The Cizeta V16T
We all know and love the Lamborghini Diablo. It’s one of the icons which defined its era (usually with cars, the times defined them; only a handful serve as a true standard bearer – e.g. Jaguar E-Type, Lamborghini Countach, Plymouth Superbird). However, what if I told you that the Diablo you know wasn’t supposed to exist? What if something far crazier was meant to hold that name, too crazy for Lamborghini at the time…(and when you say something is too mental for Lamborghini, it really has to be out there)?
Meet the Cizeta V16T. Actually you may know it from the Gran Turismo games to which it was fortunately added from GT4 (2004) on. Brainchild of engineer Claudio Zampolli and composer (yup…composer, songwriter, producer) Giorgio Moroder, the V16T was designed by the legendary Marcello Gandini, father of some of the greatest looking cars ever made. Amongst Gandini’s work we find the Stratos, the Montreal, the Khamsin and the most amazing concept car ever made, the 33 Carabo (there are links for pictures on all those names by the way, so if you’re having a particularly bad day just go right ahead and look at something pretty to make it all better). However, what’s truly relevant to this article is for you to know that Mr. Gandini also designed a little something you may have heard of before by the name of Miura…and then a few years later, he came up with another interesting design which ended up being called Countach…
For years, Gandini’s vision defined the name Lamborghini, but when it was time to get the Diablo in the works, the company was already owned by Chrysler and despite we having been left with the most wonderful of gifts from this strange union (the Viper), Chrysler felt that Gandini’s design was simply too radical, that 4 pop up headlights for instance were a tad much. So they had a design team go over the whole thing and what was left is what we now know to be the Diablo. Who’d think this was a watered down version? Naturally, the whole affair made Mr. Gandini very crossed because he didn’t take lightly to Chrysler’s meddling and tinkering to his Diablo vision. So, he took the Bender school of approach to rejection and just made his own. Zampolli needed a design, Gandini needed a car to “dress up”…it all came together.
Named after Claudio Zampolli’s initials – C.Z. read as “ci” and “zeta” in Italian – since the partnership with Moroder didn’t exactly last long, the V16T gets his name from the unique way in which its 16 cylinder engine is mounted: transversely, coupled with a longitudinal gearbox, creating a “T” shape. It takes a very, very wide car to handle a V16 mounted in such a manner, 81.0 inches to be exact, wider than the widest car in production today, the Aventador (at 79.9). The Cizeta’s V16 is the product of a merger between 2 Ferrari V8’s, sharing a custom cast block. The 64 valves beast will produce 520bhp (so it beats the Diablo’s 490 something) and propel the Cizeta from 0 to 60 in around 4.5 seconds. Not exactly FTL, but not terrible either.
So how did the V16T do as far as commercial success? Well, not great. Starting at $300.000.00, the car was considerably more expensive than its nemesis half twin (Diablo). Sources vary as far as how many Cizetas were actually produced; some say 9, others 10/11 in the original 1991 to 1995 run (when the company went bust), with 3 others being made between 1999 and 2003. One of which was the stunning TTJ Spyder, a one of a kind roadster with yellow exterior and red leather upholstery that popped up for sale way back in 2004 and that is still currently listed with F.A. Automobile and, apparently, available for an undisclosed sum.
If you want a regular Cizeta however, well you’re in luck because there’s one for sale in the Czech Republic (part of a private collection) for just 485 grand! Better move fast…
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.