Alfa Junior Zagato
Alfa Junior Z
Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato
Alfa Romeo Junior Z
The factorys Junior Z
A very different JZ / Periscopio / Alfetta cross with a mid engine
The Junior Zagato is a 105 series Giulia based car and it shares the same floor pan as the Giulia Spider and as such a lot of the parts like the exhausts, propshaft, engine, gearbox and running gear are interchangable. This makes the Junior Z a very exclusive and practical Alfa Romeo to own.
The car comes in two versions: the short tailed 1300 and the long tailed 1600. They changed from one to the other in 1972. First released to the public in November 1969 at the Turin motor show the car looked fast, however it is only 5kmh faster than the 1300 GT and even though the early cars had alloy doors and bonnet it is only 10 Kg lighter, so the performance could not justify the 800,000 lira difference in price. However, the looks could.
The car, as usual with Zagato designs was clean and fresh with an empasis on good visability. The styling was also very advanced; the wedge shape was the precurser to many designs in the 1970's and the design was virtualy copied by the Honda CRX in the early 1990's.
Aerodynamicaly the cam tail was quite advanced and was a carry over from the TZ1 and 2's. The headlamps are covered by a plexi glass screen that has a central hole in the Alfa Romeo emblem to cool the radiater while the louvers to the left feed cold air to the carburettors.
At the back the hatch has an interesting feature in that it can be raised by a switch in the centre console to provide extra cabin ventilation.
The 1300 was produced for 3 years and in that time 1108 were produced while 402 of the 1600's were produced between 1972 and 1975 and even this limited production run streched the production facilitys at the Zagato factory, however it helped cement relations between Alfa Romeo and Zagato and put them on an equal footing with Bertone and Pininfarina as a carrozzeria, which was something of a watershed for the company.
To drive a Junior Z today you will imediatly notice the slightly stiffer suspension settings and this helps the car to feel considerably more nimble than the GT. This feeling is aided by the short overhangs front and rear, which help you to place the car exactly where you want it.
The engine and gearbox are exactly the same as the GT and the gear ratios suit the car very well with gear selection being both positive and precice. The clutch, being hydralic, is both light and self adjusting, and easily able to cope with the 1600's 109 bhp.
When pushed hard the car tends to understeer, however this can be balanced on the throttle in classic rear wheel drive fasion to provide a very entertaining drive, and it is truly an Alfa Romeo in every sense.