Modified Sprint Speciale’s 3: another Zat car??

Elmar sent me this picture yesterday, describing it as ‘pimped’.  It reminded me that I’ve been owing the ‘Modified SS’s’ post series an update for a while.  This one is dedicated to the modern era super sports type  mod’s that probably started with the Zat SS (381238 was the basis) that eventually sold through RM in 2008 for just under $50K.  I can’t verify the auction description below -but it states that 4 Zat SS’s were made and two survive.

This car has been to the ‘Shelby Cobra 427′ school of design: very wide wheels, chunky bulbous corners and a big ol’ hood scoop.  Would be funny if it was stock Alfa powered.  I suspect it is an SS body on a tube frame.

This is 10121*381238.  Note the body lines around the front wheel arches have been shaved and there is no vent behind the front wheel.  These wheels don’t look too bad in this application.

“1965 Alfa Romero SSZ First Prototype
Final Bid: $ 48,400.00 – Monterey 2004
This car is the first of four SSZ (Sprint Speciale Zat) prototypes built by Tom Zat, a world-renowned expert, on an A-R Sprint Speciale Chassis. The Alfa Romeo factory contacted Zat about building a car to win the SCCA National Championship. Zat proposed a racer based on the Bertone-designed Sprint Speciale. With factory blessings and support, Zat began work on this project by building four prototypes of what would later become a dominant and successful racecar line. The first four were built on Alfa Romeo SS chassis, and future SSZs were built on tube frames. Zat campaigned SSZ cars in S.C.C.A., and took home three national championships.
Zat�s first prototype was born from a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale. It has a heavily modified racing suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, alloy body panels, low-nose bodywork, a locked 5.12 rear end, and a whopping 140hp! It is a matching-numbers car featured on the cover of the Alfa Owner Magazine and numerous other publications. Of four prototypes built by Zat, only two remain, this first prototype and the first tilt front clip car, still owned by Zat. The other two vehicles have been completely destroyed.
It was displayed for a decade in the Alfa Heaven Museum, which holds North America�s largest collection of Alfas. Additionally, it has been traced through all previous owners, and has a well-documented history. “

Earlier picture of the same car with it’s creator hanging out in ‘Alfa Heaven’, the biggest collection of Alfa’s in the US I hear.  Wheel and interior color seems to have changed to the car above.

Different car here -this one has hood scoop, vent by wheel and side exit exhaust. 

And then there’s this car -maybe it’s the car just above it but wearing new paint?  This is the car I thought of when I saw the dark blue/purple car pictured at the top.

If anyone knows more about the Zat cars or the car at the top -drop me a line at sprints @ giuliettas .com.

Modified SS’s 1.

Modified SS’s 2.


8 thoughts on “Modified Sprint Speciale’s 3: another Zat car??

  1. Hey Matt. One of these showed up on eBay several years back and it sold, as I recall, for south of $25,000 at the time. After he built the four steel cars, someone poppped molds from the modified design and fabbed a tubular space-frame; THOSE are the tube-frame cars referenced. The face of the car eliminated the little grille notch at the bottom, probably because no one wanted to get sued by Alfa Romeo- while the Zatmobiles had the Alfa center grille, the glass-bodied cars did not. They were designed to run a Nissan V-6 and had a specifc suspension set-up from the stock SSs. The car you featured is likely a Zatmobile replica. -Jon A.

  2. Depends on your point of view: which was “perfect”, the ORIGINAL Cobra, or the 427 (or for that matter, the car from which it was derived, the AC Ace)? or the car the Ace styling was derived from, the Ferrari 166 Barchetta? Truth is, the design of the SS can be traced all the way back through Bertone’s BATs, each an evolution on the next, and these (even though not by the factory) could perhaps be considered the sequel. Also, maybe since none of the later cars (after the first four) involved sacrificing an original SS, no harm/ no foul.

  3. The original Zatmobile was listed on eBay (2420812890) through Celebrity Car Las Vegas on June 30, 2003. Description was brief at best: “-15612 miles -Manual Transmission -4 – Cyl -AR381238 -Red Exterior -2 doors -Black interior -No warranty -Clear title -Used”. My printout was made with 2 days left, and it hadn’t reached its reserve, with 4 bids at $20,101. The car appeared essentially as it did in the photo above at Alfa Heaven, with Alfa Red deep-offset steel rims, radiused front and rear wheel openings, horizontal grill bars and bumper trim removed, the front fender “eyebrows” shaved, and the rear wheel openings with a slight lip. No rear wing, no hood scoop, no fende air exhausts or side pipes (I beleive these features appeared laater on the tube-frame fibreglas SSZs with the Nissan 3.0 V6 turbo). Actually, the original Zatmobile looked every bit like a car any number of Milanese tuners might have created in the late ’60’s/ early ’70’s when these were just old used sportscars.

      • I found another scrap of info, also; it showed up at the Kruse auction/ Concourso Italiano at Laguna Seca on Pebble Beach weekend in August 2004 and sold for $40,000, looked like it had beeen ‘finessed’.

  4. Hi Matt,
    Great site. Lots of misinformation on this particular car though. 10121*381238 is nothing more than pure hyperbole. It is a heavily customized car that has no history. The only comfort is that it was made from a total wreck (supposedly a car that was completely immersed in a mudslide decades ago) and the highpoint of its provenance was appearing in Pat Braden’s Alfa Owners Bible. I almost bought the car back in the early 2000s at an early Mecum auction but once I plowed through the hype it was just a very very rough car. Subsequent owners piled on more “history” as it appeared at higher profile auctions. It always has, and always will be, a nothing car.

    SSZs however, were an interesting project by Tom Zat to market a tube frame, high performance kit to SCCA racers. Zat campaigned a couple with some success. They are built from the ground up and utilize nothing from 101 Sprints. Styling was obviously inspired by the SS but it was completely molded body (cant recall if it was carbon fiber or ‘glass) from scratch. Anyway, I believe that the blue one pictured is powered by a 300ZX powerplant and resides with a private owner in Michigan. The photo looks like it is being displayed at Meadowbrook. The other cars utilized Alfa V-6s.

    The Alfa Heaven collection was gutted years ago; there is little to nothing of interest there anymore as Tom Zat’s interests have turned to military vehicles and early Japanese motorcycles.

    • Thanks for the insight. Only info I’ve seen before your addition is the auction description still posted from a few years back.


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