Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato one-off sports car revealed

Alfa Romeo and iconic Italian design firm Zagato have built a one-off, two-door version of the Giulia sedan with bespoke carbon-fibre bodywork.

Legendary Italian design firm and coachbuilder Zagato has partnered with Alfa Romeo to build a one-off, two-door version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan, known as the Alfa Romeo Giulia SWB Zagato.

The one-off, left-hand-drive car combines the chassis and engine of a Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan with a unique carbon-fibre body, which takes inspiration from Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta SZ and Giulia TZ race cars of the 1950s and 1960s.

The Giulia SWB Zagato is designed to mark 100 years of collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Zagato, an Italian design and engineering house which specialises in low-volume and ultra-exclusive versions of sports cars, with bespoke ‘coachbuilt’ bodywork.

The two companies worked together regularly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, creating high-performance versions of Alfa Romeo models intended for motor racing in Europe.

The Giulia SWB Zagato rides on a cut-down version of the Giulia sedan’s ‘Giorgio’ architecture, with two doors instead of four, a shorter wheelbase – thus the SWB, or short-wheelbase title – and a longer nose.

The car began life as a European-market Giulia Quadrifoglio with a six-speed manual transmission – a gearbox not offered in Australia – but Zagato says the vehicle has been “updated” to match the specifications of the limited-edition GTAm.

That means its 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 has been upgraded from 375kW/600Nm to 403kW/600Nm – and GTAm-exclusive items such as carbon-ceramic brakes, dual centre exhausts and 20-inch centre-locking wheels are added.

The one-off car’s body is new, crafted from carbon fibre and drawing inspiration from two Zagato-designed Alfa Romeos: the 1950s Giulietta SZ in the 2023 car’s front end, and the 1960s Giulia TZ in its rear end.

The three-eye headlights draw inspiration from the 1990s Alfa Romeo SZ – another Zagato-badged and built car, though it was designed in house by Alfa Romeo – and are similar to those on Alfa Romeo’s new Tonale small SUV, and updated Giulia and Stelvio models.

The ‘truncated tail’ rear end – with a slim LED bar serving as the tail lights – and double-bubble roof connect to significant Zagato-designed models of history.

Inside, highlights include re-trimmed Sparco sports seats with Zagato branding, and green accents across the seats, dashboard, steering wheel and armrests.

Zagato says the Giulia SWB Zagato was designed with the “support” and approval of new Alfa Romeo design boss Alejandro Mesonero and his team.

However, it also claims the “conception, development and production of the car were carried out entirely and independently” by the Italian design firm.

“The presence of the Alfa Romeo badge on the car is solely for descriptive and promotional purposes and Zagato’s choice to draw inspiration from the Alfa Romeo SZ,” Zagato says in its media release.

Only one example of the Giulia SWB Zagato will be built, destined for an unnamed German customer “selected from among Zagato collectors”, the design house says in its media release.

The lucky – and wealthy – male buyer reportedly has “many” Alfa Romeos in his garage, including a 2000s 8C Competizione sports car, a 1990 SZ, and other classic models – plus various Aston Martin Zagato cars.

Zagato and Alfa Romeo have not disclosed how much the buyer paid for the car – however the bespoke body and one-off status suggests it is likely to cost millions, not hundreds of thousands.

“We are extremely satisfied with the collaboration we had throughout this period with Centro Stile Alfa Romeo [the car maker’s design house], the teamwork was perfect, also with the Marketing and Communication department,” Andrea Zagato, CEO of the Zagato design house, said in a media statement.

“It has been an exhilarating experience that has confirmed how the combination of Alfa Romeo and Zagato is an absolute classic of collecting”.

Alejandro Mesonero, Alfa Romeo design vice president, added in a separate media statement: “As Centro Stile, we are happy to have supported Zagato by contributing to the design of this car, which with this ‘one-off’ has chosen to celebrate its historic bond with Alfa Romeo.”

The new Giulia SWB Zagato’s celebration of 100 years of Alfa Romeo and Zagato cars is not the first anniversary the two companies have joined forces to commemorate.

To mark the Alfa Romeo brand’s centenary in 2010, Zagato built two homages to the 1960s Giulia TZ.

The first was the track-only TZ3 Corsa, a one-off based on a race car built by a small Belgian company, followed by the road-legal TZ3 Stradale, a street car based on a Dodge Viper that was limited to nine examples.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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