Released in 1969, the end result of this idiosyncratic design was – thanks to a painfully complex production process – fiercely expensive.
Alfa’s famous twin-cam powers the Junior Zagato
From a technical point of view, there was nothing new to see here.
The car sat on a Spider chassis and had tried-and-tested Giulia underpinnings driving the rear wheels, with the trusty twin-cam 1290cc four-cylinder engine achieving 103bhp.
There were twin Weber 40 carburettors as standard, plus a five-speed gearbox and four-wheel disc brakes.
In ’72, the 1600 Junior Z arrived, with the larger engine further increasing power output to 114bhp.
Thanks to sleeker aerodynamics, both models offered a slight performance hike over the cars that had donated their workings, but in reality these were machines that you bought with your eyes alone.
The Alfa Romeo’s wheels sit within muscular arches
Today, with the Lancia and Alfa side by side, it’s clear that to an extent the earlier Fulvia Sport inspired the Junior Z.
It shares the same sweeping profile in the roofline, but while the Lancia has a somewhat bulbous front end and delicate rear, it’s the reverse for the Alfa, with its sharp rear and that fine slope of its nose.
The subtle flaring applied to the Sport’s front wheelarches, and the lack of any on the rear, gives the bodywork a clean, narrow feel, while the raised bonnet and muscular arches of the Junior Z lend it more of a sporting intent.
Both have imposing front ends, but look closer and it’s the fine details of the Junior Z that delight: from that Plexiglas snout with Alfa grille-shaped aperture and ventilation slats on one side, to the origami effect on the top of the bonnet, as the metal folds around the windscreen wipers.
The badge of the famous coachbuilder, Zagato, on the wedge-shaped Alfa Romeo
It comes as no surprise, then, that the custodians of our featured cars mention aesthetics in their reasons for buying one.