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Simply, Pegaso Z-103 - Part 1

After two years of articles in "La Escuderia", finally it is time to test a Pegaso. In addition, it is not a normal unit, if one can be described as such, but we are before the swan song of the winged horse brand, before the only theoretically finished Z-103. This rarity will be displayed on a server so that you can see and hear it.

Wifredo Ricart returned to Spain in 1945 from Alfa Romeo. His return is due to the promises of technical and above all economic means by Suances to create the "CETA" (Center for Automotive Technical Studies, 1946), the engine of future national industrial development. This allows him to surround himself with many of his former colleagues from the Milanese brand, who come to take charge of rebuilding the very dilapidated Spanish car industry.

During 1946 ENASA was also created, at the head of which the Spanish engineer is appointed as CEO, who will remain in this position until 1958. Ricart will end his professional days at the head of Lockheed France, a company dedicated to braking systems in which he He will build an ultramodern factory near Paris, specifically in Beauvais.

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pegasus z-103
Everyone knows and appreciates Ricart's sports Pegasos, even despite their reliability.

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[su_quote]Our protagonist wandered from one side to the other of the group's factories and facilities; nobody knew very well where to park him, not even what to do with "that" ...[/ su_quote]

But if there is something for which the classic fan recognizes W. Ricart, it is for having been in charge of the “Z” sports car project from the early 50s to 1957, the year in which it was officially canceled.

In total, some 86 cars of the Z-102 and Z-103 models - of the latter only two spiders and two berlinetas - leave the factory. Currently, of the 86 cars manufactured survive in running order between 45-50; another dozen more, perhaps a fortnight, are in different stages of restoration or recovery, while between 17 and 20 specimens have been scrapped.

Of all of them there is only one finished model Z-103; I mean, with the Z-104 engine mounted. It is the unit thanks to which you, Mr. Reader, are going to enrich yourself next. People outside the Pegaso and the most modern IVECO factories know little or nothing about the different events that have allowed their conservation to this day ...

pegaso car z102
He was also young: Here we see him in the late 50s, before leaving for Paris

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The Movida Madrileña, or the turns that life takes

At the end of the eighties, when I was still wearing shorts, my father decided that the best way to reward his children's success in studies was none other than to allow them to earn a living during the summer in the family business, learning from I pass a trade from the base. To this end, he completely detached himself from us and placed us as pawns or assistants to one of his officers, who, far from treating us as the "son of the chief," encouraged us as one more.

Among other factories, my first summer jobs were carried out in the “Pegaso” factory in Madrid located at 402 Aragón avenue. I knew the place perfectly since many had been the previous occasions in which I had accompanied my father, only 8 or 10 years, to deliver materials. At the beginning of the 90s, I already had between 4 and 6 summers of experience, and I was beginning to see the world from a different perspective ...

From these dates I treasure the first memories of the "Pegasin", to see him always standing in different parts of the factory or in the central offices near Madrid's Plaza Castilla, on some occasion accompanied by another brother of his. Also at that time I discovered, again from the hand of my father, that Hispano Suiza had made more things besides cars; one day he managed to rescue from the scrap "intremis" an aviation engine that is currently on display in the IVECO museum.

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pegasus z-103
Pegaso was finally sold to the Italians… (Photo: J. Sáinz de la Maza)
pegasus z-103
Although with a glorious past behind him (Photo: J. Sáinz de la Maza)

They were convulsive and delicate moments. ENASA, Pegaso, was on the verge of an imminent privatization that would finally take place in 1990 when the Italian company IVECO initially bought 60% of the shares of the hitherto Spanish state body.

Factories needed to compete internationally and produce a modern and profitable product. The situation was not easy for the new Italian owners: Lots of staff, little automation and a comprehensive production system for countless components. Just think that ENASA manufactured practically all the Troner parts.

Meanwhile, our protagonist wandered from one side to the other of the group's factories and facilities; no one knew very well where to park him, not even what exactly to do with "it", which was actually an unequivocal link with an autarkic and dictatorial past.

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Godparents of exception

Be that as it may, the Z-103 always enjoyed some godfather or protective angel. Little by little he was saved, although many times the reasons were not the most sincere ... The fact is that he has survived until today. At first it was Ricart himself who kept it, and the fact is that the Spanish engineer never completely abandoned Pegaso, as can be read in Mr. Barlow's chronicle about the visit he made in 1968 to the Madrid factory and in which describes how part of Wifredo's old guard took care of the living heritage of the Z.

From the 90s until well into the 2000s, an illustrious name within the world of Hispano Suiza and Pegaso was, in some way, responsible. We are talking about Manuel Lage. His team, with him at the helm, was in charge of protecting, ordering, disseminating and, in many cases, digitizing much of the information concerning the Z sports cars. Plans and reports, among others, treasured the history of the company and also the from “La Hispano Suiza”.

Within that great heritage there were also two Pegaso passenger car units: Our protagonist, the only Z-103 finished with a Z-104 engine; and the berlineta Z-102 Touring 1st series (BT1) ref. 41, registration BI-19111, purchased in 1984 in order to restore and display it.

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pegasus z-103
Beautiful Weber quadruple carborators on a somewhat more conventional engine than its predecessor (Photo: J. Sáinz de la Maza)

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The truth is that our Z-103, perhaps because it is the vehicle with the most historical value, survived without too many problems. Unit Z-102, on the other hand, was initially transferred to the Museum of Salamanca for its restoration and exhibition; It is currently partially dismantled, temporarily ceded to the Jove de la Coruña Foundation along with part of the rest of the heritage and awaiting a decision on its future.

Replicas? Who'd say!

Our protagonist thus remained afloat, navigating through the convulsive processes resulting from the purchase of ENASA. Furthermore, in 1991, already under the leadership of IVECO, The manufacture of twelve "replicas" of his was authorized. In reality they were aesthetic recreations equipped with a Rover V8 engine, with an Alfa-Romeo transmission from the model 75 mounted, as in the original, on the rear axle. Within the framework of this project, the "Pegasin" was sent directly to the English manufacturer IAD to take molds from the bodywork and copy some essential elements such as the chassis.

In scoop I will say that during the disassembly of the wheels for the repair of the brakes several aluminum plates appeared with handwritten numbers. Initially it was thought that they were Serra or Pegaso manufacturing plates, placed there for the purpose of identifying the operator; but after consulting with people close to the story, it was concluded that they were placed by the Britons before dismounting.

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pegaso car z102
Before going for a walk, you have to know the secrets of the beast (Photo: J. Sáinz de la Maza)

Regarding the historical context, I am not going to comment on Jesús Bonilla or Andrés Ruiz, nor will I write exactly the same as them. I recommend that all readers buy Classic Motor and get rich with this information; For my part, I will focus from now on the known maintenance of the Z-103 from the eighties to the present and on the dynamic testing of it. Because yes, you read that right, the car has been driven by a server.

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Antonio Silva

Written by Antonio Silva

My name is Antonio Silva, I was born in Madrid in 1973. Thanks to my company I have been able to know first-hand all the national vehicle factories and a few of the European ones, as well as many of the component factories, this being nothing but an incentive more for my hobby ... View all

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