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Potential Purchase Of The Week: 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Coupe

No, you may not be able to purchase the one-off Alfa Romeo Zagato TZ3 Corsa. But you will have a chance to acquire a prime example of its inspiration -- a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ -- in May.

Intended as a successor for the performance-tuned, Zagato-bodied Giulietta SZ, the Giulia TZ project began in late 1959, but didn't come into fruition until 1962. Development of the car was turned over to ex-Alfa and ex-Ferrari engineer Carlo Chiti and his AutoDelta firm, which later became Alfa's in-house motorsports subsidiary

Like standard Giulias, TZ models utilized an inline four-cylinder -- in this case, a 1.6-liter unit -- with dual overhead cams. Arguably, what truly made them special was their bodywork. TZ was shorthand for Tubolare Zagato, which alluded to the fact that the cars not only wore lithe aluminum bodywork crafted by Zagato, but also utilized a tubular space frame structure beneath the skin. As a result, TZ models tipped the scales at a scant 1500 pounds. Coupled with nearly 160 horsepower and a very slippery form, the cars could easily hit speeds in the neighborhood of 130 mph.

Although the TZ made its public debut at the 1962 Turin motor show, they didn't begin to appear in races until 1963. This particular example, the sixth of 112 assembled, was built in April of 1964, and was sold shortly afterward to Scuderia Sant' Ambroeus days afterward. Records suggest the car was entered in the 1964 Targa Florio and finished 3rd overall. The TZ also competed in the 1964 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it finished 10th in the GT class, 15th overall, and completed 305 laps.

Afterwards, this TZ's race history wasn't as successful, but various owners did continue to field it in rallies and vintage races through the 1980s. The car was restored to its full 1964 Le Mans glory in the new millennium, and recently participated in a lap of the French race course, as shown in the video below.

Giulia TZ #750006 is scheduled to cross the auction block at RM Auctions' Villa d'Este event on May 21, 2011. Price estimates have yet to be established, but given the scarcity of TZs and this car's competition history, expect it to bring a pretty penny. A 1963 TZ, chassis number 750003, fetched $302,500 at an RM event in the summer of 2009.

Source: RM Auctions

Photos courtesy of RM Auctions/ Dirk De Jager