High bid of $700,000 at 2013 RM Auctions - Amelia Island. (did not sell)Sold for $990,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours. Cabriolet
Chassis #: 0102-153-0136
Engine #: 0102-017-0136
Were it not for companies like Hispano-Suiza, one would be rather hard-pressed to come up with another luxurious automaker from Spain. However, with the help of former Alfa Romeo designer Wilfredo Ricart, one Spanish automaker would actually rise to the top when it came to building the fastest road cars of the 1950s—Pegaso.
Ricart would become the head of Alfa Corse, the racing department of Alfa Romeo. Enzo Ferrari was already there and the two began what was rumored to be a rather contentious partnership. Ultimately, Ferrari would leave and Ricart would be all alone. This was something Ricart had become used to since having to flee his native Spain when civil war broke out in the 1930s.
Following World War II, there would be peace in Spain and this would allow Ricart to return. He would return to Spain with the notion of designing and building a Spanish sportscar that was as good, or better, than any other being produced at the time. This notion would be something in which the government of Spain would be interested.
Ricart had already joined ENASA, but the firm was hardly known for developing sporty coupes. In fact all Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA was really known for were developing and building buses and trucks. However, the government would be supportive of Ricart's idea and would enable him to set up shop in the old Hispano-Suiza factory to build his new line of sportscars named after the mythical Greek creature Pegasus, and so, Pegaso was born.
Throughout his time with Alfa Romeo, Ricart would produce a number of concept vehicles that would never go into production. One of the most famous design to never see realization, however, they would prove his prowess, especially when it came to engine design and utilization.
Ricart set to work creating his first design for the new company. Known as the Z102, Ricart would pour every bit of his knowledge into the car's chassis and design and the result would be rather staggering. With the gearbox and final drive mounted together the car was much more stable in its handling. The extremely short-wheelbase, suspension arrangement and the massive drum brakes would all go to create a chassis that had amazing potential. However, the coach designers at ENASA showed their limits as sportscar designers as the car's reception at the 1951 Paris Auto Salon would be less then enthusiastic.
All of the Pegaso Z102, every single component, would be race-inspired and built in-house, to have such an uninspiring body resting on top of the innovative chassis was certainly doing the mythical name harm instead of fostering pride.
To take care of the aesthetics of the Z102, Ricart would turn to the talented individuals as Carrozzeria Touring, Serra and Saoutchik to fashion much more fashionable bodies for the highly-capable chassis.
In addition to adding to the look of the car, these talented coachbuilders also worked hard to reduce weight. The reduction in weight combined with 2.8 and 3.2-liter variants of four-cam V-8 engine meant the new, intriguing designs would be capable of top speeds higher than the latest Ferraris.
Ricart desperately wanted to enter the Pegaso name among the ranks of the automotive elite. As a result, no expense would be spared. Ricart would succeed in combining luxury and performance. However, the costs involved in achieving the goal would be such that Pegaso would find itself in financial troubles within just a couple of years. This would lead to the Z-102 being discontinued after 1958. Unfortunately for Ricart, the return on investment would be deemed too little, and, by the 1960s the Pegaso name was being applied to new lines of buses and trucks. The name would carry on until being taken over by Iveco.
The 2013 RM Auctions event at Amelia Island would feature a Series II Z-102 boasting of a Saoutchik Cabriolet body. Chassis 3-0136 would be a very special Z-102 indeed. By 1958, just 84 units of the Z-102 would be produced. So, each and every one of the cars would certainly be special in their own right. However, Saoutchik would only build a total of 18 bodies for Pegaso. Of those 18, just a total of 8 would be Series II with their much more sedated lines and revised nose. But, 3-0136 would be even more distinguished.
Saoutchik may have produced a total of 8 Series II Z-102, however, just one would be a cabriolet. And this would be it. Actually, there would be a total of three cabriolets built by the coachmaker. One would be considered a prototype. The other two, however, would be Series I. Therefore, 3-0136 would be a remarkable piece of Pegaso history.
Pegaso and Saoutchik would realize this right away. In April of 1954 this car would be on display at the San Remo Concours d'Elegance in a blue finish and would be driven by Saoutchik's son, Pierre. This was the last convertible Saoutchik would build of the Z-102 and it would be quickly snatched up.
Amazingly, by 1958, its owner would grow tired of the cabriolet and would determine to have the car converted to a berlinetta. Changed from its original design, the car would remain in Spain for a majority of its life. Then, in the early-1990s, its owner at the time would determine to have the car restored to its original configuration. This was decided upon because of the car's special place in Pegaso history.
Finished in a gorgeous metallic blue, the Pegaso Series II Cabriolet would come to its current owner in 2004. This would be a love story 50 years in the making as the owner had wanted a Pegaso since seeing one for the first time all the way back in 1954.
Despite having been on display at the Petersen Museum, the car has been used by its owner quite regularly and has taken part in a number of concours events. A lovely testament to Ricart and Spain's place in supercar history, the Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet is a prize highly deserving of a place of prominence in any collection and in post-World War II automotive history.
Prior to auction, the 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet was drawing estimates ranging from between $1,250,000 and $1,750,000. Unfortunately, during the auction a high bid of just $700,000 would be received, and so, the car did not sell.Sources:
'Lot No. 176: 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Series Cabriolet by Saoutchik', (http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1057741). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1057741. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
'Pegaso Z102 B 3.2 Touring Berlinetta', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1234/Pegaso-Z102-B-3.2-Touring-Berlinetta.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1234/Pegaso-Z102-B-3.2-Touring-Berlinetta.html. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Pegaso', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 March 2013, 19:05 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pegaso&oldid=542873761 accessed 11 March 2013 By Jeremy McMullen