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An Alfa Romeo TZ3, a Dodge Viper Or Just a Gorgeous Zagato

Zagato has graced us with stunning coach work on top on some of the most amazing cars in the past and this latest is no different. But is it an Alfa Romeo, a Dodge Viper or just another amazing exercise from the Zagato house?


It's a little bit of the last two, but mostly the fruit of the Chrysler/Fiat wedding. By Using a Dodge Viper base, Zagato was able to inspire the extrapolate what an Alfa Romeo TZ3 would look like today. Unfortunately, the only Alfa Romeo on this stunning TZ3 are the badges.

Technically Speaking. This stunning piece of work is based on a mono-shell, carbon fiber chassis of the Dodge Viper ACR. It is powered by the company's 8.4 liter Viper V-10 engine and Autoweek has already called it “The First American Alfa Romeo.” However, I beg to differ.

The New TZ3. Rejoice, this TZ3 will be produced, albeit in very small quantity. Only 9 examples will find their way to car collector who will surely not want to miss such a rare occasion. This marriage “gift” from Zagato to FIAT-Chrysler is to celebrate the union of the Turin car manufacturer and the beleaguered Chrysler. Zagato that had nothing but praises for Fiat CEO, Marchionne. This TZ3 is not to be confused with the other TZ3 Corse that Zagato revealed a year ago at the Villa D'Este. The TZ3 Corse was based on the amazing 8C Competizione, which I had the pleasure to drive a few years ago. No, this one is entirely new, has no real Alfa Romeo DNA and is intended for very limited production.

The Alfa Romeo TZ2. If you have ever seen a TZ2 and even a TZ1, you would see how the TZ3 has nothing in common with the unique 1965 to 1966 racer. The TZ series was born out of race needs and was an amazing car to bring to the track. Both sported a tubular body and while the TZ1 had the small by very efficient 1.3 liter, the TZ2 had the high revving 1.6 Liter producing 170 hp. The TZ2 was so beautiful it was dubbed the small GTO, a reference to the Uber classic Ferrari GTO of the 60s.

So this brings us back to is this a Dodge, a Zagato or an Alfa Romeo? A Dodge Viper, it certainly is and a stunning one with a beautiful Zagato body. But an Alfa Romeo? No it isn't, at least not if you are an Alfa Romeo aficionado. None the less, these rare items should make the circle of collector cars and are destined to become classic items. And this begs yet one time to consider what Fiat is doing with the iconic Alfa Romeo brand, borrowing platforms from Ferrari and now Dodge, sticking its recognizable badges on drivetrains? If it makes financial sense to use an available Dodge Viper platform for a Zagato TZ3, I wonder if it makes sense placing Alfa Romeo badges on it.


Anonymous (not verified)    July 5, 2012 - 4:39PM

Fiat should know better not to cut corners when using a brand like Alfa Romeo. Alfa have enough knowledge and expertise to make their own tuned chassis and engine and its about time Fiat give them the investment to grow. i really do hate this parts and platform sharing, doesn't build a good image.

Nicolas Zart    July 5, 2012 - 5:03PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you and sometimes it feels Marchionne is only interested in having saved Fiat, who cares what happens after. Alfa Romeo has more cache and culture than Fiat and sometimes it seems Fiat has never forgiven Alfa Romeo stealing Vittorio Jano 100 years ago. In the meantime, the brand is hurting and it doesn't deserve it. Thanks, Nicolas

Anonymous (not verified)    July 6, 2012 - 9:40AM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

thanks Nicolas, I also believe that Fiat have not got the financial power to revive Alfa Romeo to its former glory. Fiat made a big mess of Lancia and all we are seeing are Fiats in a different dress and now they are Chrysler. I regarded Lancia as the Mercedes Benz of Italy which was run by a very inventive person and it carried on with that innovation throughout their cars. Alfa and Lancia both had racing knowledge and that showed in their cars but for some reason the unreliability factor overwelmed the acknowledgment that their cars were so good. I currently own an Alfa and I can say its quite a feeling to be behind a wheel of one, if it breaks down i can at least sit outside and spend time admiring it and i win both ways. Personally, i do not want to see Alfa sold to VW. that German engineering although good is rather bland and boring and those VW engines i'd prefer Alfa were without them. i'd like to see Alfa Romeo be sold to Tata. Tata has done a good job of Jaguar Land Rover and i'd like to see Tata put in some much needed investment into Alfa and see those V6 and 4 cylinder TS engines come back.

