The world of Heritage
All about the department that champions the historic heritage of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
The history of our cars and our brands
People’s passion for classic and vintage cars has no borders, but there are certain places at a definite point in space, and suspended in time, which conserve the essence of this passion. Places like Heritage.
Centro Storico Fiat
Heritage HUB
Officine Classiche
Museo Alfa Romeo
Heritage Gallery
Heritage Points
A world of grand international events
Participating in the sector’s main events is an unmissable opportunity to admire up close the legendary cars that have inspired generations of fans.
The latest events:
Italy |
13-17 June 2023
1000 Miglia
History in performance
Rho (MI) |
18 - 20 November 2022
Milano AutoClassica 2022
Heritage presents the Abarth Classiche 500 Record Monza '58 for the centenary of the Monza Racetrack.
Heritage stories
We describe a century of technology, style, competition and performance. We tell our story, and yours.
Last Stories:
CURIOSITIES
Some connections lead to great stories.
Lancia Thema
Elegance, luxury and performance
Fiat 500 Topolino
The little one for all.
The Heritage universe is constantly evolving
Stay up-to-date with the hottest news, don’t miss out on the latest collaborations and discover behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes in interviews with insiders.
Last News:
17th November 2023
Stellantis Heritage at Milano AutoClassica
The debut of Fiat Multipla 6x6 and tribute to Autodelta
2 October 2023
Heritage celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Fiat Punto
With over nine million units produced until across three generations, the Punto dominated segment B for 25 years, setting new standards in terms of design, safety, and comfort.
Discover our brand and model clubs all over the world
Use our locator to find your nearest brand and model clubs.
The history of four world-leading Italian motoring brands
From the most emblematic models to the most successful, revolutionary people, and the most significant events, this section illustrates and celebrates the cornerstones of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
From now on, you and your passion can count on a team of experts
Certificate of Origin, Certification of Authenticity, restoration. To guarantee your car's timeless charm.
The classic boutique
Enter a world built on passion. An extensive range of products offered by Heritage to feed your timeless passion.
Cars for sale
Reloaded by creators is the Heritage project involving the sale of a small number of classic cars from the Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth brands: historic models, with certified authenticity, restored to their original beauty by the Constructor itself.
Back

SZ: the Zagato Giulietta

The dawn of aerodynamics

The slogan “The family sedan that wins races" had been coined for the Alfa Romeo 1900. The Giulietta - which made its debut in 1955 - continued this tradition by completely dominating the Tourism catalogue, but there was a gap in the GT category, where the brand did not have a winning car. Carriage-builder and driver Elio Zagato came to the rescue by building the lightweight, aerodynamic, successful Giulietta SZ.


In the late Fifties, Giulietta family was quite numerous, with the sedan, also in sporty T.I. version, and, also with two power levels, the Pininfarina Spider and Spider Veloce convertibles and the Bertone Sprint and Sprint Veloce coupés.

But the Giulietta Sprint Veloce cars were not as successful in the GT class as their T.I. sisters in Tourist class racing: the cars were powerful and reliable, but they were penalised in relation to their competitors above all by their weight. Purely by lucky chance, a Milan driver, Massimo Leto di Priolo, damaged his Giulietta Sprint Speciale in a race and decided to have it rebuilt by carriage-builder Elio Zagato, well known in the racing world for his original, lightweight aluminium bodies which made his creations hard to beat.

Zagato adopted his usual "egg-shaped" lines, rounding the corners to improve the aerodynamics and the result was a winner: Leto di Priolo drove to victory at Monza in the 1956 Coppa Intereuropa in the original Giulietta Sprint Veloce with bodywork by Zagato. Taking note of that result, other gentlemen drivers turned to the Milan carriage-builder, who started to "remodel" the bodies even of new, undamaged Sprint Veloce cars to produce what started to be known as the Giulietta Sprint Zagato.

Alfa Romeo was interested in commissioning Zagato to develop the new sports coupé, but at the same time Bertone insisted his contract should be honoured and came up with a new sheet steel version: however, the very beautiful SS styled by Scaglione was very expensive to produce. By bringing this factor into play, Alfa was able to please everyone: carriage-builders, gentlemen drivers and dealers. It allowed Bertone to build the Sprint Speciale special edition but with steel bodywork, while supplying Zagato with "bare" chassis for a more efficient, less costly transformation process. This enabled Alfa to add two gems to its range: the original Giulietta SS and the race-winning Giulietta SZ.

ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA SZ - 1961
ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA SZ - 1961
ENGINE
inline-4, anterior, longitudinal, DOHC, 2 double body carbs, 1290 cm³
POWER
98 HP @ 6.500 rpm
SPEED
220 km/h
WEIGHT
840 kg
DESIGN
Zagato
TYPE OF BODY
Coupé

The Giulietta Sprint Zagato made its official debut at the 1960 Geneva International Motor Show. Visitors loved its details: the sophisticated aerodynamics with absolutely no sharp corners, the weight reduction even in the minimal handles, and the state-of-the-art mechanicals with three-jaw drum brakes.


Another "unexpected" racing win triggered the development of the SZ second series: in 1961, at Monza, driver Francesco De Leonibus managed to reach an incredible top speed (222.22 km/h) in one of the first Giulietta SZ cars, which had had its bodywork rebuilt, again after an accident, by Turin firm Michelotti. "His" SZ had a longer, more tapered line and since aids such as wind tunnels were not available, Zagato immediately got to work by trial and error to improve the aerodynamics of the Giulietta SZ.

He redesigned the bodywork, lengthening the nose and tail and also modifying the roof, and for even greater aerodynamic efficiency he decided to "cut off" the car's tail, implementing the theories of Germany aerodynamics engineer Wunibald Kamm. In the absence of a wind tunnel, to find the most effective aerodynamic configuration he personally performed a  series of tests on the motorway, using the milestones as references and with loyal designer Ercole Spada sitting on his right as time-keeper.

As well as being a greatly respected carriage-builder, Zagato was also a talented gentleman driver, and he entered a car with the new aerodynamic configuration in the 1961 GT Grand Prix at Monza, winning the race. Behind him in second place was Consalvo Sanesi, also driving a Giulietta SZ. This was the baptism of fire of the SZ second series, known as the "Kamm tail”. The improvement in performance was impressive, with top speed increased from the 189 km/h of the version with short round tail to 200 km/h. A very small proportion of the merit must also go to the obsessive search for weight reduction: in spite of the longer boot, the kerb weight fell from 854 kg for the first series to 840 kg for the second. In the last 30 cars built, the iconic three-jaw drum brakes were replaced by the more modern Girling disk brakes.

Keep up to date with all the news, events and insights from the Heritage universe.