PH Blog: has Zagato finally lost it?
Harris muses on Zagato's greatest hits and recent misses
the Zagato Coupe.
This car unintentionally reminds us just how good the original Z3 M Coupe still looks. Yes, design and styling are the preserve of individual opinion, so I am speaking for the majority of just one male Englishman when I say that I think it looks like a Marcos TSO dry-humping a wincing BMW Z4. For the avoidance of doubt that's not a good thing.
The clever people in the marketing department will have to explain why BMW needed to build this car, or what it achieves for the brand in the post-Bangle recovery era. I have no idea.
The trouble with attempting to deconstruct the hits and misses is the exposure to one's own weird tastes and predilections - and the further you investigate your own responses to Zagato styling, the more you begin to see method in the madness.
Last week I saw an 80s Aston V8 Zagato at Hexagon Classics - I have always loved that car. I have no idea why, I cannot explain why its awkwardness appeals to me - perhaps as a child of the 80s it's the concentration of that decade's design language that does it. Alfa SZ? I love them. I'm not interested that it splits opinion or that its finished form appears to have been defined by a desire to scare infant pedestrians - I just love the thing. Why do I crave and SZ and think the DB7 Zagato is the Leslie Ash of auto facial alteration? If I could answer that, I'd be running my own Le Mans team with my small change.
But when in-house design studios are making more beautiful cars than the supposed specialists, you have to worry for the future of places like Zagato and Pininfarina. There are direct parallels with the tuning industry: Brabus had a place in the world when the most powerful AMG offered 370hp. Now Mercedes' own creations are so potent people needn't seek outside assistance. The in-house skills appear to be rendering those of the specialist contractor unnecessary. I suppose one way of looking at the issue would be compiling a list of brands PHers think would benefit from an injection of Italian sophistication.
It's just on recent form, there doesn't seem to be much to gain beyond a space on a patio by a lake in Italy.