It’s a period blessed with aesthetically pleasing automotive design, full of class and panache. The cars look right. And they sound it too, either here at a historic racing circuit, or taking an afternoon drive down the Amalfi coast.
It’s not particularly Mediterranean at the 76th Members’ Meeting as the cars line up on the grid, but the sight of two Alfa Giulia TZ1s are doing their bit to warm the cockles of our Members this weekend.
Their distinctive headlights, blackened rear-ends, and sweeping contours are instantly recognisable, with some obvious design nods to the more famous 250 GTOs. Well worth an inspection in detail, if you ever get the chance.
The Tubolare Zagato was developed as a purpose-built competition GT by Autodelta, Alfa Romeo’s competition department, founded by ex-Ferrari engineer Carlo Chiti. Born for racing, the TZs competed gamely against Ferrari 250 GTOs, Shelby Cobras, Maserati Birdcages, and Porsche 904s throughout the 1960s.
Featuring 1,570 cc twin-cam engines, the 105 series TZs used a tubular spaceframe chassis, supported with independent suspension, lightweight all-aluminium bodywork and modern hydraulic disc brakes. It made the TZs competitive at only 650 kilograms with a top speed of 134mph.
Proving themselves as genuine contenders, and not just yet another piece of luxurious eye-candy, two TZs finished 3rd and 4th respectively in 1964 the Targa Floria, a notoriously difficult open road endurance event across the Sicilian mountains.
They were beaten to the 1st and 2nd by the seasoned Porsche team, but the TZs saw off the likes of the Ferrari 250 GTOs who ended up in 5th, 9th, 10th and 12th. No doubt a very special accomplishment for Carlo Chiti himself.
In the same year, the TZs proved their top finish in Sicily was no fluke, taking class wins at Sebring, Le Mans and the terrifying Nüburgring.
Today, the two TZ1s chalked up a 16th and 21st place finish in the 2018 Ronnie Hoare Trophy respectively as the snow mercifully ceased allowing racers the chance to show spectators what these GT cars can do, albeit it still in slippery conditions.
Despite not being able to track down the owners in the freezing paddocks for a thorough debrief, we couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the details of these stunning TZ1s. Our winners off the track today. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have.