Alfa Romeo launched the striking 1300 Junior Zagato in 1969 as an edgier, more focused alternative to the standard Bertone-designed Giulia 1300 GT Junior, reviving their long-standing relationship with the legendary design firm Carrozzeria Zagato. Traditionally, Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeos were the reserve of circuit racers and rally drivers, but the Junior Z’s purpose from the onset was that of a driver-focused road car. The project was timely as Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato production was soon winding down, and the coachbuilder wanted another project to keep its factory humming.
Starting with the Duetto 1300 Junior roadster platform for superior rigidity, Zagato shortened the rear section and clothed the chassis in a lightweight steel body with alloy panels. The dramatic wedge-shaped, fastback styling was created by the legendary designer Ercole Spada, a prolific stylist whose portfolio includes the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, Alfa TZ1 and TZ2, Fulvia Sport, Ford GT70, and BMW E34 5-series, among others. In classic Zagato fashion, the body was a stark contrast to the standard car’s organic curves, yet it was thoroughly modern, perfectly proportioned, and fabulously detailed. With the lightweight coachwork and eager little 1300 cc twin-cam engine, the Junior Z was nimble, lithe, and an absolute joy to drive. Approximately 1,100 were sold before the more powerful yet slightly heavier 1600 Jr. Zagato replaced it in 1972.
This excellent 1300 Junior Z is one of only a handful in the USA. Finished in an attractive combination of blue over a tan trim, it is a very well-sorted, long-term California car with numerous performance upgrades and benefits from expert care by a series of devoted marque enthusiasts. One notable past owner of this car is Ken “Mr. Alfa” Shaff, best known as co-founder of both Auto Week Magazine and the California Mille rally with Martin Swig. More recently, it was treated to extensive engine-out mechanical refurbishment work done by Stewart’s Automotive in Sacramento, California (performed in 2019). Since early 2022 has been in the care of an experienced Alfa specialist and vintage racer who expertly dialed it in for reliable, fast-road enjoyment.
The blue paintwork is in very good condition overall. Finish quality is consistent and is done to a level that encourages regular driving. Minor cracks are noted around the A-pillars, C-Pillars, and near the tailgate opening – a common affliction on these cars. Otherwise, the paintwork is glossy and attractive, and the appealing color suits the wedge-shaped form brilliantly. The cockpit trim is well-preserved and in good condition, and the cabin features correct instruments, switchgear, and cockpit fittings. An aftermarket radio has been added. True to its Grand Touring moniker, the Junior Z is surprisingly roomy and comfortable, even for taller drivers.
Mechanical updates to this car include the fitment of a 2-liter twin-cam engine in place of the original 1300, which has been upgraded with more aggressive camshafts. To cope with the added power, a 4.56:1 limited-slip rear differential, alloy GTA-style T-arm, and adjustable front upper control arms were fitted. The chassis bushings and rubbers were replaced in 2019, and the package is finished off with magnesium Cromodora 5-spoke alloys and fresh Pirelli CN36 radial tires.
On the open road, this Alfa is an absolute blast to drive, the carefully chosen modifications assuring exciting performance and allowing the diminutive Alfa to hang with much more powerful machinery when things get twisty. A rare, stylish, and highly capable sports car with pure Italian racing DNA, this GT 1300 Junior Zagato is a must-have for the classic driving enthusiast.
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Stock number 7437
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