Porsche Carrera GT Zagato


September 22, 2013 By Mike Lee
Last updated on August 10, 2015

After 55 years since the creation of the first Zagato bodied Porsche, the  356 Carrera Zagato Speedster (1958), the Milanese brand pays homage to the Stuttgart’s company with another Atelier car. Here is  their story:

Zagato Classic : 356 Carrera Zagato Speedster (1958)

In Autumn 1957, the French gentleman driver Claude Storez  approached Zagato to  commit a  special body for his Porsche  356 Carrera GS. His  career started in 1952 and he immediately performed as a very talented pilot. After some pristine races at the wheel of French cars, he switched  to Porsche, both official (550 RS with official pilot Herbert Linge  – 2nd place OA at 1954 Tour de France) and private (most of all 356). Thanks to several good results he got a strong fame as one of the most skilled pilot of France.

Storez raced also in Italy at the Mille Miglia where he met Zagato, leader for racing tailor made bodies. As a proof, in that period Zagato collaborated with all the most important brands  (Alfa Romeo, AC, Bristol, Ferrari, Fiat – Abarth, Lancia, Jaguar, Maserati and many others).

Claude Storez approached Zagato to commit an aerodynamic body to couple with the fast power – train of his new Factory made Porsche 356 A Speedster . This was the sportiest model in the 356 model range. His car was equipped with the most powerful engine available the Carrera “GS”, capable of more than 100 Cv.

On late summer 1958, Zagato received the Speedster Carrera GS’s rolling chassis. In a very short  time he dressed it with a very light sport 2 – seats aluminium body. The body stile reflected completely the brand’s philosophy: minimal and rational volumes, focused on aerodynamic efficiency.

Furthermore it recalled the typical design of Porsche mid – engine sport barchettas of that period, the 550 RS and the 718 RSK. The car anticipated, mainly in the front part, some important future race models:  RS60, RS61 and the Carrera – Abarth GTL, which Zagato dressed officially for Porsche in 1961 (20 units ever produced) .

The Carrera Zagato Speedster was then sent back to Stuttgart to have its engine installed and finally was delivered  to his owner in Paris. After some races, it was seriously damaged at Reims Circuit on February 7th 1959 during the Rally Routes du Nord. Since then, the car vanished without any trace.

In 2012 the famous American Porsche collector Herb Wetanson presented his Porsche 356 A to Zagato. Thanks to its exclusive photometric process technology, CAD modelists rebuilt the Carrera  Zagato Speedster’s body: they started from original photos and drawings and constructed a master model using state-of-the-art, five-axis CNC milling machine. The sheet metal of the bodywork was  then skilfully hand crafted by master panel beaters, working on a solid, machined buck. The body of Storez’s 356 was finally accurately rebuilt.

Zagato Atelier: Carrera GT Zagato

According to the most classic approach that gave life to the Zagato special bodies since the 20s, a Swiss Porsche enthusiast committed to Zagato a new body for his V10 Porsche Carrera GT.

Zagato Atelier generated some styling proposals which were evaluated with the customer before the final green light.

The Porsche Carrera GT Zagato project has to be considered an “evolution” rather than a “revolution”. Since the beginning the main task was a typical Zagato design which left all the Porsche Carrera GT project highlights untouched.

The Carrera GT is already at its best, both in mechanical and aerodynamic terms. So coachbuilder aimed to create, with a new shape of the engine bonnet and new bumpers, the typical shape of a  Zagato car with double bubble roof.

Mechanical layout of the car is rigorously standard in order to pay homage to the OEM brand and to the model which becomes a collectible car.

Like in the best tradition of Italian “Carrozzeria” activity, the Client and his son attended all the  aspects and stages of the project. This is an uninterrupted tradition which allows the most famous coachbuilders to  create very special creations for gentlemen drivers both races and concourse d’elegance oriented!