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Alfa Romeo SZ .jpg

Alfa Romeo SZ

The most dissonant car design

The Italians ‘own’ design and car design more so than any other nationality. Harmoniously handsome classics like the Lancia Aurelia or Lamborghini Muira, or of the current Alfa Romeo Guilia or Ferrari Roma, epitomise Italian car design with their classical automotive form. But there is another, arguably more potent, strand of Italian car design that truly evidences this national mastery of the discipline. The opposite of ‘classical automotive design’, this is the rarer — but still far more evident in Italy than elsewhere — ‘dissonant automative design’. Designs like the Lamborghinin Countach and Murcelago, the Lancia MonteCarlo and Stratos, the Fiat X1-9 and Multipla. Dissonant designs that subvert the status quo, that challenge the viewer. 

Of all these dissonant car designs, it is the 1988 Alfa Romeo SZ that is the most dissonant. Proportionally, graphically, and in form, the SZ more consciously side-steps the imbedded idea of design chasing beauty than any other sports car. It breaks so many rules, countering received wisdom in its every facet. Yet the dissonance of the SZ gels. Its density packed spectrum of ideas coalesce to form a potent single design with thus the most concentrated and powerful expression in automotive design.  

The SZ is the most dissonant, and a truly great, car design.