The Pegaso Z-102, introduced at the 1951 Paris Salon, marked Spain’s first post-war car and captivated audiences. This vehicle, essentially a racing car adapted for road use, featured a groundbreaking 2.5-liter quad-cam V8 engine—the first of its kind in a production car, preceding Ferrari by 13 years. The advanced V8 boasted sodium-filled exhaust valves, forged aluminum pistons, and dry-sump lubrication, all characteristics of a competition engine.

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 evolved into more powerful 2.8 and 3.2-liter versions. The Z-102 featured a robust chassis/body of welded pressed-steel panels and advanced technical specifications, including double-wishbone independent front suspension, torsion bar springs, a five-speed transaxle ‘crash’ gearbox, De Dion rear axle, inboard rear drum brakes, and a telescopically adjustable steering column.

Manufactured by state-owned ENASA and designed by Barcelona-born engineer Wilfredo Ricart, the Pegaso reflected Ricart’s expertise from his work with Alfa Romeo. The Pegaso was lauded as a technical marvel by the French motoring journal L’Automobile and Britain’s Motor Sport.

The Z-102’s prototypes and pre-production cars were made entirely in-house, but Ricart sought the finest coachwork, commissioning designs from Saoutchik, Carrozzeria Touring, and Serra. Touring’s Superleggera-bodied coupés are among the most beautiful and expensive GTs of the period, attracting elite buyers like the Shah of Persia and General Trujillo. Pegaso also competed in 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.

Photos by Patrick Ernzen courtesy of RM Sotheby’s