1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato
- Full Autodelta preparation to Le Mans Corsa Works specification in 1965
- Displayed at the 1964 Geneva Motorshow by Carrozzeria Zagato
- Original, matching-numbers, Autodelta-prepared engine
- Incredible originality and authenticity throughout
- Accompanied by an impressive amount of documentation, including its Italian Carta di Circolazione, Estratro Cronologico, period competition images, Japanese importation and ownership documentation, Motor Review magazine and this TZ1’s original owners handbook
This Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato
The beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato offered here, chassis AR 750057 completed production in early 1964, before being prominently displayed on the Carrozzeria Zagato stand at the XXXIV Salon de l’Automobile in Geneva in March the same year. This TZ1 is one of around only ten examples originally built by Alfa Romeo in Stradale specification.
In October 1964, this TZ1 was sold to its first owner, Otello Pampana, through the Florence Alfa Romeo dealer and was first registered in Pisa, being assigned the Italian registration ‘PI 71101’. 1985 Marcello Minerbi wrote what is widely considered the ‘go-to’ reference book on these cars ‘Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ and TZ’. This book lists chassis 750057 as a ‘Showroom Car’, and ‘Autodelta Prepared’.
Manrico Benetti, son-in-law of the first owner was a motorsport enthusiast. In reality, it was Benetti who owned the car, he was the only person to race it. Recently, the current owner spoke to the family of Benetti who sadly passed away in the 1990’s. Benetti’s relatives explained that through family connections to an Autodelta engineer, Ing. Gino Bechi, Carlo Chiti himself organized for this TZ1 to be shipped to Benetti’s local dealer for his collection. Having collected the car from Lucca, Manrico and Bechi drove back to Pisa before embarking on a boy’s trip to Monte Carlo with the car.
In 1965, this TZ1 was upgraded by the Alfa Romeo works race team, Autodelta, to full Le Mans competition specification, again thanks to Bechi’s relationship with Carlo Chiti. The original ‘matching numbers’ single-plug engine was upgraded with an Autodelta twin-plug head, full engine preparation and Autodelta’s 360-degree graded lower crank pulley along. Amazingly, today this TZ1 also retains its original and incredibly rare Weber 45 DCOE 14 carburettors. Another Autodelta upgrade installed was the knuckle-riser extension on the front uprights to improve both the front roll centre and roll camber correction, also fitted to the Autodelta 1600 GTA Corsas. A larger header tank radiator was fitted, along with a special 45mm spacer between the engine block and sump, allowing for an enlarged oil capacity and therefore lower oil temperatures. The enlarged sump is also accompanied by a modified and engraved Autodelta dipstick.
Autodelta rampipes replaced the standard air box which increased torque thanks to longer inlets. With these rampipes taking air feed directly from the engine bay, the standard trunking used to feed the factory air box could be removed, allowing increased airflow to the radiator, again helping to reduce operating temperatures which plagued competition cars without these upgrades. As these Autodelta factory upgrades were completed in 1965, a point at which Autodelta was already producing and developing TZ2’s, the latest development of TZ2 air inlet for the nose section was incorporated into this TZ1.
Upon completion of these upgrades, Manrico tested the car at Vallelunga ahead of his first anticipated race, the Monza 1000 kms. However, Carlo Chiti advised Manrico he should start his competition career on Hillclimb events, instead of circuits. The car returned to Autodelta for setup modifications to better suit Hillclimb events. Over the next two seasons, Manrico entered this Autodelta-prepared TZ1 in several events, including the European Hillclimb Championship.
Perhaps a good sign of the love and care this car received throughout its life is that today, this TZ1 is still accompanied by an astonishing level of documentation which accompanies the car. This stretches right back to 1964, with the original hand-signed and stamped “Carta di Circolazione” and the official export copy of both sides of the ACI registration document. The car also has full documentation of its original competition history in the European Hillclimb Championship and remarkably even has some original race entry documentation and photographs still with it. Also accompanying the car is the original Owner’s Handbook, which is incredibly rare in the world of TZs having typically been lost or separated from cars many years ago, plus a full copy of the original TZ factory parts catalogue. All of this adds up to irrefutable quality genuine provenance.