Nicolas Zart    July 6, 2012 - 1:56PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You make great points and none is sadder than what Fiat has done... or not done with Lancia. Lancia were the Maseratis of this world. Luxurious, could race and had style. Come to think, Fiat also brought Maserati down to its feet with it using Ferrari platforms and engines. But you're right, Marchionne has done one good thing, he brought back Fiat from irrelevancy. That's not a small task. But I fear for Alfa.

I love the point you make about if your Alfa breaks down, at least you can admire it. Mine rarely break down, but when they do, at least I had fun behind the wheel. Sadly also, I don't have as much fun behind the wheel of a German manufacturer. Yes, they're great cars but have no charisma. A BMW officer from the 70s once said if their cars were as great as Alfa Romeos, they wouldn't need to spend so much money on marketing :)

In one sense though, the Audi group has done a good job with the Lamborghini brand. At least, they work better and the quality has gone up but I'm sure the handling is not Italian. I would still like to see them have a go at reviving Alfa Romeo then sell it back again... The Tata idea is intriguing and you're right, Tata has done a good job with Rover. I don't think they've done nearly as good a job as I wish to have seen for Jaguar, but maybe time will change my mind.

Great points. Thanks, Nicolas

Anonymous (not verified)    July 7, 2012 - 12:35PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

Hi Nicolas, thanks once again :). Well...maybe i'm being too harsh on Fiat, their Fiat 500 is quite a looker and very cheeky and that Panda looks great and very reasonably priced and they seem to be making a headway on their engines but they need to understand that each car has got to have a individual character that makes it what it is and large part of it comes from the engine - the heart and soul that gives the car a voice to shout with so i'm not a big fan of one engine for all cars but businesses with multiple car brands don't understand that because business is profits not passion. Italian cars like Alfa's, Lambo's are like female supermodels, they look great, they make you look good when you arrive, you can't keep your eyes off their sensual curves, great sex, puts a smile on your face afterwards but she breaks down too often, high maintenance, high costs, added frustration and after a month of loving care and attention you regrettably give up but you look back and realize the passionate experience is the "best" you ever had :)

My fav marques are Jaguar and Alfa Romeo, namely because both have such a rich history in racing before they started mass production and their racing ideas made their way into their production cars. these cars are like having a heart with a heartbeat as if they're alive but Germans are more like reliable pacemakers that go on forever so who needs a heartbeat and that's the difference between them 2 marques and the German cars - the soul, spirit and character that makes them alive. Jaguar's founder Sir William Lyons philosophy was "The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive" means that these marques really do understand that pass the engineering stage there is something missing and you need to insert a sense of character, feel and beauty into the car. i'm seeing this come through Jaguar now but I would also like Alfa to reflect their past racing glory in their cars those beautiful curved lines, that is why i would like Alfa to have a true investor that would let Alfa spread its wings and have a good stretch. Tata's business ideology is i'll invest provided you can show me that you can survive on your own and run yourself without my intervention and that is the support that JLR are getting over the next few years from Tata, hence my preferred company. Audi would give Alfa their FSI and Lambo engines and platforms and that would be the end of it but i don't think they would easily give up Alfa knowing that its a very iconic brand to have.

Nicolas Zart    July 7, 2012 - 1:23PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You make great points. I actually really like the Fiat 500 and think it is a design masterpiece that took the best cues from the original Cinque Cente and modernized it. I feel, unlike the Mini, it is purer and truer to its original form. I drove the Sports version and it was a fun car. I didn't also drive the Dodge Dart 1.4 and that is a fun happy revving engine. The 2L was a little anemic. I think Fiat has recovered quite well and isn't bleeding it IP away to the Germans anymore :)

When you write about a car being the closest thing to a body, yesterday was the Bikini 70th Birthday I believe. The inventor was French and he was tired of working on cars. I wonder if he felt a women's body was closer to perfection. I sure feel it is.

