Clas­sic Porsche gains ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the lat­est ʻcon­tin­u­a­tionʼ model to come from the work­shops of world fa­mous coach­builders, Zagato. Based on a Porsche 356B, Za­ga­toʼs ʻSanc­tion IIʼ coupé brings the past to life as a lim­ited line of just nine hand-c

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Axel E Cat­ton

Clas­sic Porsche gets an ex­clu­sive pre­view of the new Zagato-bodied 356

Th­ese days, many renowned man­u­fac­tur­ers are try­ing their luck at re­cre­at­ing im­por­tant mod­els from their past. Af­ter Jaguar ʼs an­nounce­ment to build a se­ries of nine ʻnewʼ XKSS mod­els, As­ton Martin also re­vealed plans to build a small se­ries of 25 DB4 GT mod­els. Up un­til now, Porsche has not any dis­closed plans of this sort, but that does­nʼt mean that well-heeled car col­lec­tors could­nʼt re­live a most fas­ci­nat­ing chap­ter of the com­pa­nyʼs il­lus­tri­ous his­tory. Be­cause itʼs not the Stuttgart brand but the Ital­ian de­sign house Zagato which is plan­ning a re­launch of a very spe­cific Porsche model to re­mind the world of the suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion of Zagato and Porsche.

To learn more about this project, Clas­sic Porsche trav­elled to Za­ga­toʼs head­quar­ters in Rho near Mi­lan to see what this is all about, the first pub­li­ca­tion in the world to do so. Any­body who knows their Porsche his­tory is aware of a small se­ries of 20 Porsche 356 Car­rera Abarth GTL coupés built in the early 1960s which sported a Zagato body. But the ba­sis for the car we are here to see today is even rarer than that.

We asked com­pany heir and com­pany CEO Dr An­drea Zagato about his plans: ʻIn al­most 100 years, Zagato has de­signed and built roughly 400 dif­fer­ent car mod­els – some very well-known ones, oth­ers less so. And not all of them sur­vived. Thatʼs why we de­cided a few years ago to recre­ate some se­lect mod­els that have been es­sen­tial for our brandʼs de­vel­op­ment through­out its his­tory. Th­ese cars are called “Sanc­tion II” mod­els.ʼ

But there are con­di­tions at­tached, and An­drea Zagato ex­plains a few of them. ʻTh­ese cars would have had to be im­por­tant for the de­sign de­vel­op­ment of our com­pany.ʼ Be­cause, in con­trast to Jaguar or As­ton Martin, Zagato in­sists on only re­cre­at­ing those mod­els that are def­i­nitely lost to the world, which means there are no sur­viv­ing orig­i­nal ex­am­ples. ʻA sanc­tioned recre­ation al­lows the world to see and ex­pe­ri­ence th­ese cars which they oth­er­wise would not be able to en­joy,ʼ says Zagato.

In 2006, at the oc­ca­sion of the 100th an­niver­sary of the Lan­cia brand, Zagato fo­cused on the Lan­cia Aprilia Sport Zagato. This road­ster, which had orig­i­nally been penned by


An­dreaʼs grand­fa­ther Ugo Zagato in 1938, is of great sig­nif­i­cance for the Ital­ian de­sign house. The ground-break­ing de­sign fea­tured a mostly flush ex­te­rior with­out pro­trud­ing fend­ers – as was the norm in those days – and was clearly in­flu­enced by Ugoʼs back­ground in avi­a­tion as it re­sem­bled an air­craft wing in pro­file.

How­ever, when re­cre­at­ing the form, Ugoʼs grand­son An­drea was­nʼt able to rely on orig­i­nal draw­ings or blue­prints with di­men­sions, be­cause Za­ga­toʼs archives had been de­stroyed al­most en­tirely dur­ing WWII by Bri­tish RAF bombs.

