15362613444_1c226cf55a_kWhen Alfa becomes ZagatoThe Alfa Romeo Junior 1600 Zagato, well proven engineering underneath some exclusive kit. Or how the marriage between Alfa Romeo and coach building specialist Zagato was consumed best.

Zagato is an important name in the Italian car industry. The Milanese coach builder is renowned for its very beautiful creations. The name has quite the heritage and has always been top of the bill in creating lightweight bodywork with a very distinctive design. Cooperation with several car manufacturers has led to a very broad range of characteristic and sporty cars. Alfa Romeo at its turn, has been working with several external coach builders through the years. The marriage to fellow Milanesian Zagato brought a number of fantastic cars, like the Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1600.

When Alfa becomes Zagato

When Alfa becomes ZagatoTheo Jacobs is an Alfa enthousiast throughout. Ever since he was young he has been tinkering on engines. During the seventies he got overrun by the Alfa virus. The engineering of the Giulia, a potent little engine with double carburetors and double overhead cas, a five speed gearbox, sporty underpinnings and disc brakes on all four corners. Things that were already the standard at Alfa Romeo during the sixties, but were still science fiction for most of the competition in the next decade. Of course Theo knows all the weak spots of these cars, but as a true enthousiasts he knows how to emphasize on the more positive characteristics. That what turns an Alfa into an Alfa and into the broadest of smiles on his face and that of many others. In 1989 Theo bought his 1600 Junior Zagato, enjoying this very limited production car to the full ever since. Alfa Romeo enthousiasts will recognise the Junior Zagato, but for most outsiders it is mostly a big surprise. That’s what makes this car even more special.

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15797480638_d5390e5151_hLike the for mentioned Giulia, the Junior Zagato is based on the so called 105 platform. First as the 1300 Junior Zagato, later in the 1600 specs. Fairly alike, but when you place the 1300 and 1600 versions of the Zagato next to one another, you immediately spot the differences. Design wise they are alike, but the proportions of the cars are somewhat different. The 1600 being slightly bigger and roomier too. Floorpan and all technical parts of the Zagato are the same as on any other 105 series, but the bodywork is incomparable to any other Alfa Romeo. Unique and typically Zagato. When Alfa becomes ZagatoA plexiglass cover decorates the front of the car, perfectly balancing the harmony between curves and sharp lines. The rear end is cut short, another typical Zagato feature leading back to its racing heritage. The Junior Zagato is a relatively rare car. Both the 1300 and the 1600 were produced in very limited numbers. Technical components aren’t the issue during restoration, but everything else is a real challenge. Even the original brochure is extremely hard to obtain.

 

 

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15982877801_6deeccd0d2_oTheo knows his car by heart. The car was completely restored, including a thorough overhaul of all technical bits. To enjoy this car, he doesn’t even have to drive it, but when he does, he becomes one with the car. Pleasantly driving through meandering country lanes, enjoying the lovely engine sound of his ultimate Alfa Romeo.
Dennis Rietveld