You're right about the Jaguar and Alfa Romeo connection. Both were race cars before they became production factories. I think Tata is doing a great job and I went to MDI's headquarter in the South of France to test a few air compressed prototypes. I thought they had a solid idea.

In the end, at some point a group of rich car enthusiasts could buy these unique car companies and return them to their former glory. In Jaguar's case, it sounds like Tata did it. Now if only it could happen to Alfa Romeo. And I would still love to see an electric 4C :)

Anonymous (not verified)    July 7, 2012 - 5:02PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

Hi Nicolas, i'd choose the 500 over the mini any day. I saw an XKSS and from an angle i couldn't help but realize that the body profile from rear wing to front resembled the curves from a naked woman's bottom lying front down (rear wing), the dip in the lower back (curve going through the door) coming up to the curved upper back rounded off to the shoulders (front wing) and i thought what a beauty. its got more french curves than you can point a finger at :-D

i guess there are pro's and con's of electric and petrol but i'd like to keep originality in the theme of the cars. I'd like Jag to revive the iconic straight six they were famed for using in their cars over the V6 they currently thinking of using but i guess their finances limit what they can do. I also want the engine to be a piece of art to admire as well as the car itself, nowadays we see all these engine covers and it kind of spoils it. when we see a beating heart in a chest cavity we get shocked and amazed but when you lift the bonnet you see a plastic cover and its not so exciting to see. i can only think of Lambo, Ferrari and Alfa's chromed V6 who are keeping this tradition true.

I guess rich car enthusiasts can help but the issue is if they decide to downsize considerably and that will cause a big political issue in the country and they need to understand the financial cost of investment needed. JLR £1bn a year investment is quite a small amount but their XF estate is such a beautiful car that its the best compromise between practicality and beauty compared to the other cars and they are getting there slowly. As for Alfa they need to design their cars like they are beautiful concept cars. the 159 is an ideal example, it looks unlike any other and quite a rarity to see on the roads. the Mito and Giuletta are good looking but i feel they very similar to the 8C and if i'm honest they need to be distinctive cars and i feel they have rushed it to cash in on the market to help push up Alfa's finances and being Alfa they could have tried better but nonetheless they are quite good looking cars inside and out.

Nicolas Zart    July 7, 2012 - 8:39PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah, me too, the 500 has more design appeal than the Mini in my eyes, especially that new 4 dour 4 wheel drive which should have been called a Maxi. But all jokes apart, I'll have to take a closer look at the XKSS.

As far as stunning designs for electric cars, Lightning GT did a great job although their final production is not as grabbing as the original one. However, the Fisker Karma is stunning I think. He actually pulled off big smiling grills on a car.

I loved the 159. It was pure, simple and with plenty of character, especially the station wagon. How I wished we would have had one here in the US to show people how station wagons can be sexy and have performance. Yes, the Alfa nose found on the 8C, Mito and Giuelleta, along with the 4C is a weird idea. As much as I love the idea of bringing back that which made Alfa Romeo so recognizable, I don't think that nose was particularly it for me. We'll see where Fiat will bring the venerable Alfa. Hopefully, it will be to a better place and I hope with a little bit of electrons flowing through it.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 8, 2012 - 4:05AM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

it has to be about getting the proportions right so that nothing looks too small or too big and every aspect and proportions of the car has to complement the car as a one complete package and i do feel the Germans have failed on this aspect because their cars look so confused. so far i feel the cars that have achieved these proportions and they are my favourite are the 8C, LR Discovery, XK, Alfa 75, 155, Jaguar XJ (X350), XF, Alfa 159, Alfa Giulietta (its slowly growing on me ;) ) and i could go on. If there was a car i could live with everyday it would be the new XJ, the interior is quite unlike any other and feel like you're riding in a yacht with that wrap around veneer. my only issue with that is the car seems to go taller as it goes to the rear wing but i guess they wanted it to have a bigger boot and its so graceful when it glides past you.

I guess electric hybrid is the way forward but it all depends on how long those batteries last before they need replacing which i do hope is not too expensive.

Nicolas Zart    July 8, 2012 - 12:40PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm going to date myself a bit here but I still think one of the most perfect car line was the early Ferrari 308. It had everything I needed and yes, I don't have kids :) The Germans follow the form follows practicality, which makes it at odds with a design that inflames you. I feel the Mercedes 500 series for the past decade did a good job actually but in general, the bunker look and the open angry fish mouth of an Audi doesn't do much for me.

