Story by Pete Vack
The world of the Internet will likely soon be filled with stories of a particular Alfa Romeo that served as the prototype for a new Alfa Zagato GT, one with a long tail, suddenly clipped off and called the “Coda Tronca”. And so we add to the hoopla, for of course the prototype Coda Tronca as found by the long time and truly enthusiastic Italian collector Corrado Lopresto and introduced at the Wilton Concours last weekend, (see related story) is an important find and a truly significant Alfa Romeo and Zagato. In Part 1 we’ll look at the use of the Kamm effect and why the Alfa SZ Coda Tronca was different.
As Ercole Spada would later recall, these were exciting times. In February 1960, The 22 year old ex-soldier, lacking any kind of formal training, had applied for a job at Zagato upon completion of his military service. He brought with him no portfolio, no sketches. But he loved to draw cars. “While my friends were stealing a peak into Playboy, I had my nose deeply into car magazines,” Spada recalled. Elio Zagato asked him if he had a driver’s licenses and could draw on a one to one scale. Spada said yes and Zagato hired him on the spot. Before Spada came onboard, Zagato didn’t have a chief designer. Cars just more or less happened. Life was simpler then.His first assignment was to design a body for Tony Crook’s Bristol 406S, which although high and narrow, was a great improvement over the earlier Zagato effort on the 406. Hot on the heels of the Bristol came the Aston Martin Zagato, and suddenly, with less than a year under his belt, Spada was if not famous, definitely had proven his worth. It was a story out of the dreams of thousands of boys, and Spada was living it.