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August 21, 2012

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BMW Zagato Roadster makes its debut at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Pebble Beach - Barely three months after the sensational premiere of the BMW Zagato Coupé, BMW and Zagato are turning heads again at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with the fruits of their latest collaboration. Created in just six weeks’ worth of lavish handcraftsmanship, the BMW Zagato Roadster represents another masterful example of the traditional coachbuilder’s art and an elegant take on the sporty, masculine marker laid down by the BMW Zagato Coupé.

At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this one-of-a-kind automobile finds itself in the best possible company. Every year connoisseurs and exponents of coachbuilt classics come together on California’s Pacific coastline to gorge on, mull over and be amazed by an array of automotive exotica. Indeed, you’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriate venue for the premiere of the BMW Zagato Roadster.

The next stage of a successful collaboration. The decision to launch another collaboration between BMW and Italian coachbuilder Zagato was made only a short time after the BMW Zagato Coupé took its first bow. Encouraged by the positive reaction to the Coupé, Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, and Andrea Zagato soon agreed to take their partnership a step further. On the menu this time would be a Roadster model. “We set ourselves the challenge of preparing the car in time for the renowned Pebble Beach Concours” explains van Hooydonk.

 

The BMW Zagato Roadster was duly conjured up in record haste, with only six weeks separating the first design idea from the finished model. “It was only with the expertise of both companies in the manufacture of high-end one-off cars and another display of outstanding teamwork that we were able to finish the car on schedule,” adds the BMW design supremo.

Andrea Zagato picks up on the theme: “Our success in finishing the car in such a short space of time shows what is possible when two successful companies pool their resources” says Zagato. “BMW is a high-achieving carmaker boasting a vast well of knowledge and technical capability in this area. When you combine that with our expertise in the creation of micro-series cars and our streamlined production processes, everything is in place to produce a beautiful model like the BMW Zagato Roadster in double-quick time”.

 

Zagato – a coachbuilder with a long tradition

Founded by Ugo Zagato in 1919, today Zagato is the only automotive body manufacturer still in independent ownership. From its earliest days, Zagato has taken a minimalist and pared-down approach to its creations, very much in keeping with the Milanese tradition of design. Form takes precedence over details, thanks in part to technical considerations. Body designer Ugo Zagato learned his trade in – among other industries – aviation, where aerodynamics and lightweight construction play a central role. Zagato duly applied these principles rigorously in the construction of cars and soon celebrated a rash of race victories as a body construction partner to Alfa Romeo. The “necessary beauty” of aerodynamics and lightweight construction came to represent a maxim of design, one that has defined the form of every Zagato since.

Today, with Andrea Zagato and Marella Rivolta-Zagato, becoming the third generation of his family to take his seat at the helm, the company describes itself as a design studio combining the emotion and handcraftsmanship of body construction with the precision of state-of-the-art technology. Zagato follows coachbuilding tradition in developing only the shell of the car and leaving the mechanics of the machine untouched. More than 200 Vmax concepts, special editions and micro-series have been created in this way down the years and find appreciation among connoisseurs and collectors the world over. Indeed, all Zagatos are coveted collector’s items today and worth many times what their original owners paid for them.

Photo: BMW

(August 17, 2012)


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