Today’s Rare Ride is one of those stand-out vehicles which had little (if any) real competition. Ten lamps up front, two seats in the middle, and 16 cylinders at the back. It’s a wonder it doesn’t take off in flight.
Let’s cover some company history first. Founded in 1988, Cizeta Automobili was headquartered in Modena, Italy. The brand was named after the initials of its founder, Claudio Zampolli. Zampolli was an enterprising Ferrari dealer, who wanted to make an exclusive high-performance ride for the extremely wealthy. Circa 1988, music composer Giorgio Moroder took his Lamborghini for service at Zampolli’s garage, heard about the new company, and bought a stake. For a short while, the brand was Cizeta-Moroder.
The Cizeta’s design existed before the company was formed. When Lamborghini fell under the control of Chrysler in 1987, the Italian firm had a fledgling project underway for the Diablo and had hired Marcelo Gandini to pen the design. With its new controlling interest, Chrysler’s designers played like wet blankets and toned down the Diablo’s original look considerably. Most displeased, Gandini turned to other companies who might actually build his daring original design. Enter Cizeta.
With the Cizeta’s exterior design handled, the HQ in Modena hired many former Lamborghini employees who were ready to trounce the legendary Italian supercar producer. Naturally, they sourced a Lamborghini engine for the job: the 3.0-liter flat-plane V8 from the discontinued Uracco. But that wouldn’t do on its own, so they grabbed another Uracco V8. Cizeta’s engineers fit both engines into a custom block, and thus the 6.0-liter V16 engine was born. Five-hundred and sixty horsepower was on tap, and 400 torques. The only transmission available to tame the engine was a five-speed manual from ZF.
Performance figures are still very impressive today: 62 miles per hour in four seconds and a top speed of 204. The price for the exclusive supercar was another impressive figure, $280,000 per Car and Driver in a 1989 estimate. That’s $599,000 adjusted for inflation.
The company produced a prototype in 1990, which was the only car ever to wear a Cizeta-Moroder badge. Mister Moroder pulled out of the project before official production started, and took the prototype as part of the divorce. V16Ts headed down the line in 1991 for model-year ’92 and remained in production in Italy through 1995. Everything halted after just seven V16Ts were produced. At that point, Cizeta moved its HQ to Los Angeles and completed three more cars randomly. One or two were born circa 1999, and a new Spyder version in 2003. The V16T remained “in production” officially through at least 2018, but none were completed after 2003. Draw your own conclusions there.
Today’s electric blue V16T has covered just 610 miles since 1993 and has considerable provenance. It was the one displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in its day, is the only Cizeta ever painted in blue, and was previously owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Priced upon request, should you dare.