A rare Spanish made supercar heads to auction at Amelia Island
Spain is not a country that one naturally associates with supercars but between 1951 and 1958, Pegaso, a company known for producing buses, trucks and tractors, manufactured approximately 84 state-of-the-art sports cars. One of these rarities, a one-off 1954 Z-102 Series II cabriolet with bespoke bodywork by the renowned French firm Saoutchik, goes to auction at Amelia Island this Saturday, 9th March.
Pegaso’s chief engineer during their seven-year stint into automobile manufacturing was Wilfredo Ricart (1897 – 1974). He had previously controlled special projects for Alfa Romeo and worked on the design of the Alfa Romeo 512. Ricart also happened to be a rival of another Alfa Romeo alumnus, Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988), and the two men are said to have spectacularly fallen out after Ricart engineered for Ferrari to be dismissed from his position.
After moving to Pegaso in 1945, Ricart was encouraged to create a Spanish supercar that truly would be ahead of its time and in his mission, he truly succeeded. The first in the series of Z-102’s manufactured was described as being “a road car more advanced than any other on the planet” and as having been “the fastest production car in the world when it entered production in 1951”. Though capable of a top speed of 155 mph, the cars were also said to be “heavy and brutish to drive and competition success was virtually non-existent”.
Following in the tradition of pre-war car manufacturers, Pegaso constructed the chassis, drivetrain and engine of the vehicles in-house and then shipped the rolling units to coachbuilders to have the bodies built. Such an extravagant and expensive process ultimately caused the firm financial difficulties and for this reason production of cars by Pegaso ceased in 1958.
The 165 bhp, 2,814 cc quad overhead camshaft V8 engined Z-102 to be sold by RM Auctions was one of 18 Pegaso’s that Saoutchik worked on and is the sole Series II Saoutchik convertible. Of it, the auctioneer notes:
“Of particular beauty, and also unique to this car, is the gently curved windshield, which lacks a top frame, leaving only the stylized line of the glass, producing a low, sleek appearance”.
Further details are supplied by someone named Grahame Wood, in a comment left on the Hemmings Daily car news source website:
“This Pegaso was originally red and was exhibited at the Concour d’Elegance at San Remo in April, 1954 by the body builder Saoutchik of Paris. It was then sold to Spaniard Llamos Pastor in May 1955 and registered in Madrid M-129.650. The problem emerged with the body flexing, and a coupé roof was fitted in February 1958 and repainted metallic light blue, with blue interior. The second owner was Bernaldo Quirós and the car remained in Spain until approximately 1990”.
As part of the next stage in its life, a subsequent owner restored the vehicle to its 1954 open configuration before selling it to the current owner in 2004. RM Auction’s catalogue states that the seller had “pined for a Pegaso” since he saw one as a child in 1954 and has used the car “regularly on Sunday mornings”. The entry “also reports that it drives well”.
Like all supercars, this historic headturner does not come cheap. A guide price of between $1,250,000 and $1,750,000 has been set for this true masterpiece.
For more details about the 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II cabriolet by Saoutchik, contact RM Auctions on +1 519 352 4575 or email: [email protected]
View the auction catalogue entry for the car at: http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1057741
Watch a YouTube video of the Pegaso at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7cPKxI7xmk
Photo credits: Pawel Litwinski ©2012, courtesy of RM Auctions.