|My favorite Zagato|
This feature is a first for the triad of VeloceToday.com, Coachbuild.com and SportsCarDigest.com. We all had input to this article and feature this article in our respective websites at the same time.
The recent and regrettable passing of Elio Zagato caused us to query a variety of noted car enthusiasts to tell us what is their favorite Zagato bodied car. Sounds easy, right?
Very few of the respondents could claim just one favorite. “Well, it might be the 6C 1500 Alfa, but then again maybe the DB4GT, or wait, I forgot about those lovely Maserati Zagatos.” And so it went. Even Ercole Spada could not easily decide between two of his own designs. It seems that there are so many interesting, unique, and/or beautiful Zagato designs that it is very hard to choose just one.
At the same time, although we tried to avoid it, several enthusiasts chose the same car - most the Ferraris 250 GT. And with good reason, as they may be the most clearly stated Zagato effort of all - aggressive, beautiful, sculpted with great art, and of course light and very fast.
Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato
Ercole Spada, Zagato's former design chief:
"My favorite Zagato model is the Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato. That car might have been too modern for its days, and even in the late eighties the concept was copied by other manufacturers, take the Honda CRX for example."
Karl Ludvigsen, historian, librarian, author:
“I am completely and utterly nuts, nuts, nuts and just comprehensively nuts about the Alfa Junior Zagato. It was first shown at Turin in November of 1969 in 1300 cc form and then upgraded to 1600 cc a couple of year later. Zagato did a wonderful job on this car with its body pared to the minimum and chock full of fascinating details. It’s magnificent. I borrowed one from Alfa on a trip to Italy and found it an absolute hoot. Light, lively and a dream to handle, it is the quintessential sports car.”
Ferrari 250 GT Zagato #0515GT
Simon Moore, author of “The Immortal Alfa Romeo 2.9”:
“The Ferrari 250GT “double bubble” chassis number 0515GT.”
David Sydorick, collector:
“From personal experience, I can certainly second Simon Moore’s choice of the Zagato Ferrari 250GT Zagato, s/n 0515GT.”
Ferrari 250 GT Zagato #0537GT
Michiel van den Brink, designer, editor for Coachbuild.com:
“I go for the Ferrari 250 GT with chassis number 0537GT. Sydorick’s example #0515GT proves that Zagatos are very suitable for both Concourses d’Élegance and racing and while #0537GT is practically identical to #0515GT, she’s more purpose built for racing and has some more refined details like the radiator. The fact that this car raced her first race in nothing but primer adds to the story.”
OSCA V12 Coupe Zagato
Brandes Elitch, contributor for VeloceToday:
“I went back to my 2 volume set on Zagato, published by Giorgio Nada in 1989. Volume I, by Michele Marchiano, and while it is a fool’s errand to choose the most desirable car, one did stand out, one I never noticed before. On page 102, there are 2 photos of a 1952 Osca V-12 coupe. The car has an Osca V12 engine of 4500 cc displacement. This car is breathtaking, period.”
Ferrari Tipo 166MM Zagato
Michael T. Lynch, author, historian:
“A Zagato coupe on a Ferrari 166 chassis that was later rebodied. This is obviously a more sophisticated version of Zagato’s aerodynamica or panoramica coupes on Fiat chassis. Front 3/4 is a little ungainly, but that rear shot just makes you want to pat it on the ass, like that Radcliffe College girlfriend in the 50s. Posed with car is Stagnoli, the owner who enjoyed so much success with Ferrari Gran Turismo coupes in the 50s, before there was a GT class.”
Bandini Zagato 750 GT Veloce
Pete Vack, VeloceToday editor, author:
“It may be the most perfectly proportioned and beatiful small car in the world.”
Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ
Raffi Minasian, designer:
“Small cars are extremely difficult to design well. Add to that a very round, full surface theme combined with manufacturing limits to the day-light openings and you can imagine the challenges the SZ package presented Zagato. Yet the execution, proportions, and final form is simply perfection. There has never been a better closed bodied short wheelbase design than the Zagato bodied Alfa Romeo SZ.”
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Roberto Motta, Italian journalist, editor:
"No comments necessary!"
Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ
Geoffrey Goldberg, Lancia historian:
“Just to be contrary, one could choose the 1900 SSZ… but it is odd. Still, strangely beautiful too."
Lancia Appia Zagato "Double Bubble"
Jim Bandy, French car parts, drives a Lancia Fulvia Zagato:
“My choice after time of consideration, would be the Lancia Appia Zagato, Double Bubble. This seems to me Zagato’s true feeling; small, precise and with little or no grandiose appeal."
Maserati A6G2000 Zagato s/n 2160
Ivan Zaremba, restorer:
“My choice is the Maserati A6G2000 Zagato. Photo attached is number 2160, my old car now owned by Bruce Male.”
Zagato Mini Gatto
Jeroen Booij, Dutch journalist, Editor for Coachbuild.com, author of “Maximum Mini”:
“I’m tempted to say the electric Zele, although I have never seen one in the flesh. No, it has to be the 1961 Zagato Mini Gatto as that particular one-off combines my love for this extraordinary coachbuilder with that for the classic Mini. Before actually seeing the car I came across a lot of nonsense about it. Most wrote that it had been built with a fiberglass body which I just couldn’t believe. I asked Andrea Zagato once I met him. He wasn’t sure either, immediately phoning up his father and handing me over the phone. It was aluminium. Naturalmente signore.”
Fiat Otto Vu Zagato
Hugues Vanhoolandt, Belgian photographer:
“I cast my vote for the white Fiat 8V that appeared at Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este.”
Abarth 750 GT Zagato
Michael Sheehan, dealer, Ferrari expert, author:
“It put Zagato on the map and made the double bubble an affordable cult-car 50 years ago. They still are both affordable and a cult car today.”
Alfa Romeo TZ2
Ercole Spada, Zagato's former design chief:
"The TZ2 is my second favorite, simply as it was the first that came with the 'Coda Tronca' tail application that has been very successful in races."
Ed McDonough, author, “Tipo 33”, race driver, historian:
“While many people will go for some of the smoother Zagato designs, I opt for Zagato at his functional best. The Alfa Romeo TZ2. Zagato took an existing spartan GT car…the TZ1…and trimmed it down. It was lighter, lower and faster, totally functional, nothing unnecessary on the car. The best handling car of its size in the period.”
Jamie Doyle, Publisher Sports Car Digest:
“From the aggressive front end to the sharply raked windshield to the Kamm tail, the Alfa Romeo TZ2 is my perfect idea of a GT-based race car. Beautiful and purposeful, with nothing wasted and always on the mark.”
Nuvolari LeMans Alfa 8C 2300, chassis 2211109
David Seibert, author, Organizer of Shell Ferrari Historics, U.S.A:
“It is a unique and stylish car; I’ve had the opportunity to examine it in detail as it presently exists, and it is one car I would love to own.”
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS
Bill Noon, collector, dealer:
“From my own collection over the years, my favorite Zagato was without a doubt my 6C 1750 5th Series GS. I drove the car on the road several times each week and raced it anywhere I could get accepted, both in the States and Europe. The overall design was minimalistic to the extreme and even with just over 60 real bhp at the rear wheels, the light design and nimble handling where light years ahead of anything else… at least until the 8Cs came along!”
Larry Crane, author, editor, artist:
“I agree - Zagato’s 6C and early 8Cs are pure and classic.”
Alfa Romeo TZ1
Jan Steutel, Dutch restorer, dealer:
"Although it is not well-suited for a large man like me, this timeless beauty typifies the best of Zagato"
And now you! What is YOUR favorite Zagato of all times?
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