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Here’s a wildly unique car that everyone seems to have a different opinion on: a Wisconsin-built race car inspired by late 1950s Alfa Romeos. Meet the extremely rare, fast, and beautiful “SSZ Stradale.”

Many Alfa Romeo fans agree that the “Sprint Special” version of the Giulietta (1957-1962) is one of the most beautiful coupes the company every built. Or any company for that matter. But it only came with a 1.3-liter engine that made 99 bhp. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Alfas best sellers were tiny cars. But I for one have always wondered what would have happened if Alfa continued to mass-produce a large, powerful grand tourer with the Sprint Special’s looks. The result could have gone toe-to-toe with the Aston Martin DB5 and Ferrari 250s.

Red SSZ Stradale sports car parked in front of woods
1961 SSZ Stradale | Motorama Auto Museum

Tom Zatloukal of Aniwa, Wisconsin did more than wonder. He built exactly that car. In 1961, he created a custom coupe inspired by the Sprint Special. It was three inches wider and sat four inches lower. He created four prototypes in total, first with steel bodies and later out of lightweight fiberglass. Then he went “into production” in 1984.

The SSZ Stradale absolutely delighted many classic car fans. Some purists turned up their nose at the “replica,” but even the Alfa Owner magazine featured the car. In that article, Alfa historian Joe Benson dubbed it the “Zatmobile.” And while SSZ Stradale sounds like an Alfa moniker, (Alfa did use “Z” which stood for “Zagato” on some models), Zatloukal’s car name stands for “Sprint Speciale Zatloukal.” He’s never sold his cars as “Alfa Romeos,” and is clear with everyone that they are a form of tribute.

Red SSZ Stradale sports car with an open hood and trunk
1961 SSZ Stradale | Motorama Auto Museum

His first prototypes had a small Alfa Romeo engine. But when he went into production, he used a 3.0-liter Alfa Romeo V6. He built “Mark 2” cars for racing with a 3.0-liter Nissan engine tuned for 500 horsepower. The “Mark 3” cars had a special twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter built by “Electromotive” that was advertised at 1,000 horsepower. Customers could also opt for a aluminum Chevy LS6 V8 which made their cars a “Mark 3.1” or a “Mark 4”–depending on body design.

Zatloukal hand built 24 SSZ Stradales, ranging from beautiful road cars to track cars in race livery, between 1984 and 1999. He’s revealed he still has a couple of fiberglass bodies sitting around and could be convinced to make some more for the right price.

See an SSZ Stradale on the race track in the video below: