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Radical Italian roadster revealed

2011-07-13 09:14

SUPERCAR STYLE: No roof. Airbags absent. Infotainment? None. And none of that really matters, now does it? Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Spada
Model Monza
Engine 7-litre twin-turbo V8
Power 522kW
Zero To Hundred 3 sec
Top Speed 334km/h
Once the envy of petrolhead artists the world over, Italy's once-vaunted automotive design industry is not in great shape any more.

Bertone is now owned by Fiat. Zagato, ostensibly, now belongs to a Russian banker named Vladimir Antonov and Pininfarina has radically downsized its operations but despite the virtual implosion of most Italian coachbuilders in recent years determined father-and-son team Ercole and Paolo Spada did not shy away from conceptualising and building a rather radical supercar in the great Italian tradition.

What tradition? Well, a tradition that dictates outlandishly striking styling should always be powered by an oversized American V8 engine - a formula established by De Tomaso four decades ago and recently revived by Alfa Romeo.


Ercole Spada, a former Zagato designer, and his son Paolo delivered a concept to the Top Marques show in Monte Carlo back in 2008 on commission from Italian custom-car brand Aznom. That car, called the Codatronca, was very much a retro Kamm-tailed Alfa Romeo and although undoubtedly striking was not quite what Aznom had in mind.

After another three years of design refinement the dad-and-lad duo have now revealed the finished product: Codatronca Monza, a roadster version of the original Anzom-commissioned car that's pure Italian coachbuillt pornography.

The air intake looks like a Lamborghini copy but, in profile, the roadster is unique and its surfacing repeats a purposeful interplay of geometric shapes.

It’s a stupefyingly striking car in terms of design, especially the amazing array of edges and shapes crafted into each square centimetre from bumper-to-bumper. Simply put: if you drove the Codatronca Monza into an air-force base by accident somebody might try to fly it - it's that dramatic and its purpose-built for speed...

Of course crash survival is a non-issue due to the limited-edition status (production volumes are expected never to exceed double figures) so the roadster profile is not ruined by a standard windscreen, the Monza making do with a tiny deflector screen.

Inside, the aluminum structure is left untrimmed, digital instrumentation (resident in the steering-wheel boss) is rudimentary, switches operate sans stalks. There's an Aim Smartycam that records HD videos and overlays telemetry and data captured by the steering wheel, for you to download and enjoy at leisure on a laptop…

MONSTER MONZA: When the Monza passes you – and it certainly will, thanks to its 522kW power peak – your reaction is sure to be gauged in expletives, not adjectives…


Hardly conceived to be a trailer-queen (being delivered from one auto show to the next for display only), the ‘Monza’s powered by a twin-turbo version of Chevrolet’s venerable seven-litre pushrod V8 a Corvette-sourced  - and suitably modified LS7 engine - is good for 522kW in the Condatronca Monza - and, yes, that's a lot.

Drive is to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission (no paddle-shift nannying here) and traction control, well, that's up to you, your right foot and the steering-wheel. With 522kW on tap, lurid power slides are sure to be the 'Monza's default cornering posture.


The Condatronca Monza’s licensing mass is predicted to be only 1180kg so it will be credited with rather cartoonish performance figures, such as a benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in three point zero seconds and 335km/h. We suspect attempting a top-speed run in this roadster, with wind protection tallying nothing greater than a widened superbike deflector screen, would be quite, well, interesting – even with a full-face helmet...

Beyond its radical styling and near fighter-jet power-to-weight ratio, the Condatronca Monza’s dynamics promise to be particularly well-rounded. Pirelli PZero Corsa tyes on OZ alloy wheels should provide outstanding grip and adjustablle coil-over suspension forr each wheel should enable owners to tailor the Monza’s ride and handling to personal preference.

The tubular aluminium chassis is a tad old-fashioned and hardly comparable to most contemporary supercars but at least it’s light. Brakes are, unlike many other low-volume custom coachbuilt cars, ABS-boosted and supplied by Brembo.

Whereas the Monza is a hardcore machine for those who have a discerning eye for Italian industrial design, Ercole Spada says his team is already working on a more refined Barchetta version for customers more intent on posing than pursuing performance.

Italian coachbuilt specials with American V8 power - what would the world be without them?


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