1962 Alfa Romeo SZ 'Coda Tronca' - 'the lost 1962 Le Mans car' - Ex-Scuderia Sant Ambroeus & Squadra Foitek
With only 200 examples ever built, the Alfa Romeo Sprint Zagato (or ‘SZ’) is a very rare car indeed. Rarer still is this particular model, known as the “SZ Coda Tronca”, of which only 30 examples were ever built. A true racing car from birth, the SZ Coda Tronca is equipped with a highly-tuned 1300cc engine mated to a five-speed transmission and housed in a beautifully constructed, lightweight aluminium bodywork, which in itself reportedly took Zagato 300 hours to sculpt. The final and ultimate development of the legendary racing Giulietta, the Coda Tronca was also designed with a lower roof line to add to the aerodynamic Kamm tail.
This car, chassis ‘0184’, was supplied new to 'Società per il Commercio dei Prodotti' Alfa Romeo of Lugano, Switzerland, having been dispatched on 28 March, 1962. Until recently, the next known owner was in 1970, when the car passed to renowned local body shop owner Mr. Arno Mark of Gstaad.
But it is the early-mid 1960's years that have only just come to light for this car. Whilst it was believed that chassis 0184 was taking part in the odd hillclimb between being a road car, 0184 was in fact a significant race car for both Scuderia Sant Ambroeus (a team closely linked to Ferrari factory, and run by Ferrari team manager Eugenio Dragoni) and Squadra Foitek, owned and run by the legendary Karl Foitek. Amongst the wonderful European races that 0184 took part it, it has come to light that it was one of the 1962 Le Mans entries for Scuderia Sant Ambroeus, running as car number 40 and driven by Karl Foitek and Ricciardo Ricci. Unfortunately the beautifully sleek silver Alfa would fail to finish the 24 hour due to clutch issues, but its life as a thoroughbred race car had truly begun. We have the 1962 Carnet de Pesage on file to confirm that this chassis took part in the race.
0184 would also race in the Nurburgring 1000km, and visit circuits such as Solitude, Zolder, Aspern, and Innsbruck.
From there, Michael Storer of Zurich purchased the car from Mr. Mark. By 1989, the car was owned by Rudy Pas of The Netherlands, and it was during this ownership that the car was given a full restoration. The bodywork was restored by “Autocostruzioni SD,” who retained the majority of the original aluminium panels and re-skinned the parts that were beyond repair. A mechanical rebuild was also undertaken, conducted by Conrero who built and fitted a competition engine to SZ specification. Conrero is highly acclaimed for the tuning of “Conrero 1300 cc” Alfa Romeo engines, giving punchy horsepower figures of 135bhp+. The suspension, brakes and clutch were also rebuilt at the same time.
During Mr. Pas’s ownership, the car was used lightly on the roads, and shown at a number of prestigious events. It was seen in public on few occasions, and records show that it competed at the 2006 Bologna-Raticosa hill climb, as well as being a featured car at the ‘Celebration of Zagato’ in 2004 at Villa d’Este.
Acclaimed Alfa and Ferrari specialist Paul Schouwenburg then purchased the car, describing it in correspondence as “a scaled down version of the Ferrari 275 GTB/C with similar feelings of exhilaration and excitement.” In an interview with a classic car magazine, Mr. Schouwenburg explained that this SZ “Coda Tronca” was one of his all-time favourite cars, second only to his Ferrari 250 GT SWB “SEFAC Hot Rod.”
In 2007 the car was exported to the United States, where the new owner Ronald Hein used the SZ regularly. Two years later he had the engine professionally refreshed by Conrad Stevenson of Berkeley, California.
By 2011, the car was back in Europe, passing through the hands of a well-known British racer and then onto the current owner as part of a very significant collection. It was only very recently that its Le Mans and race history came to light.
Today chassis 0184 is race-ready, and a fantastic entry for events such as Goodwood and Le Mans Classic. The car also has a spare engine and complete rear axle unit.
All that is left is for the next owner to repaint the car silver to truly bring the car’s Le Mans race history back to life. The icing on the cake would be to return it to Le Mans for Peter Auto's Le Mans Classic in 2022, 60 years after its debut there.
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