1952 Pegaso Z-102 by ENASA: A Spanish Masterpiece

Introduction

The 1952 Pegaso Z-102, introduced at the 1951 Paris Salon, marked a significant milestone as Spain’s first post-war car in automotive history. This remarkable vehicle captivated audiences with its stunning design and advanced engineering, setting a new standard for performance and innovation.

A Racing Car for the Road

The Pegaso Z-102 was a racing car adapted for road use. At the heart of this beast was a groundbreaking 2.5-liter quad-cam V8 engine—the first of its kind in a production car, beating Ferrari to the punch by 13 years. This advanced V8 engine featured sodium-filled exhaust valves, forged aluminum pistons, and dry-sump lubrication, all hallmarks of a competition engine.

Engine Specifications

Designed possibly with the new 2.5-liter Formula 1 Grand Prix regulations in mind, the Pegaso V8 had an over-square bore/stroke ratio of 75x70mm, producing 165bhp at 6,500rpm. The initial 2.5-liter engine soon evolved into more powerful 2.8 and 3.2-liter versions, showcasing the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance.

Advanced Technical Features

The Z-102 was built on a robust chassis/body of welded pressed steel panels and boasted advanced technical specifications. These included double-wishbone independent front suspension, torsion bar springs, a five-speed transaxle ‘crash’ gearbox, a De Dion rear axle, inboard rear drum brakes, and a telescopically adjustable steering column. These innovations made the Z-102 a marvel of engineering.

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The Influence of Wilfredo Ricart

Manufactured by state-owned ENASA and designed by the brilliant Barcelona-born engineer Wilfredo Ricart, the Pegaso Z-102 reflected Ricart’s expertise from his time at Alfa Romeo. His influence was evident in every detail, earning the Pegaso accolades from prestigious motoring journals like France’s L’Automobile and Britain’s Motor Sport.

Exquisite Coachwork

While the prototypes and pre-production cars were entirely in-house, Ricart sought the finest coachwork for the Pegaso Z-102. He commissioned designs from renowned coachbuilders such as Saoutchik, Carrozzeria Touring, and Serra. Touring’s Superleggera-bodied coupés, in particular, stood out as some of the most beautiful and expensive GTs of the period.

Notable Owners

The Pegaso Z-102 attracted elite buyers, including the Shah of Persia and General Trujillo, who were drawn to its exquisite design and unparalleled performance.

Racing Legacy

The Pegaso Z-102 wasn’t just a showpiece; it also proved its mettle on the racetrack. Pegaso competed in prestigious racing events like the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours and the 1954 Carrera Panamericana. In 1953, a supercharged Pegaso set a new production car speed record of 241.602 km/h (150 mph) in Jabbeke, Belgium, further cementing its legacy as a performance icon.

Conclusion

The 1952 Pegaso Z-102 by ENASA remains a testament to Spanish engineering prowess and automotive excellence. With its innovative design, advanced technical features, and illustrious racing pedigree, the Z-102 continues to captivate classic car enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. Its story reminds vividly of an era when bold ideas and exceptional craftsmanship came together to create something extraordinary.

Photos by Patrick Ernzen courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Our mission is to take you on a thrilling ride down memory lane, exploring the history, design, and unforgettable moments that define the golden era of automobiles.

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