of the basement, opting to just leave it there for more than three decades. Once the mechanic passed away and there was no will to determine the car’s fate, it reportedly went to government auction this morning, where it sold for almost $650,000 (€547,000).
The SZ, or Sprint Zagato, was the pinnacle of performance for Alfa’s humble Giulietta. After a Sprint Veloce crashed in 1956 and was sent to Zagato to be rebodied, the resulting lightweight “SVZ” showed that a lighter and more aerodynamic Giulietta was capable of serious performance. Alfa put the idea into motion, and in 1960 the Giulietta SZ appeared at the Geneva Auto Salon with a breathtakingly curvy body designed by Bertone’s Franco Scaglione and handbuilt by Zagato from aluminum panels.
The SZ’s rounded form was attached to a spaceframe chassis adapted from the shorter Giulietta Spider, and Alfa used Perspex windows and a spartan interior to reduce weight further. Under the hood sat a highly-tuned version of Alfa’s 1.3-liter, twin-carbureted four-cylinder, making 115 hp. These cars were campaigned by private racers for several motorsport events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Effectively a super-hot race car for the street, Alfa did not produce the SZ in large numbers. Most estimates peg total production at just north of 200 cars, with the final 40 or so wearing a unique Kamm-back rear designed for improved aerodynamics. These final cars—which also got front disc brakes—are known as the SZ II, or “Coda Tronca.”
This 1962 example found in the basement, with the original “Coda Tonda” rounded rear, must have been one of the final cars built before the switch.
Considering it’s been in a basement for 35 years, the Turin car is in surprisingly great condition, and it appears totally complete. With any luck, it’s found a loving new home and soon will be back on the road and singing its four-pot heart out across the Italian countryside.