1955 Pegaso Z-102 Berlinetta Series II by Touring
Finding itself in an isolated position in post-war Europe, General Franco’s government sought to promote Spanish interests. Producing a world-beating sports car appeared to be one of the best methods of doing this. It also seemed like a recipe for disaster; a totalitarian dictator striving for national pride. However, using the former Hispano-Suiza factory at Barcelona and an extremely talented former Alfa Romeo engineering team led by Don Wifredo Ricart, the result was the Pegaso Z-102. It became one of the most extraordinary cars ever produced.
Ricart’s main coachbuilder of choice was Carrozzeria Touring of Milan with their Superleggera technique, which produced a relatively lightweight alloy-bodied car suitable for competition whilst presenting as one of the most luxurious cars of the immediate post-war period. The engineering underneath was also extremely advanced calling on ideas Ricart had developed from his time at Alfa Romeo in the 1930s as Chief Engineer for Special Projects. The Z-102 featured an innovative chassis using stress-bearing inner panels and a five-speed transaxle with the engine situated right against the bulkhead, which produced a car with 50/50 weight distribution. The suspension utilised the best ideas of the time with torsion bar double-wishbone suspension at the front with a De Dion rear axle. The greatest engineering marvel of the Z-102 was the all-alloy V-8 engine, arguably the most advanced road car engine ever produced at the time; it had 32 valves actuated through four gear-driven cams, all lubricated using a dry-sump system with the only two outsourced components being Weber carburettors and Bosch magneto.
This wonderful example, chassis number 67, is a rare Series II example benefitting from having the largest-displacement 3.2-litre engine. Delivered new with Superleggera coachwork by Touring (the same entirely original body that it carries today), this Z-102 was registered NA 11-095 with its first owner, a wealthy associate of Franco and the owner of Urra SAE in Pamplona. By the early 1960s, the Pegaso had passed to its second owner, Alejandro Espino of Palencia, a racing driver who raced it on the 1961 Rally RACE, the Spanish equivalent of the Mille Miglia, before using it again on the 1962 editions of Rally de San Antolin and Rally de la Toja. By the early 1990s, it was owned Dr F. Aguilera Novo of Pamplona who showed it at Barcelona’s Auto Retro in 1993.
Moving into the current ownership of Douglas Blain in 2007, chassis 67 has been restored and maintained with little regard to expense. The restoration was carried out by the Light Car Company, well-known for looking after important Ferraris, who completely rebuilt the drivetrain with particular attention paid to the complex steering linkage and transaxle. The full engine rebuild was entrusted to Formhalls who replaced the crankshaft and other internals and rebuilt all the ancillaries. The cosmetic aspects were tended to by the Light Car Company as well, who took particular care in preserving the beautiful patina of the original interior whilst restoring the exterior, making sure that this very original Pegaso has the authentic feel and appearance of a 64-year-old car with an appropriate bare-metal repaint in the original colour scheme.
The current (2019) owner, Douglas Blain, is better known as the co-founder and founding editor of Car Magazine during the period which brought journalists such as LJK Setright to the fore; he also founded the Spitalfields Trust credited with preserving this historic area of London, and is now publisher of The Automobile. His experience of driving many of the world’s great cars, coupled with his discerning taste, brought him to Pegaso ownership, and his eye for detail has only helped make this Pegaso Z-102, one of the best examples in existence. During his ownership, he has shown this Pegaso by invitation at both the Heveningham Concours and Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe as well as at the special exhibition Pegaso: The Forgotten Marque, at Autoworld, Brussels in 2018. This Pegaso would make an ideal concours entrant for the next owner and is eligible for the most prestigious racing events.
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