In the 1950s, the Spanish firm Pegaso made some of the most glamorous cars in the world. Among them was the Pegaso Z-102. Designed by Touring, the Z-102's alloy bodywork combined beauty with light weight. The Z-103 - which came later - was a simplified version of the Z-102. Its engine came with a single overhead-camshaft, for example. With the Z-102 suffering in the showrooms, the Z-103 was intended to be more of a commercial success. Between the pair of them, however, only around 100 cars were built. Thankfully, Pegaso's bread and butter sales were in trucks and coaches. Their foray into sports car manufacture was something of an aside.
At the race-tracks, too, the Z-102 under-achieved. It started out with a 2.8-litre V8 engine. Baseline power was 175bhp. Bolting on a supercharger upped that number considerably - to 280bhp. Taking the 2.8-litre motor out to 3.2 produced 360bhp. That should have been enough to be competitive. Especially, given that at lower speeds, the Z-102 handled quite well. But - despite its light alloy body - overall, the Z-102 was heavy. That could make it incalcitrant through corners. Its top speed of 160mph redressed the balance somewhat ... but not enough! At least it sounded great - thanks to its gear-driven camshafts.
It was almost as if the Z-102 was built on a whim! With money rolling in from trucks and coaches, Pegaso were less than savvy about the sports car business. The Z-102's seven-year production run was probably enough - the last cars leaving the factory in '58. As a money-maker, it had been pretty futile. Then again, Pegaso had shown the world that it could make stunning-looking machines ... on top of its more 'monolithic' stock-in-trade! Ultimately, insufficient attention was paid to the Z-102's bottom line. The Z-103 tried to make amends, with its more straightforward approach. But the damage was done! The marque of Pegaso - based in Barcelona - will never be spoken of in the same breath as Ferrari or Lamborghini. But for a short while - as cars like the Pegaso Z-102 showed - Spanish automobiles were every bit as exotic as their Italian counterparts.