The story behind the SVZ is a fascinating and compelling one. Massimo Girolamo Leto di Priolo was a gentleman racer who took delivery of his brand 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 during torrential rain, essentially destroying the bodywork. Rather than having his car repaired to factory standards, Leto di Priolo had the remains were taken to Zagato, who cut the wrecked panels off the platform and built a new body in its place - the SVZ as we know it was thus born. The resultant car was about 150 kgs lighter than the original and more aerodynamic making it immediately very competitive against the factory produced competition Giuliettas, something that didn’t go unnoticed by his fellow competitors (or indeed Alfa Romeo).
Following this first car rebuilt for Leto di Priolo, a further 15 or so were re-bodied over a period of time to customer order, each being as individual as their owners wished. Three were produced with the trademark Zagato “double bubble” roof, one of these three must be the ultimate car to own. However, the chance of finding then securing one that has undisputed period history is probably unlikely and inevitably expensive.
This car, Chassis Number 04045 left the Alfa Romeo factory in 1957 as a regular Bertone bodied Giulietta Sprint Coupe and was duly exported to her first owner in Switzerland. She returned to Italy in July 1975, left Italy again in the late 1990s to a new owner in Portugal where it was successfully rallied (FIA papers from this period on file) before being sold to a collection in Belgium where it was offered for sale and purchased by an English enthusiast in 2014. At some point during her life, she was re-bodied as a Sprint Veloce Zagato (SVZ) and although it is not clear when this was done, it was evidently not recently and was certainly before it arrived in Portugal.
Upon arrival in the UK, the new owner commissioned a much-needed mechanical and cosmetic restoration. Firstly the incorrect, rally tuned 1750 engine was removed and a replacement 1290cc Giulietta engine was dispatched to specialists “Classic Alfa” for race preparation including a gas flowed head with hardened valve seats, forged pistons, steel rods, race cams etc. The multi shade silver paint (evident in the old FIA papers) was also changed to the current period Alfa colour of Gardenia White. Both the original Zagato-style driver’s seat and the currently fitted competition seat are included in the sale. The vendor has recently secured a brand new set of FIA HTP papers for the car which are valid until 2028.
Personally I think the SVZ is one of the world’s most attractive 1950s sports cars. As well as being very rare and highly attractive, SVZs are eligible for some of the world’s most desirable events including the Mille Miglia, LeMans Classic and the Goodwood Revival. If you need regular competitive racing then FISCAR, AMOC ‘50s Sports Cars, MGCC Iconic ‘50s, along with the ever popular Equipe Classic Racing Pre ‘63 race series are all there to enjoy.
Then again, if you just want to use and enjoy her as an attractive and very rare road car pop the original seat in and enjoy. She always attracts a huge amount of attention wherever she goes…..
This Alfa presents an unequalled opportunity, to enjoy competitive “Dolce Vita” motoring in a car that even as an SVZ continuation model is believed unique in this country, and is thought to be possibly the only double bubble SVZ continuation model in the world with the benefit of “turn-key” status today.
To that end, I have the pleasure of offering Chassis number 04045.