The fourth of just nine ‘Sanction Lost’ Porsche 356 Zagato Coupés built
Designed by Zagato as instructed by Porsche in 1959
Featuring a bespoke artisan leather interior designed under the art direction of Marella Rivolta-Zagato
Drivetrain overhauled by the longstanding Italian early Porsche specialist Paolo Gandossi
Zagato’s ‘Sanction Lost’ programme
Bellezza Necessaria. That’s ‘Essential Beauty’ in English and describes the design philosophy of the illustrious 102-year-old Milanese design house Zagato. And perhaps nowhere is this rationalist aesthetic approach more obvious than the Porsche 356 Zagato Coupé ‘Sanction Lost’.
First, a little background. In 1957, the decorated French gentleman race and rally driver Claude Storez yearned for more performance from his Porsche 356, so sought the help of Zagato in Milan, which was well known for its lightweight and avant-garde competition bodies.
Storez promptly delivered the chassis of his new 356 A Carrera GS Speedster to Zagato, where its engineers set about handcrafting a slinky open body from featherlight aluminium, not unlike those of Porsche’s 550 Spyder and 718 RSK prototypes.
Like a duck to water. That’s how Storez took to his exotic new German-Italo sports-racing car, quickly racking up a series of impressive results. Tragically, fate intervened and Storez was killed in an accident in 1959. His Porsche – which, by all accounts, was a wreck – vanished, never to be seen again.
Fast-forward to 2015, and with Andrea and Marella Zagato at the helm, the Italian design house was, as it always has done, keeping a steady eye on both its rich past and its future. As such, the decision was taken to digitise its expansive archive and implement a new state-of-the-art three-dimensional mapping system.
During this long and painstaking process, papers were discovered which outlined Zagato’s plans for a 700kg closed-coupé version of Claude Storez’s little speedster made at the behest of Porsche itself, which had been very impressed with the Frenchman’s showings with the car.
For reasons unknown the Porsche 356 Zagato never saw the light of day, but thanks to a small series of sketches created in 1959 by the company’s then-lead designer and, of course, today’s extraordinary technology, Zagato was able to realise this special little car in a strictly limited edition of nine – and with Porsche’s consent.
Conceived as part of its broader ‘Sanction Lost’ programme, the Porsche 356 B Zagato Coupé is an utterly beautiful and voluminous object, with a sharklike nose and voluptuous hips. It’s textbook Zagato. Unsurprising really, as it’s the result of a beautifully complex and painstaking process, one which blended 3D-mapping technology in complete contrast with the traditional coachbuilding techniques employed by Zagato to authentically craft the body, just as it would have been built in 1959.
This Porsche 356 B Zagato Coupé
The fourth of the nine ‘Sanction Lost’ Porsche 356 B Zagato Coupés and the second example we’ve been privileged to source and oversee the construction of for our clients, this beautiful car boasts a number of unique features. Born as a 356 BT5 ‘Super 90’ from 1960, it was delivered to Zagato to be reclothed in the beautifully proportioned alloy body, painstakingly hand-crafted by the design house’s master panel beaters. A classic shade of silver was chosen, in order to show off and accentuate the voluminous curves.
At the behest of the owner, the car’s body, chassis and drivetrain were sent to Paolo Gandossi, an artisan specialist who’s dedicated his life to preserving these precious early Porsches, to be fettled to perfection. Gandossi works on a word-of-mouth basis from his charming workshop in Bergamo.
Once the car had been returned to Zagato, work began on what is undoubtedly its most special feature: the cabin. The entirely bespoke interior was configured together with and under the art direction of Marella Rivolta-Zagato, the granddaughter of Renzo Rivolta – founder of Iso Autoveicoli and the creator of the famous Iso Isetta. An artisan Italian saddler supplied the hide in a special shade of tan, which complements the exterior beautifully. The saddlery is exemplary, from the quilted transmission tunnel and the precisely lined headlining to the dainty bucket seats – sculptural works of art in themselves. Much like the exterior, the interior is an exercise is perfectly judged restraint.
While Zagato honours the coachbuilding traditions of its illustrious past, it is – and always has been – an incredibly forward-thinking company. This fabulous Porsche 356 B ‘Sanction Lost’ is an excellent embodiment of that fact.
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