1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet by Saoutchik
While numerous challengers have attempted to beat Ferrari at its own game – producing some of the most striking, most technologically advanced, and best performing cars in the world – we can think of only one from a Spanish truck builder, and what has to be the most flamboyant of those cars, a 1954 Pegaso Z-102 bodied by Saoutchik.
Founded in 1946 by ENASA, a state-owned manufacturing company that bought the assets of Hispano-Suiza, Pegaso employed the highly regarded engineer Wilfredo Ricart, who before World War II served as Alfa Romeo’s chief engineer for special projects and reportedly was responsible for Enzo Ferrari’s dismissal from that same company. At Pegaso – which was chiefly concerned with building trucks and buses to help the country rebuild after its civil war and World War II – Ricart set about designing the Z-102, a road car more advanced than any other on the planet. Its 2,473cc V-8 not only used dual overhead camshafts and all-alloy construction, but also dry-sump lubrication and desmodromic valve actuation. Its 92-inch-wheelbase chassis employed a five-speed limited-slip transaxle, along with De Dion rear suspension and torsion bar front suspension, along with rack-and-pinion steering. With a top speed of 155 to 160 MPH, the Z-102 was reportedly the fastest production car in the world when it entered production in 1951.
Like Ferrari, Pegaso decided to build just the chassis and drivetrain and farm the bodies out to coachbuilders. According to RM’s auction description for this 1954 Pegaso Z-102, chassis number 0102-153-0136, of the 84 total Z-102s built, French coachbuilder Saoutchik built 18, in two different series; of the eight second-series Saoutchik Z-102s, this is the only convertible (Saoutchik did build three other Z-102 convertibles – a prototype and two first-series cars).
Finished in April of 1954 as a convertible with the later 165hp 2,814cc version of the 32-valve V-8, its first owner decided to convert it into a berlinetta four years later, and it remained that way until the early 1990s, when it was returned to its original configuration.
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