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A coachbuilding firm based outside of Milan, Zagato remain the last independent Italian design house, still owned by founding family 104 years later. Carrozzeria Zagato first opened its doors in 1919 with the intention of translating aeronautical learnings from the first World War to the automotive world. Known for their advanced design, innovative use of lightweight materials, the Zagato name has found itself on a wealth of ultra-high end marques including the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Porsche’s relationship with Zagato first started with the commissioning of a 356 Zagato Speedster by Porsche driver Claude Storez. His successes throughout the mid-fifties in a 550 RS Spyder, 356A Carrera and 356 Speedster meant Zagato eagerly received the 29 year old’s 356 Carrera Speedster in 1957. The duration of the works extended into 1958 and after successful re-clothed in a streamlined body in white with red fins on the rear wings, the car was dispatched to Stuttgart where Porsche would fettle the engine.
Its first outing on the Reims stage of the Tour de France saw it place second place behind eventual overall winner, Olivier Gendebien.
Fast forward to 2004 and the first of three years of production for Porsche’s Carrera GT would begin. Once more the child of racing ambition, the Carrera GT’s routes can be firmly traced back to its predecessors; the 911 GT1 and the LMP-98 racing cars.
In 1998 Porsche planned on a new Le Mans prototype for 1999. The car was initially intended to use a turbocharged flat-6, but was later redesigned to use a new V10 engine, pushing the project back to planned completion in 2000. The V10 was a unit secretly built by Porsche for the Footwork Formula One team in 1992 but had been shelved. The engine was resurrected for the Le Mans prototype and increased in size to 5.7 litres. Unfortunately, the project was cancelled after two days of testing for the first car, in mid-1999, mostly due to Porsche’s wish to build the Cayenne SUV with involvement from Volkswagen and Audi, thus requiring engineering expertise to be pulled from the motorsports division. It was also speculated that VW-Audi chairman Ferdinand Piëch wanted Audi’s new Le Mans Prototype, the Audi R8 not to face competition from Porsche in 2004.
Porsche did keep part of the project alive showing a concept car at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, mainly in an attempt to draw attention to their display. Surprising interest in the vehicle and an influx of revenue provided from the Cayenne aided Porsche’s decision to produce the car, and development started on a road-legal version, to be produced in small numbers at Porsche’s new manufacturing facility in Leipzig. Porsche started a production run of Carrera GTs in 2004, the first Carrera GT went on sale in the US on January 31, 2004.
The Carrera GT is powered by a 5.7 litre V10 engine producing 612 horsepower, good for a 0-60 sprint of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 205mph.
In 2013, a Porsche collector living in Switzerland took his Carrera GT to the Milanese coachbuilders. Having never been a fan of the plateau behind the roll-over hoops and seeking a more Gran Turismo style, he tasked Zagato with redesigning the car in profile. Their efforts would subtly change the majority of parts to enhance both the aerodynamics of the design as well as to improve the elegance of the overall form.
The front bumper is slightly longer with the centre section slightly lower, the vanes angled more aggressively, picking up the inside curves of the headlights when viewed head on. Unusually the changes to the front bumper do increase ground clearance somewhat with a sharper approach angle born from the new shape. The front wings, doors and sills remain the same, bar the addition of the trademark ‘Z’ to the rear sill section.
Towards the rear ¾ the changes are more dramatic. Through the introduction of a ‘c-pillar’, Zagato have visually increased the length of the cabin, and works well to mirror the curves of the large side air intakes. The rear decklid is all new, integrating an additional piece of glass into the profile of the car which works to channel air directly into the engine. Prior to work by Zagato, the V10 sourced its air from two NACA ducts either side of the engine covers on the rear decklid. The new engine cover introduces the Porsche script between the two lengthened headrests that are now incorporated into the overall form and accentuating Zagato’s trademark ‘double-bubble’ roof.
