Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pegaso Z-102B 2.8 Touring Berlinetta

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



Unquestionably one of the stars of the 2013 St. James's Concours was this saucy little mid-fifties berlinetta from Pegaso.
Now, Pegaso is best known for building trucks and buses - big, industrial, sturdy things with diesel engines and unstoppable torque. But they've also turned their hand, somewhat incongruously, to the manufacture of lithe and lissom sports cars here and there, as evidenced by the Z-102. This was a jazzy number manufactured between 1951-8, hand-built in their Barcelona factory. It had lightweight alloy body panels lovingly hammered into shape by a variety of notable coachbuilders from across Western Europe (Carrozzeria Touring and Saoutchik, among others), and was powered by a motorsport-bred all-alloy, quad-cam, dry-sumped V8 - all of the ingredients for commercial success among the moneyed elite, yes?
Well, no, not really. They were somewhat cumbersome to drive - you can insert your own Pegaso truck gags - and as such, success in racing was not forthcoming. The nature of the design and manufacture process was a case of 'cost no object, and hang the consequences' (my words, not theirs, but you get the idea), so the Z-102 got Pegaso into a little financial hot water. This means, of course, that if you can find one today, it'll be commanding strong money.

But all of this controversy pales into insignificance when you see a Z-102 in the metal. This one, a 1955 Z-102B, is a riot of wonderful detail, from the chromed compass points on the complex C-pillars to the quirky rocket-launcher exhausts. The proportions are simply perfect and it's absolutely, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cars ever built.
Apologies, I'm gushing. But I'm a little bit in love with this.

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