Sunday, September 30, 2018

1952 Pegaso Z102 BS 2.5 Cúpula Coupe

The Spanish ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA) was formed in 1945 when Hispano-Suiza was nationalised. ENASA was led by the Spanish industrial engineer Wilfredo Ricart, who came from Alfa Romeo. The Barcelona-based company manufactured trucks, buses and military vehicles under the Pegaso brand. To boost its prestige, ENASA introduced a sports car, the Pegaso Z-102, in 1951.

Initial displacement was a modest 2.5 L but Ricart left enough room to increase the swept volume to 2.8 and even 3.2 L. Breathing was through a choice of Weber Carburetors (among the few non Spanish parts on the car) and supercharging was also offered. The smallest of the engine variants was good for an impressive 165 bhp while a whopping 360 bhp was claimed for the blown 3.2. 

Additionally specialist coach builders Touring of Milan and Saoutchik of Paris were commissioned to work their 'magic' on the Z102 chassis. The two specialists complemented each other's work with Touring providing elegant coupe bodies while Jacques Saoutchik penned strangely attractively baroque coupe and cabriolet bodies.( &

Chassis: 0102 150 0121

When Pegaso started producing sports cars, there was a close cooperation between Wilfredo Ricart and Carrozzeria Touring’s CEO and chief designer Carlo ‘CiCi’ Bianchi Anderloni. The 1952 Pegaso brochures show artist’s impressions by Touring’s designer Federico Formenti of cars that resembled the Cúpula but were never manufactured. Formenti also designed the equally UFO-inspired Disco Volante by Alfa Romeo, incidentally.

Only two “Cúpola” models, with a distinctive and oversize rear window, side exhausts and partially skirted fenders, were ever built. Of these, chassis 0102 150 0121, a car first shown at the 1953 New York Motor Show, is the sole survivor, and, the stunning yellow coupe, now owned by the Louwman Museum, took Best of Show Concours de Sport at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. (

The featured Pegaso is the second Z102 fitted with the so called 'Cúpula' coupe bodywork by in-house coach-builder ENASA, and the only known survivor. Built by the factory the coupe body sports an unusually large and bulbous rear window, which resulted in the 'Cúpula' nickname. The unique lines were penned by Spanish students, who were tasked to find out what a car would look like thirty years down the road. Finished in yellow with red wheels, the striking machine was displayed at the 1953 New York Auto Show before being sold to President Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. That's when it received its second nickname 'El Dominicano.' In 1954, it was campaigned in the Carrera Panamericana road race. Trujillo retained the car until his death in 1962 but it did not resurface until the mid-1980s when it joined Peter Kaus' formidable Rosso Bianco collection. At that time the car was painted an altogether more understated silver. In 2006, the Pegaso joined the Louwman Collection and between 2009 and 2015, it was completely restored to its original configuration. (

Engine 2816cc naturally aspirated, desmodromic 32-valve V8, DOHC, Weber 36 DCF1 four-barrel carburettor. Power 250bhp @ 6300rpm. Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive. Top speed c140mph. 0-60mph 8 sec. (

After Trujillo was assassinated in 1961 and the Dominican Government then confiscated the car, it was sold and passed through the hands of several owners, being restored and painted silver with a red interior during the 1970s. (

The origin of its design is not the only myth surrounding the Cúpula. It is said that there was a second Cúpula – or rather a ‘first’. This car, painted cream and with a light green interior, was presented at the 1952 Paris motor show and in London shortly afterwards. It differed from the yellow one in having the door-opening buttons positioned higher and the rear dome lower down. The most credible suggestion is that this car was a prototype that was partly or completely scrapped after the show and/or was used as the basis of the yellow Cúpula, which made its debut at the World Motor Show in New York in February 1953. Therefore this car can be regarded as the only Berlineta Cúpula ever built. (

(Photos from,, &

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