Pegaso Z-102: The Ferrari-Kicking, Hemi V8-Powered Spanish Sportscar of the ’50s

The Pegaso Z-102 was a Spanish sports car produced by Pegaso from 1951 to 1958. It was powered by a Hemi V8 engine and had a unique and advanced design that made it stand out from other sports cars of the time. The Z-102 was also known for its high performance and was able to compete with and beat many of the top sports cars of the era, including Ferrari.

A brief history of the Pegaso Z-102.


The Pegaso Z-102 was a high-performance sports car produced by the Spanish automaker Pegaso between 1951 and 1958. The car was designed and engineered by a team led by former Alfa Romeo engineer Wilfredo Ricart.

The Z-102 was powered by a powerful Hemi V8 engine that produced between 175 and 360 horsepower, depending on the model. The car was also notable for its advanced chassis design, which included a tubular frame and independent suspension.

Despite its impressive performance and innovative design, the Z-102 was never a commercial success, with only around 90 examples produced during its production run. However, the car is still highly regarded today for its engineering prowess and striking aesthetics.

The Styling of the Pegaso Z-102


The design of the Pegaso Z-102 was a collaboration between Pegaso’s in-house team and several prominent coachbuilders of the time, including Saoutchik, Touring, and Serra. The result was a strikingly beautiful car with a long, low hood, flowing lines, and a distinctive front grille. The car’s body was made of lightweight materials, including aluminum and magnesium, to help reduce weight and improve performance. The car also featured unique details, such as hidden headlights and an integrated radio antenna in the front fender.

Overall, the design of the Pegaso Z-102 was considered ahead of its time and is still admired today for its beauty and innovation.

The Powerplant of the Pegaso Z-102.


The Pegaso Z-102 was powered by an advanced Hemi V8 engine. The engine was originally designed by engineer Wilfredo Ricart, who had previously worked at Alfa Romeo and was also involved in the development of the Auto Union Grand Prix cars in the 1930s.

The Pegaso Z-102’s engine was available in several different versions, ranging from a 2.5-liter inline-eight to a 3.2-liter V8. The most powerful version was the 3.2-liter V8, which was capable of producing up to 360 horsepower. This made it one of the most powerful engines of its time and allowed the Pegaso Z-102 to achieve a top speed of over 150 mph.

The engine featured several innovative technologies for the time, such as a dual overhead camshaft layout, hemispherical combustion chambers, and dry sump lubrication. The engine was also made from lightweight materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, which helped to keep the overall weight of the car down.

The racing success of the Pegaso Z-102.

The Pegaso Z-102 was successful in racing, particularly in endurance racing. The car’s debut race was at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951, where two Z-102s entered by Pegaso finished 12th and 15th overall. In 1952, a Z-102 won the Sports Car Grand Prix of Cuba, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.

The following year, a Z-102 won the Tour de France Automobile, driven by Jean Behra and Gino Bronzoni. The car’s racing success helped to establish Pegaso as a serious competitor in the sports car market.

The legacy of the Pegaso Z-102

The Pegaso Z-102 remains a significant piece of Spanish automotive history, and its legacy can be seen in the modern supercars that are being produced today. The Z-102 was a technological masterpiece that was ahead of its time, and it showcased the talent and ingenuity of Spanish engineers and designers.

Despite its short production run, the Z-102’s impact on the automotive world was significant. It demonstrated that Spain was capable of producing world-class sports cars that could compete with the best from Italy, Germany, and the United States. The Z-102 also influenced other Spanish carmakers, such as SEAT and Bultaco, to create their own high-performance vehicles.

Today, the Pegaso Z-102 is a highly sought-after collector’s item, with examples selling for millions of dollars at auction. It remains a symbol of Spain’s automotive heritage and a testament to the ingenuity and passion of its designers and engineers.

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