Eligible for Import: 1990 Alfa Romeo SZ ES-30

Alfa Romeo is one of those brands that has experienced mixed success in the United States, but has also made some very, very attractive automobiles. One of these is the Sprint Zagato, which is often shortened to SZ ES-30 (Experimental Sportscar 3.0-liter). Though Alfa was still importing cars to the USA in 1990, this model never reached the U.S. shores. However, it is now available here on eBay, and eligible for importation into the United States.

This example is available in Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada. The seller notes that this vehicle is part of their collection and it was also one of the first SZ’s to roll off the production line. This unique car earned a reputation for its insane handling abilities: the SZ can handle up to 1.1G in cornering on regular road tires and up to 1.4G with race tires, which is thanks to near 50/50 weight distribution and suspension components borrowed from Alfa’s IMSA racecar at the time.

While the styling isn’t for everyone, the SZ is an eye-catching vehicle in my opinion. Every one of the sports cars uses a red exterior paint color, which shines brightly on this example. Various bits of the exterior glass, such as the windshield and headlights, have 3M clear vinyl for protection from rock chips and other road debris.

Personally, I love the multi-piece Speedline wheels, which were a factory-installed feature for the SZ.

Just like the exterior, every single one of these Alfas uses a single theme, consisting of tan leather seats with deep bolsters. The dashboard also features carbon fiber elements.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 3.0-liter V6 engine, which produced 207 horsepower and 181 lb.-ft. of torque from the factory. The engine pairs to a 5-speed transmission to drive the rear wheels, which was the only available transmission for the SZ. This example has traveled 32,500 kilometers, which translates to about 20,300 miles.

Alfa Romeo produced just 1,036 of these distinctive vehicles in total, so this sports car is most definitely a rarity. Of course, the price reflects this: the seller prices it at C$95,000, or approximately $70,500 in U.S. currency. Do you think you could justify spending that much on this nimble Alfa, or would you prefer another sports car for the price?


  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I don’t know the first thing about Alfa’s but I will say that’s one sexy looking car. No way is it in my price range but sexy none the less.

    Like 11
    • Ralph

      Sorry, to each his own.

      That is a repulsive car, it was hideous the first time I saw one 28 years ago and its still hideous now.

      The body panel fit would make a Haitian Kit Car look like a quality piece and the styling makes the Aztek look like a Pinninfarina design…..

      And its all wrapped around garbage Alfa-Romeo components!

      its a Lose/Lose

      Like 8
      • glen

        Sounds like you’re on the fence about this car, don’t rush into buying this until you’re sure it’s right for you.

        Like 5
  2. Chevy Guy

    but has also made some very, very attractive automobiles. One of these is the Sprint Zagato, which is often shortened to SZ ES-30

    Whaaa? I hope you are kidding, that thing is awful and repulsive and hideous, as Ralph stated

    Like 4
  3. CanuckCarGuy

    In profile, it looks like someone put a Honda CRX into a vice…rather unfortunate, as it sounds like it would be a blast to drive.

    Like 1
  4. Marco

    There are 2 for sale in the US today: http://www.euroclassixcars.com

    Like 1
    • Tim Swett

      Marco, Great link. Too bad there’s no prices but great eye candy and info.

  5. Kevin Harper

    I know these are Marmite cars, but I like them for being so different.

    I have driven one though and to be honest I would take a 3.0 GTV6 with some of the mods from this car. It is better looking handles nearly as well. And you could have a near perfect GTV6 for under 20k.

    Like 1
  6. KevinLee

    I think it’s a good-looking car until you get to the back, then it’s eh. What’s going on with the headlights? Low beam, Medium beam, and High beam?

    Like 2
  7. Luke

    “Eligible for import” would be super cool weekly series. So many cool Euro & JDM cars out there that are eligible. Would be fun to learn about all those across the pond cars.

    Like 5
    • Kevin Harper

      True Luke. I was in Italy and GB last year hunting for cars. The ones high on my list are Lancia Integrales and 037, and from GB TVR’s and Morgan. The Lancia’s have gotten expensive but the TVR’s hold promise. Also alfa 916’s are getting close to eligible and if you want something unique try a venturi Atlantique

  8. Rangerwalker24

    Back in 2012 while I was looking for a place to live, I came across a home-owner with one in his basement. This was in a tiny little town of Aviano, Italy. Had about 15,000 km’s on it. He asked me repeatedly if I wanted to buy it but alas I do not fit in these but they are very nice cars. The styling is polarizing but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Like 2
  9. Porkchopzz4

    A 1991 sold on BaT about 2 weeks ago for $55,500… this guy might be fishing. :-)

    • ROB

      it reached bids up to 55 500 but was not sold as reserve not meet…price asking is 90.000 usd for that no sale

      Like 1
  10. H5mind

    I saw one in an Alfa Romeo dealer in Rome twenty years ago. It looks better in person, but definitely an acquired taste.

    Like 1
  11. CJ

    This car is so ugly it looks good!
    Consider it the “eat more” chocolate bar of the car world. I mean we all know that an “eat more” is probably just road tar with peanuts rolled in it….but it is bitter and addictive. So is an SZ
    Same goes for the lancia Hyena

    Like 1
  12. Bakyrdhero

    I don’t know much about Alpha’s either, but me thinks that’s a sharp dressed automobile.

    Like 2
    • t-BONE BOB

      It’s A-L-F-A

  13. Bobinott

    It is hard to imagine that the company that brought us the 1750 GTV is capable of penning something like this. Italian stylists lost their way in the 1990s, and things have not improved. Check the Fiat Multipla, if you dare: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_Multipla

    • Tirefriar

      The 105 chassis GTV as well as the 116 GT/GTV were penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This SZ was the product of Zagato. Two different schools of design. While Giugiaro was all about curves and softer lines in his early days, Zagato was all about angles, sharp lines. You can say Giugiaro was sexy and suave, Zagato was provocative.

      Like 1
  14. Mark Evans

    If you read Car & Driver you probably know that they can’t keep their long term tester from breaking down and it’s new. This is from the Fix It Again Tony days. Nuff said.

    • Tirefriar

      Mark, I can almost say with certainty that you have never owned an Alfa in your life because your answer is a typical ignorance often heard from Alfa non-owners. I’ve owned 9 Alfas, mostly 105/115 chassis and they were bullet proof. Biggest issue Alfas have had in the past were cheap and/or dumb owners who beat the crap out of these cars without giving them any sort of proper maintenance.

      Like 2
      • Ralph

        Its all a conspiracy, the truth is that Alfa Romeos were so good and so reliable that Alfa Romeo had to voluntarily leave the US market in 1993 because they couldn’t sell any new cars because all the prior Alfas they sold were still running……..

        Like 1
  15. Tirefriar

    Ralph, there were many reasons why Alfa left the US market including limited after sales support, spotty dealer program, tightening emissions, etc. As lucrative as the US market may be Alfa, as well as Peugeot and others continued selling globally including in Canada. The real “victim” of Alfa exit from US was the US car enthusiast.

    Like 2

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