Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Saoutchik
First Owner, Spain (acquired circa 1955)Charles Swimmer, San Diego, California (acquired in 2004)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
San Remo Concours d’Elegance, San Remo, Italy, 1954Paris Motor Show, Paris, France, 1954Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California, June 2011
That Spanish truck manufacturer Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones S.A. (ENASA) should have built one of the most exotic sports grand touring cars of the early 1950s seems rather improbable. However, it becomes somewhat more understandable upon learning that the company’s chief technical manager, Wilfredo Ricart, formerly served as chief engineer, Special Projects, for Alfa Romeo from 1936 to 1944. Ricart was often criticized for the complexity of the vehicles he designed but, in this case, complexity was his aim. Ricart hoped to showcase the skills of the company and establish credibility for their heavy truck products. Furthermore, the Pegaso Z-102 would demonstrate that Spain could produce a high-performance car with advanced features to match or surpass other manufacturers, especially Ferrari.
It was clear that this was no ordinary car of the time. The Pegaso Z-102 was wrapped in hand-built coachwork from leading Italian and French firms, including Carrozzeria Touring and Saoutchik, as well as in-house designs by ENASA. Originally launched in 1951 with a coupe and a cabriolet carrying ENASA coachwork, Touring of Milan then created the “production” body of the Z-102 by refining the design and reducing the weight of the launch cars.
The unique 2.5-liter, four-cam, alloy V-8 engine was developed into 2.8- and 3.2-liter versions during the production life of the Z-102, with the most potent being a supercharged 3.2-liter unit producing a prodigious 360 hp. Top speeds ranging from 120 mph to 160 mph were possible depending on the engine, allowing the Pegaso Z-102 to handily outperform almost any other road-going GT car of the early to mid-1950s.
Extremely expensive to produce, the Z-102 was followed briefly by the Z-103 in 1955. From 1951 to 1958, fewer than 90 of the Z-102 and the Z-103 were built, making them extremely rare and exclusive.
This car, chassis 0136, is a very dramatic Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet bodied by Saoutchik of Paris. 0136 was originally thought to be the only Series II cabriolet built; however, in the preparation of the newly released history of Saoutchik by historians Peter M. Larsen and Ben Erikson, it is suggested that 0136 is actually one of the Series III cars due to various details of the body shape and trim. In either case, it would be the sole cabriolet of the series.
The original owner of chassis 0136 reportedly felt the open car was a bit too flexible for the type of driving he enjoyed on the roads of 1950s Spain. He therefore had his Pegaso made into a coupe in 1958.
The bodywork remained in this style until the early 1990s, when it was returned to its original cabriolet form. This restoration remained in very good condition at the time it was sold to a collector in the US in 2004.
The Pegaso appeared on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles as part of the 2011 “Supercars” exhibition and was purchased by the consignor in 2013. The consignor then commissioned a thorough restoration to meet his particularly high standards.
The exacting work was carried out by noted Automotive Restorations, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut, and overseen by Kent Bain and Charlie Webb with historian Peter Larsen providing consultation. Layers of paint were stripped from the body and chassis 0136 was returned to the original shade of ice blue it wore when it first emerged from the Saoutchik atelier in Paris to grace the San Remo Concours d’Elegance and Paris Motor Show in 1954. Standing ready to grace the collection of a new owner, this Pegaso Z-102 will surely be valued for both its stunning presentation and rarity alike.