Spanish supercar was the fastest sports vehicle in the world for a couple of years
The Spanish sports car built by Pegaso is not exactly a household name so you will be forgiven if you have not heard of it. The company name was derived from Greek mythology and the flying horse Pegasus; unfortunately this one had a short flight.
Pegaso sports cars were the rarest exotic high-performance machines to come out of Europe during the early postwar years.
The company began in 1946, as a division of ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamions SA) and operating out of the old Hispano-Suiza factory in La Sagrera, near Barcelona. The company traditionally built commercial vehicles including coaches and trucks.
Wilfredo Ricart returned to his native Spain after the Second World War to become the managing director and head of engineering projects at Pegaso. He had set aside his previous engineering position of developing sports cars for Alfa Romeo and was eager to return his hands to building a high-performance sports car.
In reality, the motivation to build a sports car was to further his personal vendetta in an attempt to rival or better his arch enemy Enzo Ferrari, who had begun building sports cars in 1948.(They worked together at Alfa Romeo and did not get along.)
We probably have Ricart to thank for the birth of Ferrari as he was instrumental in having Ferrari dismissed from Alfa Romeo.
The fastest sports car in the world for a couple of years, the Pegaso was powered by a 3.2-litre, quad-overhead-camshaft, 32-valve V8 producing 360 horsepower. Another incredible feature was its five-speed transaxle.
The bodies were outsourced to coachbuilders Touring, Serra and my personal favourite, the Parisian Jacques Saoutchik, who was one of the most famous and avant-garde prewar coach builders.
Building cars that cost four times more than a comparable Aston Martin soon resulted in Pegaso’s demise and brief stint at sports car manufacturing.
Total production figures are vague, but some records suggest a total of 125 cars were built. Ferrari’s “prancing horse” beat the “winged” Pegaso.
The horse on the Pegaso emblem is actually wingless due to Mobil Oil’s registered trademark being the flying horse.
Pegaso was taken over by Iveco in 1990, so at the end of the day Fiat won. The giant Fiat Corporation owns both Iveco and Ferrari.
The pictured car sold at the Sotheby’s/RM auction in New York for $797,500.