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HomeSPECIAL FEATURESALFA ROMEO GIULIA SWB ZAGATO

ALFA ROMEO GIULIA SWB ZAGATO

A CENTURY OF COLLABORATION |

It is a project that started in 2021 as part of the celebrations to commemorate a century of collaboration between Alfa Romeo and the design house Zagato, and it recently came to fruition when the Milanese Atelier showed off a one-off sports car named the Giulia SWB Zagato.

The formation of the special bond between Zagato and Alfa Romeo started in 1921 with the Tipo G1, so the world-renowned design studio chose to commemorate the occasion by creating a new model with a retro-motivated design and modern mechanicals under the skin.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary (and, in our view, worth some ink as a fitting precursor to the upcoming 100th edition of Driven, more so because of Zagato’s link to South Africa in designing the Perana Z-One in 2008, later renamed the AC 378 GT Zagato) the studio decided to use the Giorgio platform of the Giulia and Stelvio but to shorten it to fit a two-door Coupé Zagato body.

To add a further touch of exclusivity, a Giulia Quadrifoglio with a six-speed manual gearbox was used as a base but was updated inhouse to GTAm specification for the one-off Giulia SWB Zagato, retaining the mechanical ’box, and the bodywork is all carbon fibre…

TZ AND SZ INSPIRED 

For the design, Zagato chose the TZ theme but with SZ overtones. The TZ3 Corsa with the engine from the Alfa Romeo 8C was a winner at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, followed by the TZ3 Stradale based on the Chrysler Viper – the so-called first American Alfa Romeo.

While TZ and SZ have two different design languages, both conform to the Zagato concept of Granturismo (GT), so the design of Giulia SWB is, therefore, a natural evolution of the Alfa Romeo SZ models – starting with the 1961 Codatronca version, up to the SZ of 1990, the car that inspired the front-end design of the new Tonale. However, the SZ was based on the Alfa Romeo 75 Evoluzione and did not have a shortened wheelbase. 

The design process was carried out with the support of Alejandro Mesonero, head of Alfa Romeo design and borrowed much from past Zagato-designed Alfa Romeos, as signified by the long nose, low grille with signature Scudetto flanked by three-section daytime running lights. 

The traditional double bubble on the roof tapers into a sculpted rear end that is highly reminiscent of the back end of the TZ3. Mesonero described the Giulia SWB Zagato as “a car that fits perfectly into the historical path of the two marques where the first objective was and is to combine beauty with performance”.

The 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo engine from the Giulia GTAm, apparently tuned to deliver 397 kW and 600 Nm of torque, delivers power to the rear wheels via the manual transmission, and according to Zagato the conception, development and production of the car were carried out independently by the Milanese Atelier.

After completion, the Giulia SWB Zagato was taken for a photo session on the ‘La Pista’ race circuit in Arese – the birthplace of the Giulietta SZ and Giulia TZ – before it was officially handed over to its new owner in Germany, a collector of Alfa Romeos and unique Zagato cars. 

LAST WORD

In a statement, Nori Harada, vice-president of design ZED Milano, said in the more than 100-year history of Alfa Romeo, no other company has contributed as much as Zagato, through a century of long and tireless collaboration. 

He added that with the new Giulia SWB Zagato, this relationship had taken a further step forward, as the collaboration has created a unique piece to meet the demands of passionate collectors. “The relationship between Zagato and Alfa Romeo, together with the passion of the entire team of designers and engineers, proves that the long tradition can be carried on into the future.”

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images © ZAGATO ATELIER

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