SSZ Stradale

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Stradale Mark 1 street version in 1993.

The SSZ Stradale is the creation of Tom Zatloukal, Alfa Romeo racer, restorer and CEO of Alfa Heaven, Inc.[1] SSZ stands for Sprint Speciale Zatloukal. Based on the Giulietta SS the concept was to produce a high performance version with a lightweight, wider and more aggressive body than the standard production SS.[2] The original intent was to produce a one-off vehicle for personal use. The car was well received at Alfa club events across the U.S.A. Alfa historian Pat Braden nicknamed the car "The Zatmobile" and published photos in Alfa Owner magazine. Mr. Zat agreed to produce a second car for Joe Benson, author of the Alfa Romeo Buyers Guide.[3] After several other people expressed interest in purchasing a car, SSZ Motorcars was born.

Prototypes[edit]

A total of four prototypes were produced on Alfa 101 Sprint Speciale chassis. SSZ P1 has a steel body that is 3" wider and 4" lower than a standard SS, with a traditional hood and trunk.[4] P2 incorporated a one piece, fiberglass tilt front, perplex windows and other lightweight components. The third prototype had tilt front and rear, side air outlets, a new taillight configuration and an elongated greenhouse. P4 added a hood scoop, wider wheel wells and a mono wiper. Only P1 and P2 still exist as P3 was destroyed during testing and P4 was disassembled to pattern parts for the production cars.

Mark 1[edit]

SSZ Stradale Mark 1

The first production SSZ Stradale featured an all new tubular chassis combined with a Kevlar reinforced fiberglass body.[5] These cars were powered by an Alfa Romeo 3.0 V6 engine with a 5 speed overdrive transmission coupled to an adjustable ratio live axle.[6] Four wheel 12" driver adjustable brakes, adjustable coil over suspension, rack and pinion steering, front and rear adjustable sway bars, fuel cell and fire system were standard features.[7]

Mark 2[edit]

SSZ Stradale Mark 2 as raced on May 21, 1995 at MoSport

Although the chassis and suspension were the same, as the Mark 1 cars, the power was increased to over 500 hp (373 kW) by utilizing a Nissan 3.0, four valve, turbo charged engine.[8] The transmission and rear axle were also upgraded. The body was widened, a front spoiler added and a new rear clip was incorporated to increase downforce.

Mark 3[edit]

SSZ Stradale Mark 3 as raced at Elkhart Lake, Road America on October 2, 1999

Mark 3 cars were prepared in competition version only. The Electromotive 3.0 twin turbo engine developed 1000 horsepower.[9] The cars had independent rear suspension and inboard disc brakes. A full flat bottom with rear diffuser, air jacks, telemetry and data acquisition were fitted. The body was wider, longer and was delivered with adjustable front and rear wings. The car weighed 2000 pounds in FIA GT2 trim.

Mark 3.1[edit]

Mark 3, street version.

Mark 3.1 autos had the same chassis and body as the 3.0 sans wings. The engines were Chevrolet LS6 aluminum V8s coupled to a Richmond 5 speed. The wheels were changed to a traditional 5 bolt pattern. Like the 3.0, the auto was sold for competition purposes and was available without engine. Several cars have been converted street use.

Mark 4[edit]

SSZ Stradale Mark 4, street version.

These cars were mechanically the same as the 3.1. The body and chassis were 4 inches (100 mm) longer for high speed stability. Racing development was discontinued at the end of the 1999 season due to upheaval within the sanctioning bodies.

Racing[edit]

A Mark 2 racing in July of 1995.

Stradales were campaigned in SCCA,[10] USRRC, FIA GT, World Challenge, and Sports Car. Mark 1 and 2 cars won numerous events in SCCA club racing including the Continental Challenge and 5 track records. Elvira, the first Mk 3 auto, set three track records, had seven wins and placed fifth in the United States Road Racing Championship. Stradales have competed in oval track, drag race, rally racing and hill climb events with some success.[11]

Mark 1, Phil Hill autographed car, raced at Elkhart Lake's Road America on August 20, 1993

Production Stats[edit]

Years produced: 1984 - 1999

Model Number made Engine Dimensions
Prototypes 4 Alfa 1.6 liter
Mark 1 6 Alfa 3.0 liter
Weight 1850 pounds
Length 165"
Width 64.5"
Height 49"
Mark 2 5 Nissan 3.0 liter
Weight 2150 pounds
Length 168"
Width 67"
Height 47.5"
Mark 3 3 Electromotive 3.0 liter
Weight 2200 pounds
Length 170"
Width 72.5"
Height 46.5"
Mark 3.1 8 Chevrolet 5.7 liter
Weight 2200 pounds
Length 170"
Width 72.5"
Height 46.5"
Mark 4 2 Chevrolet 5.7 liter
Weight 2200 pounds
Length 174"
Width 72.5"
Height 46.5"

While the SSZ is no longer being produced, once source reports, "Today, the enigmatic Tom [Zatloukal] and his lovely wife Dale still reside in Wisconsin on Stradale Lane. They recently opened the Motorama Auto Museum [12] there, featuring the Alfa Heaven collection of over fifty vintage Alfa Romeos, several SSZ Stradales, rare Prototypes and unique cars from around the world. Most days, they'll guide your tour personally."[13]

Resources[edit]

  1. ^ NAVI
  2. ^ Autoweek
  3. ^ Alfa Romeo Buyer's Guide
  4. ^ Alfa Owner
  5. ^ Car and Driver
  6. ^ Auto Capital
  7. ^ European Car
  8. ^ NAVI
  9. ^ NAVI
  10. ^ NAVI
  11. ^ Old Car Weekly
  12. ^ http://www.alfaheaven.com/Catalog/MtrRmaPostr.html
  13. ^ http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43068