• by Toy de Carvalho (Alfa Romeo Club South Africa)

The Rule of Aerodynamics and Ligthness on Races. (Part 1)


Ist all started by accident - an accident on the home leg of the 1956 Mille Miglia, to be precise. A policeman wondered off to relieve himself, when he should have been waving his red flag to warn of mud on the road, and Dore Leto di Priolo landed in hospital, after crashing his car. A pile up, typical of those that befell many of the event's amateur drivers, a minor accident soon to be forgotten, but which was to develop into the birth of a legend. Realizing that the their badly damaged Giulietta Sprint Veloce would cost a fortune to rebuild , Leto di Priolo and his three 'Gentleman driver'' brothers, decided to approach Elio Zagato to design and build a new body, that could be attached to the existing SV. The end result featured alloy panels following the Alfa's original lines, but slightly more rakish and hung, on a Superleggera-type light steel tube frame. Mostly importantly, Zagato had shaved 145 Kgs off the standard car's weight. This meant that the road car holding and handling were boasted, while a smaller area also endowed the SVZ as the car became known. As for top speed, it was 10Km/h faster than the factory prepared Alfas. Those improvements were particularly telling at Monza, where, in September 1956, in the car's first race Dore's brother Massimo won the fiercely contested Coppa Intereuropa. In a race for 1300cc cars, the grid was bulging with steel bodied SVs Massimo's victory meant that in the future, a Zagato bodied Sprint Veloce was a must have. Since that, apart from the chassis frame, running gear and lights, very little else was carried over from the original steel SV's. The conversion to SVZ meant that no two cars were the same, each customer incorporating his own minor styling variations, in the hope of gaining an aerodynamic advantage. However by the mid 1958, most front runners had the head lights beneath Plexiglas, the roofline having grown into a rounded fast back. (Continue)

Giulietta Sprint Veloce modified to Carrozzeria Zagato Milano

Giulietta SVZ

Alfa Romeo SZ Carrozzeria Zagato works

Alfa Romeo SZ

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