Zagato’s Extreme Mostro Was Born at the Track
Photography by Federico Bajetti
Pulling the covers off of a brand new car is the most traditional way to present one—maybe with women standing next to the car. But can you do better than just eye candy? Absolutely, yes.
To present the first “Mostro” (aka Monster), Carrozzeria Zagato didn’t use any fabric or women. It choose the newly-restored internal test track of Alfa Romeo in Arese, gathered 30 cars from the past and present, and introduced the new car by letting it roar from the circuit past the waiting crowd.
It wasn’t presented to the general public, however: it was being delivered to its new owner!
Before its public debut in Villa d’Este, the Mostro Zagato was presented a few days beforehand in an exclusive event where Zagato organized a group of its great cars: where else do you see a two TZs, a TZ2, the TZ3 Corsa, and other road-going racers lined up in a row?
Plus: the only Aston Martin Centennial Shooting Brake, an O.M. Superba, an Alfa 6C 1750 SS, 2300, JZ, two SZs, one OSCA 1600, three 1900 SSZ, a Fiat 8V, and a Lancia Appia Zagato…our jaws dropped and stayed there for quite a while!
We were told that it was just a friends’ meeting via official Zagato invitation to Arese. During the event, all cars lapped the track in separate 15 minute sessions for each class: first were the pre war cars, then the post war ones, and lastly, the contemporary ones.
First, we were offered a ride in a wonderful blue Giulia TZ, a rare model with a blue paint job and a Conrero-tuned engine. The owner revved it to 8,000 rpm and the sound it made was mind-blowing. The car was light, stable, and by the end of the main straight was doing almost 100 mph. We were told that it used to be an official car for the Alfa Romeo team in France (hence the blue color), and that it has been in the hands of the same owner for many years.
After the first three track sessions, it was time for the moment were waiting for: the Mostro.
All of the guests and participants gathered close to Andrea Zagato, who after a brief speech turned our attention to the Mostro, roaring from the track. It was a scenic view, and the sight of an all-new race car was quite spectacular as it seemed to appear from nowhere.
This particular model was inspired by the classic Costin-Zagato Maserati 450S “Mostro”, an aggressive-looking berlinetta that was built for Stirling Moss to compete in the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans. Based on the chassis #6 (4506) of the nine 450S built, the original Mostro used to be a 1956 car, redesigned and built in just two weeks.
It was a conversion from the traditional barchetta body to a streamlined berlinetta, in order to have superior aerodynamics. Despite the incredible effort, the car never scored a victory, and it was sold in 1958 to an American customer. It was later repainted in black (apparently the original color was red) and converted to road use. After spending several years in a museum, it was sold and it is now in private hands.
To celebrate this unique car, Zagato wanted to make a limited series inspired by the original design, but produced in 5 copies.
While the original was moved by a 4.5 liter V8, the new one has a 4.2-litre V8 engine. The reason for this is because it is the only forced lubrication engine Maserati is currently producing. The new Mostro is made completely in carbon fiber. The chassis is a composite central tub made by Gillet Automotive of Belgium, and it has two additional steel structures in the front and back to support the engine, suspension and gas tank.
Total weight is under 2000 lbs and the engine is good for about 450 horsepower. This is not bad in my opinion. What’s cool is that this car is built for the street—and has a full exhaust bypass. This means you can have it “race car loud” when you want it and quiet-ish when cruising.
Its simple design may not please everyone, but I think the car is quite interesting. It’s a modern reinterpretation of a classic, and the only thing left to do is wish Zagato that would build a few more than just 5 of these cars: reportedly, they’re all sold.