Rare Rides: A 1951 Pegaso Z-102 GT Berlinetta, Prototype Luxury Coupe

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1951 pegaso z 102 gt berlinetta prototype luxury coupe

Today’s Rare Ride hails from a Spanish company that made some very fast sports coupes for a very short while. Let’s find out some more about Pegaso.

Pegaso was founded in 1946 in Barcelona, Spain. Its parent company was Enasa, a firm founded that same year after it purchased the assets of the Spanish portion of Hispano-Suiza.

Enasa was lead by engineer Wifredo Ricart. After WWII Ricart fled from Italy to Spain and wanted to leave Europe entirely. He secured a job in the US with Studebaker, but before he could depart the government approached him to head up Enasa. He found that offer more appealing than a job at Studebaker. Ricart directed his company with an eye toward engineering and innovation, which was great for sports cars and nice buses, but not so great for the accountants.

Enasa was a state-owned firm and was mainly concerned with heavy-duty trucks and buses. Thus Enasa directed Pegaso to build said trucks and buses, along with armored vehicles, and tractors. For a short while, the company also built sports cars.

And the sports cars in question were mostly the Z-102, as it was the only passenger car Pegaso ever produced in any quantity. Between 1951 and 1958, the old Hispano-Suiza factory in Spain churned out sports cars at a very slow rate. Available in coupe and convertible varieties, the basic design was penned by Ricart. Additional bodies were available from Carrozzeria Touring, Saoutchik, Serra, as well as other designs from Enasa.

Ricart spared no expense in the development of his sports car and used the expertise he’d developed at Alfa Romeo where he designed the Tipo 512. The pressed steel chassis was paired with an aluminum body for lightness, though the cars still proved too heavy for racing. With the exception of the bodies, the Z-102 was built entirely in-house. The all-new engine design was a quad-cam alloy V8 with a dry sump. Initially, the mill was 2.5 liters in displacement (175hp) but was later upgraded to a 2.8 and then a 3.2. The 3.2 was a dual overhead cam design and had 32 valves for a whopping 360 horsepower with the optional supercharger. Top speed in the base version was 120 miles per hour, but that increased with the supercharged engine to 151. The top speed made it the fastest production car on sale anywhere in the world at the time. All transmissions were five-speed manuals, with the gearbox located at the rear.

The powerful, expensive, and luxurious Z-102 was unfortunately not a sales success, even with its performance prowess. In a last-ditch attempt to make some money, the successor Z-103 was introduced in 1955. Z-103 used simpler OHV engines and was lighter and less expensive to produce. Crucially, it used cheaper bodies made of a mix of steel and aluminum. Only three were made by 1958 when Pegaso was forced to shift its focus back to commercial vehicles and close down its passenger car operation. Pegaso continued its production of commercial vehicles through 1990, at which point Iveco purchased Enasa. The Pegaso brand was killed off in 1994.

Today’s light green Rare Ride is one of the first four prototypes produced by Pegaso, with some styling cues that didn’t make it into the production version. It’s priced on request in Belgium.

[Images: Pegaso]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 11, 2021

    That's an exceptional find. I doubt RockAuto supports that make. I like their flush door handles a lot more than those available today. And a small-displacement V-8... yum. Yet another story about how hard it is to succeed in the car business.

  • THX1136 THX1136 on Mar 12, 2021

    Pegaso, what large wheel wells you have! All the better to create excess drag, my dear. (or not) This aspect - wheels set so far into the wells - is so foreign to the way cars look today. The first photo which highlights this just makes the car look so wacky to my eye.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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