GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our Porsche 356 Carrera Speedster Zagato Film Shoot
Zagato is turning 100 years old this Friday, and over the course of the past century the Milanese coachbuilder has been quite prolific—Andrea Zagato, current CEO and the third generation of the family to run the eponymous company, estimates the number of unique Zagato creations at 440. That’s a staggeringly large amount of highly bespoke works, with many of these designs being one-offs, created for customers, auto shows, racing teams, and the like.
As one might imagine, many of these cars end up lost to history as they are stored and forgotten, crashed, or morphed into something else. It would be nigh on impossible to recreate everything, but Zagato has chosen to retrace and reproduce a few of its early designs under a program it calls Sanction Lost. Petrolicious founder and CEO Afshin Behnia recently became an owner of one of these limited-run cars: the Porsche 356 Carrera Speedster Zagato featured in today’s film.
Back in 1958, the Italian coachbuilder was commissioned to construct a new lightweight body for a Porsche 356A Speedster to be campaigned by a Frenchman named Claude Storez. It was not an officially Porsche-sanctioned machine, but rather a one-off project for a Porsche racing driver, and sadly neither him nor his car stuck around much longer; in 1959 Claude Storez passed away in an accident sustained in the Porsche at the 1959 Rallye International des Routes du Nord, in France. The car was destroyed, and all but forgotten.
In 2015 however, Andrea Zagato, representing the third generation of the family to run the eponymous design house, decided to resurrect the lost car in a sense. Along with nine examples of the coupe version (which looks very much like the GTL Abarth 356 coupes bodied by Zagato in the early 1960s, but actually traces its origins back a bit further), Zagato completed a limited production run of nine Speedster variants in 2016—all hand built aluminum panels, but with contemporary shut lines. The Zagato bodywork is as captivating as it would have been in its original fin-tailed guise back in 1958, and while keen eyes will spot the elements that identify the underpinnings as 356 the overall look is a much more streamlined, aquatic, form than the one drawn up for Porsche’s first production car.
Afshin keeps his example in Italy, to be driven and thoroughly enjoyed during his yearly visits to Milan. Having found many an excuse over the years to take a drive down to the Zagato headquarters to spend time with Paolo and Andrea, it was only a matter of time before he came home with something more tangible than another good story.