100 years (nearly) of Zagato

30 November 2016 | by Jon Winding-Sørensen

100 years (nearly) of Zagato

(All photos: Urs Gautschi. © Pantheon Basel)

in 1919 Ugo Zagato founded his famous carrozzeria and since then, at least 300 distinctive designs have left the Zagato studios and workshops. Now, nearly 30 of them can be viewed at the largest Zagato exhibition ever. Maybe a dress rehearsal for the centennial in three years’ time?

The Pantheon, close to Basel, is a combination of classic car garage, museum and space for roving exhibitions. The current one is the Zagato presentation, arranged with Andrea Zagato in very close attendance.
Stephane Schwarz, Zagato’s Director of Design and a native of Kanton Basel, has also added examples of his studio’s other activities, ranging from mobility solutions and industrial design to fashion.

He has also found a completely new way of presenting the cars. Normally the exhibits would be parked alongside the curved driveway that turns upwards along the walls of the buildings. But instead he has built a track with kerbs, giving the exhibition a much more dynamic expression.

The cars range from a classic Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Spider, 1936; to some of the latest one-offs (or two or three?) like the TZ3 Stradale from 2013 or last year’s Maserati Mostro. There are also cars that have hardly been seen before, like the Fiat Aster from 1972, of which only two were built, and cars you can never have enough of, like the 1900 SSZ.

Two of the vehicles show what can be done; both the compact, open Lancia Aprilia Sport from 1937 and the Porsche 356 Speedster from 1960 have been recreated in short series as Sanction II.

And we get the necessary dose of ‘Double Bubble’ and the bodywork that L.J.K. Setright famously described as “tighter than a toreador’s pants” when  describing one of Zagato's typical creations.

Of course there are many cars missing, not least the ones created when Tony Crook, owner of Bristol Cars, acted as Zagato’s British representative. But there is still hope; the Zagatos have more than a year for planning the big celebration. In the meantime, the Panteon show is well worth a visit.  

http://www.pantheonbasel.ch/  Open until April 17.

Zagato Flyer A4