Introduced at the 1951 Paris Salon, the Pegaso Z-102 stole the show. Spain's first new car of the post-war era, the Pegaso (Pegasus) was essentially a racing car design adapted for road use. The heart of this exotic Gran Turismo was a 2.5-litre quad-cam V8 engine, the first such power unit to feature in a production car. (Ferrari would not offer a quad-cam engine in one of its road cars for another 13 years).
A state-of-the-art design, Pegaso's light-alloy V8 incorporated sodium-filled exhaust valves (for better cooling) forged aluminium pistons and dry-sump lubrication, all hallmarks of an engine conceived for competition use.
Perhaps designed with the new 2.5-litre Formula 1 Grand Prix regulations in mind, the Pegaso V8 boasted over-square bore/stroke dimensions of 75x70mm for a capacity of 2,475cc and produced its maximum of 165bhp at 6,500rpm.
The prototypes' 2.5-litre unit soon made way for a more powerful 80mm-bore, 2.8-litre version and finally an 85mm-bore unit of 3.2 litres, the largest capacity Z-102 engine. Welded pressed-steel panels were used for the Z-102's robust chassis/body, while other technical highlights included double-wishbone independent front suspension, torsion bar springing all round, a five-speed transaxle 'crash' gearbox, De Dion rear axle, inboard rear drum brakes, and a telescopically adjustable steering column.
Manufactured by the state-owned ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA), hitherto a maker of diesel-engined commercial vehicles, the Pegaso was the work of the Barcelona-born engineer, Wilfredo Ricart, who had been charged with the post-war re-organisation of Spain's motor manufacturing industry.
Ricart had already been responsible for the Ricart-Pérez and Ricart-España cars of the 1920s, while his automotive engineering background also included a spell with Alfa Romeo, for whom he designed the fabulous mid-engined Tipo 512 Grand Prix car of 1940. Given Ricart's recent experience it is perhaps not surprising that the Pegaso boasted a specification so far in advance of its contemporaries. The French motoring journal L'Automobile described the Pegaso as 'le joyau le plus pur de la mécanique automobile' (the purest jewel of automobile technology) while in Britain, Motor Sport hailed it as a 'new Spanish production that threatens sports car field leaders'.
The Z-102 prototypes and pre-production cars were designed and built entirely in house, including the coachwork, but Ricart wanted the finest bodies for his cars and commissioned designs from Saoutchik in Paris, Carrozzeria Touring in Milan and Serra in Barcelona. Touring's Superleggera-bodied coupés remain the most elegant and stylish of all Pegaso production and arguably are among the most beautiful GTs of the period. They were also the most expensive, selling in limited numbers to only the wealthiest gentleman drivers. Heads of State including the Shah of Persia, President Craveiro Lopes of Portugal and General Trujillo of the Dominican Republic were all Pegaso owners. Extravagant options were available, such as the leopard skin seats and gilded controls ordered by Baron von Thyssen.
However, Pegasos were not merely the playthings of the fabulously wealthy; two Touring-bodied spyders were entered in the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours and a similar car in the 1954 Carrera PanAmericana. In 1953, a supercharged Pegaso set a new production car speed record at Jabbeke in Belgium, where works driver Celso Fernández achieved a speed of 241.602km/h (150mph) over the flying mile, beating the existing record held by a Jaguar XK120.
The car offered here was first owned by Antonio Hesse López, who kept it until 1984. Restored that same year, the Pegaso was next owned (from November 1984) by Enrique Coma Cros, one of the most important Pegaso collectors and historians. He is the co-author (with Carlos Mosquera) of two books on the marque: Ricart Pegaso – La Pasion del Automovil and Los Automòviles Pegaso y sus Protagonistas. This car is mentioned in both books.
The last owner purchased the Pegaso from Enrique Coma Cros in March 2019 and is thus only its third owner. Accompanying documentation consists of the first registration document, original Pegaso documents, ownership history, sundry invoices, Spanish Permiso de Circulación.
Typically, these Pegasos cope well with modern traffic at legal speeds and would be excellent competitors in the most prestigious classic revivals where they have been much admired on recent outings.
Recently all the chromework on this classic has been renewed.
This car is in excellent condition and ready to be driven by a new owner.
Châssis n° 0102-153-0171
For more info, history and pictures, visit our official website: www.classic-car-service.be/autos/1952-pegaso-z-102-2-8-litre-cabriolet/