1964 Alfa Romeo TZ and its Champion Driver

This car commemorates female racing achievement for a new generation

The TZ1 is an exceptional competition car, produced in extremely limited numbers. The chassis is a dedicated tubular unit that weighs just 125 pounds. With a total dry weight of under 1,500 pounds, TZ’s were incredibly successful, sweeping their class at Le Mans, Sebring, the Nürburgring, the Targa Florio and the Coupe des Alpes.

This car, TZ 016, was delivered new in Los Angeles in 1964 to Lou Mellon and had a period history in SCCA Club Racing. In 1965, TZ 016 was sold to Al and Nadeene Brengle, owners of the San Diego Alfa Romeo dealer Mo-Tech Ltd.

Nadeene Brengle was subsequently the Southern Pacific C-Production Champion and scored a second in class finish at the 1966 ARRC (American Road Race of Champions) at Riverside. This is a remarkable club racing achievement. The car was raced afterward by Phyllis Gaylard, from her base in Southern California. In 1972, TZ 016 was sold to Richard Payne, from Los Angeles, through an advertisement placed in the Alfa Romeo Club of America newsletter (Volume 15, No 1 January 1972). The car then passed to Jerry Rosenstock in 1977. Over the next several decades, Jerry used the vehicle in many clubs and vintage events, including several Monterey Historics. Jerry also displayed on the lawn at Pebble Beach in 1996 after racing in the Historics on Saturday.

In the small series of special Alfa TZ’s, chassis 016 has a remarkable, unbroken history. In addition to the successful period competition, it is with only its sixth custodian in over 50 years. This car retains a high degree of its original body, componentry and accessories. TZ 016 has spent its entire life in Southern California, and this stable history is almost unheard of for a TZ.

The restoration of this car has been a labor of love. Conrad Stevenson in Berkeley organized the team and completed the work from 2015-2019. The restoration literally “took a village,” and specialists from throughout the Bay Area passionately worked on the car to return it to its 1966 SCCA condition and livery. The project is incredibly meaningful since I have been in correspondence with Al and Nadeene’s sons, Tom and Dave Brengle, throughout the project. Tom was present to show the car with me at Pebble Beach in August. My 7-year-old daughter, Miriam, will be able to grow into adolescence with a car that tells a story of female achievement in a male-dominated field. I am hopeful that Nadeene’s achievements will resonate with her and remind her that any glass ceiling can be broken with hard work, talent and a strong team that believes in her.

The car has given me the opportunity to tell its story not only at Pebble Beach, but hopefully at other Concours around the world. It will then be on the road in as many driving events as I can fit into the calendar.