Featured: GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1955 Pegaso Z-102 Film Shoot

GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1955 Pegaso Z-102 Film Shoot

By Petrolicious Productions
August 7, 2018

In a time well before the word supercar entered our vocabulary, the fastest one in the world was built in an economically compromised Spain by a state-owned manufacturing company whose primary focus was on trucks, buses, and other industrial vehicles. In other words, the Pegaso Z-102 was born of strange circumstance, and since it was a wildly expensive endeavor for a country recovering from civil war, not many were built in period, and they remain obscure today with only a few dozen surviving from the original production run.

A dry-sump V8 with four cams powers the alloy coachwork (a number of bodies were available from Italian and Spanish coachbuilders like Touring and Serra), and though it saw no success on the racing circuit, the Z-102 was among the most advanced and high-performing GTs of its day.

Rafael Pueche’s 1955 example still sees exercise on the mountain roads outside of Madrid, and given the rarity of his car even a trip to the end of the driveway and back would constitute more use than most would dare allow.

This lucky one that still gets to spin its odometer was originally delivered to one of Pegaso’s factory racing drivers who had done a stint in a similar one at Le Mans, and following a change of ownership after he moved on, it had its roof lopped off. There’s more to the story than the surface though: for starters the driver was a one Juan Jover, and his stint at Le Mans can be summarized by the high-speed accident sustained in practice that resulted in a majorly tweaked leg for Jover and prompted the team to pull the car from the race. And this car, Jover’s street car, had its Touring berlinetta body transformed into a spider by the coachbuilders in Barcelona at Serra.

Rafael’s car has a unique history, but by their nature so does every Z-102. The story behind the Spanish sports car is an excellent example of one of life’s intersections wherein something special is born against the odds (and perhaps against the financial interests of company stakeholders).

In this case, Spain is a country emerging from a civil war in a world emerging from a world one, and she decides to spark up some industry under the oversight of the state. Things aren’t quite that simplified in real life, but generally speaking Pegaso was a state-owned brand underneath the umbrella of Enasa that was chiefly concerned with the production of vehicles meant to carry dozens of people or else many kilograms of things they needed—in other words, a two-seater sports car that cost multiples of a comparable Jag or Ferrari was not expected to be conceived here.

However, when Enasa and subsequently Pegaso were being built up from the purchased leftovers of the defunct Hispano-Suiza brand, the man chosen to lead this effort and its requisite engineering was not going to be satisfied playing around with just city buses and truck cabs to entertain himself. Not coming off of a job at Alfa Romeo as their head engineer in the Special Projects division that saw Wifredo Ricart working on grand prix cars and airplane engines anyway.

At Alfa he had proposed and abandoned several supercharger projects that were either too complex or too costly to undertake (including the Alfa Romeo Tipo 512 which was built to take on the Silver Arrows), but with Pegaso he managed to create the world’s fastest production car thanks in large part to the supercharger that could be fitted to its 3.2L V8 as an option (with supercharger, the Z-102 could reportedly hit a top speed of 151mph).

The Pegaso Z-102, like most of Ricart’s best work, was an advanced vehicle for its time not only for its powertrain’s obvious capabilities, but for its alloy body, its transaxle gearbox, its novel application of the De Dion rear suspension architecture and its fully independent system up front. Eclipsed in its era by cars like the Gullwing when it comes to widespread popularity, we think anything that was once the world’s fastest something deserves some recognition, and especially when it looks like this.

Drive Tastefully®

Join the Conversation
5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jose Oriol Vilanova
Jose Oriol Vilanova
9 months ago

Coma-Cros was racing with this car at the 1960 Sant Feliu de Codines Hillclimb. You can get a copy of the book in our website:


5 years ago

Pegaso history is quite well-known nowadays by enthusiasts and connoisseurs of road thoroughbreds . So pls let me add just a couple of small corrections to your otherwise informative text.:
B-88960 shown here (one of few Z-102’s actually registerd in Barcelona ), was a 2.,8- litre 1st series Berlinetta Touring, born in 1953. The Milanese coachbuilder penned and did most of the Pegaso production bodies, along with flamboyant Bielo-russian-born Zswtchik ,(Saoutchik ), established in Neully (France). The Pegaso works designed and made a short number of cute one-off’s, and local Serra bodied and rebodied some few roadsters .

Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
5 years ago

Pegaso . A mark few know though most should with nary a dog in the bunch to be found regardless of who’s body resides upon the mechanicals

One correction to the article though ; Spain was not recovering from their civil war in the 50’s . They were suffering the dire consequences of a civil war that placed fascist demi-god dictator Franco in charge ( that the west including the US stood behind and supported ) A dictator who did his damnedest to destroy everything Spain was capable of including companies like Pegaso and only served to extend the civil war he created right up until his death albeit by the fifties a covert civil war .

And in reality Spain is STILL trying to recover from what was an extremely divisive and destructive civil war who’s effects are still being felt and dealt with to this very day

A little history lesson we could all learn from before allowing demi-god egomaniacal leaders such as Franco to take control of our respective countries

To end on the positive note ; yet another stunning Pegaso makes an appearance

FYI ; In addendum though fully supported by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany ( Italian pilots in German planes bombed and strafed the opposition into submission making Franco’s take over that much easier ) Spain played no part in WWII hypothetically remaining ‘ neutral ‘ all while in reality providing covert aid and landing bases to the German forces fighting in N. Africa

Petrolicious Newsletter