The Alfa Romeo SZ (Sprint Zagato) is, for some, a cringe-inducing piece of artwork stranded someplace between a coupe and a hatchback; for others, it is simply the precise mix of funky and funky. We’re divided on the automotive ourselves; we included it in our list of the Ugliest Cars Ever Made, and but right here we’re arguing its design deserves. Whereas its outward look could also be an acquired style, what the Alfa Romeo SZ lacks in curb attraction it makes up for with the sound and thrills of its 207-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 Busso engine.

Utilizing early computer-aided design expertise, the SZ’s idea sketches have been drawn in-house at Fiat Centro Stile; the carmaker collaborated with coachbuilder Zagato to assemble the automotive and perform manufacturing. Launched as an idea known as the ES30 (Experimental Sportscar-3.0-liter), or “the monster” by the Italian media on the 1989 Geneva Worldwide Motor Present, the SZ’s controversial design and punk rock features lent the automotive an unique undertone regardless of the comparatively humble underpinnings. Rooted within the Alfa Romeo 75 (known as the Milano in the USA) mechanically, and with a sturdy metal chassis, Zagato constructed the SZ’s physique of fiberglass-reinforced plastic composites and topped it off with an aluminum roof.

Restricted to 1,036 copies, the SZ included hints of a BMW E30 in the bodywork, featured curving A-pillars, a bubble-shaped windshield, carbon fiber spoiler, trio headlights on either side, and Pirelli P-Zero tires. To sharp observers, the off-the-wall SZ’s periscope-style aspect mirrors contributed a lowkey splash of Ferrari design. The design does make some sensible sense, too, because the wedge-like form and low floor clearance made the Alfa Romeo SZ comparatively aerodynamically environment friendly for the time.

On the within, tan leather-bolstered bucket seats, an adjustable Zagato-designed MOMO steering wheel, and a bare-bones dashboard enticed the motive force to seize the keys and stand on the fuel pedal. Inheriting a suspension developed from the Alfa Romeo 75 1.eight Turbo Evolution competitors automotive, the rear-wheel drive SZ got here outfitted with a five-speed transaxle gearbox, hydraulic Koni dampers, and brawny brakes. The SZ might knock out a 0-60-mph run in a suitable 6.7 seconds on its approach to a claimed high velocity of 152 mph. Excellent dealing with, aerodynamics, and stability, and the enthralling Busso V-6 resulted in a gratifying expertise on the street, which helped rationalize its beastly look.

The Alfa Romeo SZ could also be appropriately nicknamed “Il Mostro”—The Monster—however consumers are nonetheless keen to shell out an honest amount of cash for one, as proven by this recent sale of a 1991 Alfa Romeo SZ by RM Sotheby’s. Maybe the customer merely loves the look of the SZ, however regardless of on which aspect of the ugly/cool fence the customer (otherwise you) might imagine it belongs, the Alfa Romeo SZ’s design is a surefire dialog starter.