Friday, 18 September 2015

Lancia Sport Prototipo Zagato

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This rather splendid little thing was crafted by the Lancia Works team in 1964 to compete in the Targa Florio. It was very much a superleggera concept, with light alloy bodywork, minimal interior embellishments, and plastic windows. This made for pretty eager performance thanks to the 148bhp 1.8-litre boxer under the bonnet, and it sounded spectacular too. Marco Crosina and Fernando Frescobaldi drove the car in the '64 event and, despite an unfortunate DNF due to an unexpected foray off the road, it was the darling of the Works team and they lovingly embraced it back into the fold.
Motorsport, however, is a money game, and Lancia's bigwigs felt that it made more sense to race the standard Flavia Zagato so that they could sell some motors off the back of it; the Sport Prototipo ended up languishing in Lancia’s Reparto Corse for a few years, forlorn and largely forgotten.

Salvation came in 1967 however, when Works racer and champion Claudio Maglioli found the car and convinced department head Sandro Fiorio to sell it to him, along with any spares that were kicking around. Maglioli ended up keeping it in his workshop for over twenty years, steadily restoring it, before selling it on in 1991; the buyer kept it for 21 years before offering it up for auction in Monaco in 2012, and that's where its current owner Heinz Swoboda got hold of it. SSBB caught up with him at this year's Salon PrivĂ©, where he proudly explained that "my wife has painted the period race numbers back on with household undercoat and a thick brush." An impressively gung-ho approach for a car that, back in 2012, cost him a tasty €190,400. No word on whether or not he's planning to keep it for a couple of decades, although that does seem to be what the car demands...

More from Salon Privé 2015 here.

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