By Karl Schnelle
For the last couple years, I have driven down to Nashville, TN, in the autumn to drive a car from the Lane Motor Museum. If you are lucky enough and have the funds, you can sign up for a Rally to drive their cars if you donate a certain amount to the museum. The museum wins and the participants win! Plus the cars get to be driven as they should be on the back roads of Tennessee for a day.
Being an Alfafanatic, I saw that the museum had just acquired an Alfa Romeo SZ (Sport Zagato) and it was on the 2018 Rally list! Somehow, I was so extremely fortunate that I was the first in line for this car. I got my buddy Skip, a fellow car guy and 1/43 collector, to co-drive since you really need a navigator to read the Rally book and call out directions. He did not need any convincing!
The museum has a short write-up on the car, so I won’t repeat the whole story. In 1988, Alfa Romeo and Zagato collaborated on a show car based on the Alfa 75 (Milano) sedan, but with 3L V-6 engine, called the ES-30. The slab-sided body was a little ‘wedgy’ (it was the 1980s!) and nicknamed “Il Mostro”, the Monster. Either you love it, or you hate it, as they say. Enough people liked it that they produced 1000 red examples for sale and 1 black one for Signor Zagato from 1989-91.
After the Rally, I came home and dug out my SZ models. I have three or four. I am mainly a 1:43 guy, so I do not have the 1:18 from BBR Top Marques, the 1:24 Alfa Centenary partwork by Hachette, or the small 1:64 from Kyosho.
Being in the US, Matchbox are common so I do have this little 1:55 Matchbox in all red. Matchbox made many different ones right after the real one came out.
SMTS in their 1/43 Voiturette series made a very nice white metal version. I acquired this heavy Monster in 1993, so I did not get the newer handmade resin Make Up model later.
Finally, Spark made both the red and black versions in 1:43 over ten years ago, so I picked up the black one.
Have you seen other SZs out there in model form? Please let me know.
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