A car I always go back too was the Alfa Romeo 1900 SS. Bertone penned it without a wind tunnel and look at that spectacular result. At some point, the Italian car industry will wake up and take over the reign of designs once more.

As far as batteries, I'm sad to hear the misconception of "changing batteries" and price. As much as you have to change a gasoline car's engine every 150,000 to 300,000 miles, the same would happen for lithium batteries but more in the 200,000 range. The electric motor is bullet proof. Lithium price has steadily come down and is now half priced from a decade ago. That is my last worry, overall price is more of a concern.

Thank you, Nicolas

Anonymous (not verified)    July 10, 2012 - 8:37AM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

Yes, when i was young the Alfa 75 and 155 were my secret love affairs (the alloy wheels, that 155 big spoile,r the DTM cars - fab!) and XJ and XJS did it for me as well. there was something about them that just appealed instantly but looked odd and complementary. i don't know why but they were just perfect in every way and i couldn't find a fault. only afterwards i find out about the reliability issues but they still the best to me. for Alfa now its the beauty and handling (with the aide of electronics) that attracts but underneath we will see a Fiat/Chrylser platform which doesn't sound good but its the way these business want to work.

there are pro's and con's of various alternatives to petrol but its all to do with what consumer demand there is that will encourage businesses to follow and supply in return for the usual profits. with batteries its dealing with end of life disposal, manufacturing which i heard is not environmentally friendly, costs and hydrogen fuel cells its the explosive nature of the gas (think what will happen in an accident, petrol is just as bad), petrol its greenhouse gases and you can't win either way.

I drive a 159 as a daily commute to work, i clock up 620 miles a week and its just the best, reliable (wishing something would go wrong so feel like i'm driving an Alfa :-D ), comfortable, i can never get bored looking at the gorgoues interior/exterior and anyone who complains about their reliability and how stupid i must have been - i simply put it down to shear jealousy that they're driving lifeless german cars ;). Something about Alfa's that makes you realize that yes they're not as reliable or good as the Germans, their not bad enough to be classed to the likes of Vauxhalls, skoda or toyota but they're in that niche class of their own where you simply can't compare it to anything because they are very special

Nicolas Zart    July 10, 2012 - 10:04AM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ah, I couldn't afford a 75 in Europe so I bought a few Alfasud Sprint Veloce. What cars, the baby GTV6s of their time. The 159 is still a reference to me. People who point at the quality and reliability issues of Alfa Romeos should be reminded that in the 80s there weren't a lot of cars that were reliable. As far as the problems I've seen on them, they were mostly due to people who didn't warm up engines properly and didn't change oil as frequently as they should have. They were a performance engines and had to be treated as such.

As far as battery manufacturing, well anything pollutes, even us breathing air. Disposal is almost completely recyclable these days and you can always use them as local storage. Hydrogen is a tricky thing and is also a by-product of petroleum refineries. No wonder petroleum companies push so hard for it.

You're right, people will dictate the market in the end based on their needs. A recession has the uncanny ability to make people choose what they need, not so much what they wish for.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 10, 2012 - 4:32PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

its very hard for me to decide which Alfa i would ultimately choose as they are all very good at what they do. if money was no bar it would be the old Alfa GTV with the good old V6 and i would strip and have it rebuilt. the new V6 from GM sources is not that good sounding as the old one so i'm not sure what the idea was behind that and if Alfa were happy with the end result or not.

The beauty of the engine was that there is no engine cover and its one thing seeing a beautiful car but lifting the bonnet and seeing another beauty is quite a feast and i'd wish companies like Alfa and Jaguar spend some extra time making the engine a master piece like the car itself. only Lambo and Ferrari expose the engines and it looks brilliant.

The Diesel engines are a good move but purist like me would say stick to petrol but today's petrol prices mean that Alfa would be out of the price range for some and out of business just it affected Jaguar who delayed thee diesel move and suffered in sales. the VM Motori unit is good and with the MultiJet technology from Fiat it seems better and performance is quite impressive and very good torque.