The Alfa Romeo a Le Mans driver couldn't bring himself to race

Zagato developed a rebodied Alfa Romeo Giulietta in 1962, with Le Mans racer Karl Foitek buying chassis 00034. But unlike the sister SZs, Foitek didn't race this one…

Many say you can’t be considered a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Following that train of thought, one Swiss businessman might be the ultimate car fan – Karl Foitek.

A name synonymous with Il Biscione, Foitek was known for racing Alfa Romeo vehicles in the World Sportscar Championship and at the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. However, a dark horse from Foitek's garage is part of RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auction on December 8, one Alfa Romeo he chose not to race with professionally.

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200 examples of the Giulietta Sprint Zagatos were built, this one (chassis 00034) from a resurrected Giulietta Sprint Veloce which had previously been wrecked. As one of the early production models, Foitek’s personal Giulietta SZ was one of the rarer ‘Coda Tonda’ varieties, sporting a much shorter and rounder rear than the elongated ‘kamm-tail’ Series II editions.

Differentiating the Zagato from its Giulietta SV forerunner is the rounded ‘bubble’ bodywork designed by Franco Scaglione, fitted to a spaceframe chassis for weight saving. That racing-inspired lightness extended elsewhere, with Perspex windows fitted rather than glass and a pretty basic interior, with leather bucket seats the closest thing to luxury this car has to offer.

Despite its credentials it appears Foitek never used this example for racing – at least not at any notable races like some of the other Alfas past and present in Foitek’s collection. Instead, AR 101.26 00034 has lived a more relaxed life, its most strenuous activity of late coming after Foitek sold the car in 2015 to its second ever owner.

Competing at this year’s Sports Car Market Tour in Oregon, the Giulietta has had a fair old workout recently, showing it’s still in good running order and ready for its prospective new owner to take on an adventure of their own.

Though it was given a repaint some time ago much of the car is supposedly original and authentic, leading to an understandably large price-tag for such a small vehicle.

With only 200 ever made and this one still showing in strong condition, RM Sotheby’s estimates a successful bidder will need to part with between $600,000 - $750,000 to win its auction for the Giulietta SZ come Saturday, December 8.

Images by RM Sotheby’s/Karissa Hosek

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