In April 1977, this Alfa Romeo was purchased by Vittorio Girolami in Rome, where it remained for a further seven years. Girolami was a well-known and respected collector, with his latest acquisition, this TZ1, sitting alongside his 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’ in his garage. The current owner recently visited Girolami in Italy, and he fondly remembered his time with the car, commenting that it was the best of the five TZ1’s he owned, as a result of the Autodelta preparation. He said that the steering, handling and power was completely different to all the other TZs he had owned. When Girolami bought it, he chose to replace the bonnet skin with a new one from Zagato, and this was the point at which it gained the three Ferrari 250 GTO-style air scoops. Girolami also shared images of the car from the day he collected it from the coachbuilder who fitted the new bonnet skin to the original bonnet frame in 1977.
In 1984, Girolami sold the car to, ‘a beautiful lady’ – in his words, called Nadia Galli who owned an import/export business dealing exclusively with Japan. Galli had already lined up a Japanese buyer by the time Girolami delivered the car to her in Rome. This TZ1 was then exported from Italy and shipped to Japan. The original Japanese import document is among a mass of Japanese files accompanying this TZ1 and shows that the import took place on the 22nd May 1984 (Showa year 59), just over two months after it was de-registered in Italy.
In 1988, a prominent Japanese automotive magazine, Motor Review, published a group article on lightweight Italian sports cars, which includes a multi-page feature on this very car. What is so wonderful about having this article and its detailed photographs, is that it shows exactly the condition of the car 30 years ago when it arrived in Japan. By comparing these photographs with the car now, it is clearly unchanged and there is no evidence of any later body restoration work. Perhaps this is unsurprising given that the car was part of four private collections in Japan and therefore only sparingly used for the past 30 years.
Upon close inspection of the car, it has all its original lightweight drilled bolts fitted throughout the suspension and transmission – items that are so often lost from TZs which have been restored. It also has its original factory single-piece top front wishbones and external grease nipple track rod ends. Most TZs have covered such a mileage by now that the top arms and track rod ends have been replaced with the readily available 105 series parts, which fit but are different in design. It has the extra capacity water radiator with an extremely large top header tank, as fitted to the works Le Mans cars, with the original special 45mm sump spacer still accompanying this TZ1.
The Autodelta-prepared original “matching-numbers” engine is still installed, featuring an extremely low casting number on its sand cast twin-plug GTA head of ‘338’. In comparison, the lowest chassis number GTA Stradale of which we know was built July 1965 and has head casting number 388. The current owner also owns an Autodelta 1600 GTA Corsa, built in November 1965, which has casting number 988, showing how early on this car was upgraded to twin-plug specification.
All the lights are original, including the Carello glass headlights, the side indicators and rear light units. The car has its original aluminium headlamp finishing rings, as well as the thin black rubber edging around the headlamp covers and front grille assembly. Regularly these were lost early in the life of an active TZ making them incredibly rare.
Both the sliding door window components and the perspex rear screen are genuine original parts; the rear screen displays the heat-stamped “Plexiglass” logo at the centre top, which is also very seldom seen still fitted to TZs. All the door furniture, both internal and external, are original as are the Giulia TZ scripts. Remarkably, the car still has its original production mild steel full exhaust system with mufflers fitted – again a component thrown away or rotted off most other TZs many years ago.
The brake discs and calipers are all original, together with their original gold anodized aluminium Dunlop caliper cheeks. These usually suffered from internal bore corrosion on well-used cars, so have typically been replaced by reproduction aluminium or steel Jaguar components.
The unique Barone-manufactured lowered hand position leather rim TZ steering wheel seen in the Japanese magazine is fitted to the car, with an Autodelta small diameter, wooden rim wheel also accompanying it.
Girolami repainted this TZ1 when he had a new bonnet skin fitted, although the matt black paint on the rear panel is so thin that in all likelihood it is still original. Where the chassis tubes under the engine bay have been chipped it is clear that there is only one coat of black paint and undercoat which would suggest that the chassis has never been re-painted.
The scuttle panel under the windscreen is similarly likely to be original paint. Some paint chips on the wheels show that the magnesium still has its original grey chromate coating under the paint. It is unlikely to have ever been fully refurbished.
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