ʻFor our Sanc­tion II recre­ations we had noth­ing more than some poor black and white images as ref­er­ence points,ʼ says Zagato. With the use of CAD, An­drea and his team de­vel­oped a com­puter-aided mea­sur­ing sys­tem that was laid as a grid over the orig­i­nal pho­to­graphs. ʻWe al­ways used the same grid and ap­plied it to ev­ery pho­to­graph we could find,ʼ Zagato ex­plains proudly. ʻIn the end, we ar­rived at a col­lec­tion of mea­sur­ing points which al­lowed us, with­out a doubt, to de­ter­mine what the car looked like in the day and what the de­tailed di­men­sions were.ʼ

On the ba­sis of th­ese data points, a com­puter cre­ated a de­tailed ren­der­ing – called ʻmath­e­mat­i­cal mas­ter ʼ at Zagato – which was used to form a wooden buck over which high­lyskilled Ital­ian crafts­men later formed the body pan­els by hand. The re­sult was a small se­ries of nine Lan­cia Aprilia Sanc­tion II mod­els which An­drea Zagato launched at the Bologna Mo­tor Show in 2006.

Why nine? Zagato smiles be­cause he had an­tic­i­pated the ques­tion. ʻNine is the num­ber for col­lec­tor ʼs items. An artist usu­ally cre­ates one orig­i­nal, the so-called artistʼs proof, and he can make up to nine copies of it. More than that and itʼs called a se­ries. So, thatʼs why we make only nine.ʼ Af­ter the suc­cess with the Lan­cia, in 2007 a wealthy Fer­rari col­lec­tor got Zagato to make one sin­gle recre­ation of the Fer­rari 166 Zagato Panoram­ica, where the orig­i­nal car had also been lost.

Fast for­ward to 2012 and this is where the story gets highly in­ter­est­ing for Porsche afi­ciona­dos. Even be­fore the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Abarth led to the con­struc­tion of 20 Porsche 356 Abarth Zagato GTL coupés in the early 1960s, the con­nec­tion be­tween Stuttgart and Mi­lan be­gan with a very spe­cial or­der by one of Porscheʼs fac­tory drivers, the French­man Claude Storez.

The son of a French painter, who in 1950s France was con­sid­ered one of the most tal­ented drivers around, had or­dered a new Porsche 356A Speed­ster with a Car­rera GT en­gine. Ac­cord­ing to fac­tory doc­u­ments, chas­sis #84907 (with en­gine #91009) was reg­is­tered as man­u­fac­tured with­out in­te­rior or paint on 13th May 1958. The en­gine was in­stalled a week later on 20th May.

Next, the un­fin­ished ve­hi­cle was brought to Zagato in Rho for the con­struc­tion of a spe­cial body. In Au­gust of the same year, #84907 re­turned one last time to the Stuttgart fac­tory for fi­nal tech­ni­cal checks be­fore Storez took de­liv­ery in Septem­ber 1958 at Parisian Porsche dealer So­nauto, and reg­is­tered it with French plates.

That same year, Storez en­tered the Tour de France with his new Speed­ster and re­ceived start­ing num­ber 158. How­ever, he was­nʼt able to com­plete the race. In Fe­bru­ary 1959, Storez was killed in an ac­ci­dent at the Route du Nord Ral­lye in Reims, as a con­se­quence of which the Zagato Speed­ster was de­stroyed. It was pre­sumed at the time that the ac­ci­dent was caused by bad tyres.

In 2012, An­drea Zagato con­sid­ered this Porsche 356 Car­rera Speed­ster Zagato, the be­gin­ning of the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Stuttgart and Mi­lanese firms, a fit­ting can­di­date for a recre­ation in a se­ries of nine ex­am­ples. He says: ʻHere, too, all we had was black and white pic­tures, but luck­ily th­ese were bet­ter than those we had for pre­vi­ous projects.ʼ

The pho­tos were used to cre­ate the ʻmath­e­mat­i­cal mas­ter ʼ, and An­drea Zagato says: ʻIt was im­me­di­ately clear how dif­fer­ent this Speed­ster was com­pared to the Porsche mod­els. It was a lot lower, the front end was shal­lower and at the rear it had lit­tle sta­bil­is­ing fins.ʼ One sin­gle photo also showed the unique door hinges which Zagato was able to re­pro­duce. Says An­drea proudly: ʻDur­ing our re­search for the Speed­ster project, Porsche sup­ported us and even­tu­ally sent us a con­grat­u­la­tory let­ter.ʼ It will come as no sur­prise that the Speed­ster se­ries is sold out.

