In response to Alfa Romeo’s request for a TZ successor, Autodelta’s co-founder Lodovico Chizzola built this prototype, only for Alfa Romeo to opt for its own design – the TZ2 – so the car remained a one-off. After completion this unique Alfa Romeo remained the Chizzola family’s property until it was bought by the current vendor at Bonhams’ Nürburgring Sale in August 2000.
Known in the Chizzola family as the ‘TZ1½’, the car is a development of the original TZ. The un-numbered chassis is a one-of-a-kind tubular design – a modified Ferrari F2 frame according to the late Lodovico Chizzola – but shorter and different to a TZ’s. The glassfibre ‘gull-wing’ coachwork is of an unusual design that corresponds to a scale model kept at the Alfa Romeo Centrostile museum. Both side and rear windows are of Plexiglas, and the cockpit features a wide transmission tunnel, the familiar TZ wood-rim steering wheel and TZ/Giulia gearlever knob, switches, etc.
The car has a genuine TZ-type ‘single-plug’ engine, the latter breathing through twin Weber 45DCOE carburettors, and runs on 13″ diameter alloy wheels (à la TZ2). The engine is set low and well back in the chassis while the wheels are positioned at the extreme corners, thus achieving minimal body overhangs. The leading TZ2-owning authority acquainted with this car since new says that it drives very much like a TZ2.
This unique TZ prototype has covered only a minimal distance since completion, but Lodovico Chizzola’s sister recalled one memorable drive with her brother over the standard test route along which he drove all TZs prior to delivery. Comprising 80 kilometres of twisty mountain roads, it typically takes 1½ hours but was covered in this car in just 40 minutes!
Stored at the old Autodelta works, 1965-2000, the car had only been seen in public once prior to its sale in 2000, at the 1996 Autodelta Reunion at Udine where it was the star of the event. When auctioned it had covered just 580 kilometres. Since its acquisition by the current vendor the TZ has been overhauled by Cars International and has only been used once, at an Alfa centenary event in the UK. The car is described as in generally very good condition and running well.
Today a TZ of any sort is both rare and highly sought after, this unique specimen surely all the more so by virtue of its place in Autodelta and TZ history.