The removable roof panels remain the same as the original elements meaning they can still be stored below the bonnet. The wing remains the same and rises to full height, below the wing Zagato have added a small lip to improve airflow. The rear bumper of the car sees several other subtle changes. The exhaust system has been revised and includes new tips; slightly louder than standard, Zagato worked hard to retain the instantly recognisable pitch of the V10.
Please note, this vehicle is no longer for sale.
This Porsche Carrera GT Zagato is #4 of just 5 cars produced. The original #00 prototype (built in 2013) sits outside of these cars and remains with its Swiss owner to date. The 5 production cars were built using exisiting road cars that the owners sent to Zagato between 2018 and 2019.
This car, when new, was one of 676 examples supplied new to the USA and as such, its 17 digit VIN number starts with the WP0CA sequence. It was ordered new to McKenna Porsche of Los Angeles and received its pre-delivery inspection in May 2005. The Carfax notes two ownership changes in the USA as well as service history in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2011. In November 2010, the Carfax was flagged for damage to the front bumper and rear ¾ panel, the extent of which is supported by photographic evidence on file. The car was repaired and received one more service in the USA prior to export to the UK in 2011.
Since its arrival in the UK, this example has been exclusively serviced by Porsche Carrera GT master technician Craig Mayo. The previous owner of this example tasked Porsche GB with a colour change and the work was carried out in 2018 to Slate Grey. In order to carry out the repaint of a Carrera GT, Porsche had to remove all of the panels by hand. This example was purchased by its current keeper in late 2018 and due to its non original paint, it was deemed the ideal candidate for the conversion to Zagato specification.
From 2013 to 2018, the car was serviced annually at Porsche Reading and has since received three services further at the hands of Craig Mayo at RPM Technik (as a former PGB CGT factory trained technician, he is now an independent specialist), including its most recent major service in November 2021, with an annual in November 2022.
Following the current owner's purchase, the Zagato conversion took place over the course of six months in 2018/2019, with the car transported to Italy for the works to be carried out. As part of the conversion, the car was stripped back to a rolling chassis once more and repainted in a bespoke dark metallic green, with wheels in graphite. The brake callipers were refinished in gloss black. The total cost for the conversion including the new body panels was in the region of 400,000 Euros and no further cars will be converted as evidenced by the contract on file between Zagato and the current owner.
This example, Chassis 4 of the 5 conversions, stands apart as this is the sole Carrera GTZ to be completed with a FULL bespoke Zagato interior. The interior retrim comprises of both seats complete with embossed Z, central tunnel and centre console, gearstick gaiter, lower dashboard, armrests, door cards, A-pillar and sun visors. This was an additional cost to the conversion.
Returning to the UK, this example was fitted with bespoke paint protection film and has covered just 1,000 miles to date. Most recently this example was displayed at the London Concours in June 2023 and will find its place on the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
After arriving at DK Engineering, the car was sent to Porsche GB for a full inspection ahead of sale. The report noted a perished door seal, reverse light switch and visual damage to wheel nuts. Each of these items have now been replaced with new. Another item flagged was the lack of cathodic coating on the wheel centres, and a minor 8mm chip on the front brake disc. As part of the sale the car will now be accompanied by a spare set of original (second hand) Carrera GT wheels and, to be completed at the expense of the seller post sale, the refurbishment of both front discs.
In the Ferrari world, just 5 250 TdF were built with a Zagato body in period, much like this CGT being 1 of 5. Today the Ferrari 250 TdF Zagato would sell for double the price of a standard car. This car offers your chance to be invited to the greatest events in the world and own a unique coach built car that also happens to be one of the last great analogue supercars built.
The clutch reading today is 29.3mm = 43% left of life.
Wear on the discs:
New 34mm Now 33.7mm/33.8mm on front
New 34mm Now 33.6mm/33.5mm on rear
(Please note; in addition to the spare set of CGT wheels, the car is also accompanied by the panels removed at conversion)