Dur­ing our visit in Rho, we found two of those Speed­sters which have re­mained at the fac­tory for some fi­nal touches. But the rea­son for our visit is the brand-new car, the pro­to­type of a new ʻSanc­tion IIʼ, a closed ver­sion of the Porsche 356 Car­rera Zagato. An­drea ex­plains: ʻDur­ing re­search for the Speed­ster in our own archives we found draw­ings of a closed

ver­sion which we knew next to noth­ing about. This coupé is very im­por­tant as it is the link be­tween Storezʼ Speed­ster and the later Porsche 356 Abarth GTL coupés.ʼ

The Ital­ian spe­cial­ists scanned the coupé draw­ings us­ing the same grid sys­tem as with pre­vi­ous mod­els. Af­ter ex­ten­sive com­puter cal­cu­la­tions, a mas­ter buck was cut us­ing CNC ma­chines. Af­ter­wards, body spe­cial­ists cre­ated the new body over this buck out of light alu­minium. Apart from the very aero­dy­namic form, the use of the light al­loy had been an im­por­tant el­e­ment for the suc­cess of Zagato mod­els in their time. ʻIn the 1950s and ʼ60s, the Mon­day pa­pers were full of Zagato race wins from the pre­vi­ous week­end. Light­weight con­struc­tion and aero­dy­namic de­sign made even cars with less pow­er­ful en­gines into race win­ners,ʼ says An­drea.

Be­fore we are al­lowed a peek be­hind the doors bear­ing the words ʻWarn­ing – No en­tryʼ, the com­pany CEO in­vites us into a lit­tle pre­sen­ta­tion room to show us the math­e­mat­i­cal mas­ter for Za­ga­toʼs new­est Sanc­tion II. Look­ing at a com­par­i­son of old Speed­ster pho­to­graphs with and with­out the grid, as well as the only ex­ist­ing draw­ing of the coupé, we no­tice one thing right away. The softly flow­ing roofline at the rear and the vis­ual cen­tre of grav­ity moved fur­ther back make the de­sign look even more set­tled, more con­clu­sive. ʻItʼs im­me­di­ately clear that the roof makes an enor­mous dif­fer­ence,ʼ An­drea Zagato con­curs.

A few min­utes later we get to see for the first time the new Porsche 356 Car­rera Coupé Zagato with our own eyes. It is al­most like be­ing at a new car launch at a mo­tor show. There are me­chan­ics still fet­tling with the last de­tails on the car, and not only are we the first mag­a­zine to see the end re­sult, Zagato has also in­vited two po­ten­tial cus­tomers for this af­ter­noon to have a first look at this won­der­ful relic from bet­ter times. ʻWe are again cre­at­ing nine ex­am­ples of this model, and most are spo­ken for…ʼ smiles Zagato.

The sil­ver coupé looks con­fi­dent and con­vinc­ing. It is sig­nif­i­cantly more slen­der and vis­ually ʻlighter ʼ than its base. ʻThe front end was of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance for my fa­ther Elio when he de­signed this car,ʼ says An­drea. ʻIn or­der to cre­ate

this par­tic­u­larly low front, we had to move the spare wheel, which is placed al­most ver­ti­cally in the stan­dard car, and lay it al­most flat, so the body could be even shal­lower.ʼ

The rounded front is dom­i­nated by only slightly pro­trud­ing fend­ers with in­te­grated head­lights and fresh air in­lets set be­low them. The head­lights be­hind their plas­tic cov­ers are slightly set back, which makes them stylis­ti­cally more in­ter­est­ing. With the height re­duced by 137mm to only 1190mm, the short coupé looks more slen­der and longer than it ac­tu­ally is. In re­al­ity, the 356 Coupé Zagato is only 3880mm long, a full 128mm shorter than a stan­dard 356B.

