Late last week the amazing looking BMW Zagato Coupé
was launched. We were pounding Pedialyte all weekend trying to recover from the drool induced dehydration it caused. But the BMW
Zagato is only the latest in a long line of tantalizing one-off concepts
and limited production cars that Zagato
has designed since 1919. Here are a handful of our favorite handcrafted automotive sculptures by Zagato.
1970 Cadillac NART Zagato
Something about the late 60’s and 70’s made everything Italian-American cool. The Cadillac NART Zagato
was just another fine marriage between Italian styling and American engineering. The project was originally conceived by Ferrari’s
U.S. distributor Luigi Chinetti Jr., and was intended to combine serious performance with elegant style.
Looking like a cross between a classic Chris-Craft Barrel Back and a Renault Alpine A310
, the NART Zagato is arguably one of the sharpest looking Cadillacs ever. When it debuted in 1971 at the Turin Auto Show it was intended to cater to wealthy individuals who wouldn’t be seen in a normal Cadillac
. Underneath it was essentially a Cadillac Eldorado
with the Zagato body mounted backwards. The massive 500 cubic inch motor was in the rear and sent 400hp to the back tires instead of the front. Though an interesting idea the NART Zagato never made it into production, this concept is all that remains of Chinetti’s dream. It sold at RM Auctions in 2006 for $57,000, which is pretty cheap for such a crazy concept car.
1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
was a big player in sports car
racing during the 1950’s thanks in large part to the Bentley
engines. The most successful of which was the DB4
. However, in late 1960 Aston Martin unveiled a modified version of the DB4 GT called the DB4 GT Zagato
. It featured a shortened wheelbase, a lighter more aerodynamic body, and a more powerful version of the DB4’s already potent 3.7 liter straight-six. It went on to win several races in FIA GT including a win at the 1961 British Grand Prix. Unfortunately the DB4 Zagato was short lived and only 19 were ever built. These ultra-rare cars have a lot of history and are highly sought after. One sold for $1.9 million this past March.
1965 Lamborghini 3500 GTZ Zagato
The Lamborghini 350 GT
is one of our favorite Lamborghinis, and it’s still a fantastic looking car even though it’s going on 50 years. Zagato design took the Lamborghini
styling up one level with the 3500 GTZ
. It features styling cues from that other gorgeous Italian car, the Ferrari 250 GTO
, and shares many stylistic features with the Alfa Romeo TZ2
. Under the hood is an early four liter model of the 350 GT V-12, and the same suspension and drive-train that made the 350 GT such a great grand-touring car. We like the 3500 GTZ because it looks like nothing else, combining features from our favorite cars over the chassis of one the most under appreciated Lamborghinis ever.
2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato
It seemed that Zagato had lost its way as of late and was incapable of making anything but bulbous, awkward looking Ferraris and Astons. Thankfully that ended when they released this amazing looking Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Built to commemorate the 50 year partnership between the two firms, it could be one the best looking birthday presents ever. The V12 Zagato seems to have taken everything we loved about the Vantage, and everything we loved about Zagato’s classic designs and fused them into this masterpiece. Just look at it, the double bubble roof, the Zs in the grill and the sharp creases make this car so very hot. It’s fast too, Aston Martin entered a pair of Zagatos in the 24 Hours Nürburgring and they did pretty well. And like everything else Zagato, it’s rare, only 150 will find their way into the collections of some very lucky owners.
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 Zagato
The TZ2 is as rarefied as it is beautiful, only 12 of these were ever made. Designed for competition in the FIA GT series, the TZ Zagato series cars remain some of the best looking offerings from both Alfa Romeo and Zagato. The TZ2 followed the success of the Giulia TZ, but was put through a rigorous development program for continued competition. The end result was more aggressive aerodynamic styling and a fiberglass body that weighed less than 1,400 lbs. The similarity to the Ferrari 250 GTO is no mistake; the engineering firm who developed the car (Autodelta) was run by ex-Ferrari engineer Carlo Chiti. Power came from the same 1,570 cc motor found in road going Alfas like the Spider Veloce, but tuned to produce 170hp in race-trim. The combination of light weight and low center of gravity led the TZ2 to several decisive victories for Alfa during the 1966 FIA GT season. This car checks all the right boxes for us, it’s low, it’s red and has raucous side exit exhausts. It’s the definition of automotive sculpture, now if we could only figure out how to get behind the wheel of one…
What are your favorite Zagato
cars? Let us know in the comments below