I enjoy cooking. I can spend £25 on a cookbook, maybe £50 on the right ingredients, hand-reared this and free range that, plus perhaps £30 on a perfect bottle of plonk and plan the most spectacular dinner. The end result is often the same. Stuff stuck to the kitchen ceiling, dinner guests with the squits and a terse reminder from the fire brigade to fit a battery in my smoke alarm. I wonder if anyone at Alfa Romeo ever looks back at the SZ and, like me, wonders how you can take all the right ingredients and get the end result so… well, look at it!

Alfa Romeo RZ from wikipedia

Launched in 1989, the SZ took engines from Alfa’s excellent 75, styling input from Zagato, used lightweight plastic panels, had suspension from a fettled group A rally car and painted it red and sat it on those rims. All those great ingredients but still the smoke alarm goes off. The shape doesn’t help. Plastic panels never look right, the creases and gaps seem slapdash, the shoebox shape was ugly from the start. They’re all LHD and you’ll need at least £50k to buy one, if you can find one for sale. They only made  about 1300. It goes well, though; 0-60 in 7 seconds and terrific handling too, this we like. Alfanatics christened the car ‘Il Mostro’ – the monster. Everything sounds better in Italian doesn’t it? Even if it’s a bit of a ‘cani cena’.*

When serving a plate of exotic ingredients which refuse to fuse into an appetising meal, organic foodstuffs that seem to be both raw, burned and poisonous all at once, it is sometimes possible to save the day. With alcohol. Alfa took the SZ and overdid the virtual Prosecco with the design, lopping the roof off and creating the cabrio RZ. It is still visually unpalatable. And yet, it matters not a jot. We welcome it to car club 18-30. It’s hard to explain the appeal to those who haven’t seen it with their own eyes. The Alfa might be ugly from every angle but it is interesting, appealing and super cool. Unlike my flambéed gazpacho soup.

Rich Duisberg

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*Dogs dinner


Pics from the author, pyntofmyld on Flikr and that there Wikipedia.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a 1972 Fiat 500 Abarth, a fat BMW and a Lotus Elise. Previous machinery includes a Porsche 968, an Alfa GTV V6 and a dreadful Sinclair C5. He also owns a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike.

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