In side view both coupé and Speed­ster share a pro­nounced shoul­der line which falls slightly to­wards the rear of the pas­sen­ger doors only to rise again and al­most cover the rear wheels. The win­dow area is longer and lower while the rear win­dowʼs lower end echoes the rear fender line. The del­i­cate door han­dles are an es­pe­cially play­ful Zagato de­tail: they need to be pressed in first for the pull han­dle it­self to pop out.

At the back, the body line al­most re­sem­bles an Amer­i­can fast­back as it slowly de­scends to the bumper­less rear end. Two sep­a­rate grilles clearly re­call Porsche de­sign cues, while the sin­gle cen­tre ex­haust re­minds us of the stan­dard 1.5-litre Car­rera en­gine mounted in the back. Only the rather bland look­ing square rear lights in­di­cate that, in cre­at­ing the orig­i­nal, the com­pany oc­ca­sion­ally had to make do with avail­able items.

The in­te­rior is spar­tan, 356-style, but its re­duc­tion to the es­sen­tial also makes it more ap­peal­ing. Be­hind the wooden three-spoke Nardi steer­ing wheel there is a dash­board made en­tirely out of metal, show­ing three big di­als with clas­sic green Porsche let­ter­ing. To the left is a com­bi­na­tion dial show­ing fuel level and oil tem­per­a­ture, the speedo is in the cen­tre and the tachome­ter is all the way to the right. To start, there is a key to the right of the driver that just begs to be turned. The white pip­ing on the black leather seats is the only friv­o­lous styling el­e­ment.

Whatʼs left for us to ask is the ob­vi­ous and un­pleas­ant ques­tion about pric­ing. An­drea Zagato replies with typ­i­cal Ital­ian re­laxed­ness: ʻGet­ting a 356B from 1959 as a base today will put you back about €100,000 if you donʼt want to in­vest too much into a restora­tion. The cost for the con­ver­sion into a Coupé Zagato is of course en­tirely de­pen­dent on the cus­tomer ʼs wishes, but given the time in­vested you would have to ex­pect to pay another €300,000.ʼ

Tak­ing into ac­count re­cent auc­tion prices of some ex­tremely rare 356 vari­ants, it can be ex­pected that buy­ers of a Porsche 356 Car­rera Coupé Zagato will most likely find this to be a sound in­vest­ment… CP

Pho­tos: Fed­erico Van­done Del­lʼac­qua and Zagato archives

Be­low, left and right: One of just nine recre­ations of the Storez Speed­ster, the suc­cess of which in­spired Zagato to con­tinue the Sanc­tion II pro­gramme with the Porsche 356 coupé

Above: Tak­ing an orig­i­nal pho­to­graph, Za­ga­toʼs de­sign team used com­put­ers to scan in var­i­ous known ref­er­ence points, be­fore pro­duc­ing a smooth ren­der­ing, from which a buck could be made

Above: The re­sult of Za­ga­toʼs hard work is quite sim­ply stun­ning – clearly re­lated to the orig­i­nal Car­rera Abarth, the Sanc­tion II has a fresh yet time­less look

Be­low right: This is the sole sur­viv­ing draw­ing of the pro­posed coupé, which An­drea found in the archives

Be­low left: An­drea Zagato took time to ex­plain to Clas­sic Porsche the fas­ci­nat­ing story be­hind the re­mark­able project

Be­low: Rear repli­cates that of the Storez Speed­ster and has more than a hint of the Car­rera Abarth GTL coupés about it. En­gine can be spied through the twin grilles

Above, left to right: In­te­rior is sim­ply ap­pointed, with just three gauges, a Nardi steer­ing wheel and 356 han­dles. The only fri­vol­ity is in the form of white pip­ing on the leather-trimmed seats…

Be­low left: Zagato mu­seum con­tains an ex­am­ple of all im­por­tant mod­els styled by the com­pany

Above left and right: An­drea Zagato is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of the end re­sult, and took time to ex­plain how the one re­main­ing draw­ing of a coupé was used as in­spi­ra­tion for the project

Be­low: En­gine in ʻour ʼ ex­am­ple is a reg­u­lar pushrod, but a Fuhrmann four­cam would be per­fect…

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