CIZETA V16T: The Forgotten Italian Supercar

Cizeta Automobili is a name that not many people are familiar with today. When we speak of Italian supercars, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Pagani are the first to mind but they aren’t the only Italian based manufacturers to produce supercars. Just one of many Italian based supercar manufacturers was Cizeta Automobili. Cizeta Automobili was founded in the late 1980’s by automotive engineer Claudio Zampolli and Giorgio Moroder and they set up shop in Modena, Italy.

Claudio Zampolli had extensive experience in the automotive sector, before creating Cizeta Automobili he was a Ferrari dealer while Giorgio Moroder was a world famous record producer. Cizeta Automobili got it’s name from the Italian pronunciation of Caludio Zampolli’s initials (C Z) and the only product the Italian manufacturer produced was the extreme “Cizeta V16T”.

The prototype of this beautiful supercar was known as the Cizeta-Moroder V16T but no production model was ever badged “Cizeta-Moroder” instead production models were simply badged “Cizeta V16T”.

The V16T was designed by Marcello Gandini and was developed by a group of former Lamborghini employees. The V16T shape was actually the original design for the Lamborghini Diablo by Marcello Gandini while he was still working at Lamborghini but new owners Chrysler modified Gandini’s original design which didn’t impress Gandini. Gandini then joined forces with Zampolli and the V16T was born using Gandini’s original design.

The V16T was powered by a V16 engine that was mounted transversely in the central rear position behind the passenger seats and before the rear axle, connected to a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine was engineered from scratch and was actually 2 flat plane V8’s sharing a single engine block.

When the V16T was launched it was viewed as a hand built supercar that was capable of reaching a top speed of 204mph and it could easily accelerate from 0-60mph in only 4 seconds. The interior was equipped with a host of luxury items and the V16T had an asking price of US$ 300,000 when new in 1991.

Original production of the Cizeta V16T ran from 1991 until the company’s demise in 1995 and although production predictions were at one car per week, Cizeta only built 19 road going examples and 1 prototype. 3 more cars were completed (2 Coupe’s & 1 Spyder) in 1999 and 2003.

These vehicles are something of a rare sight now and to me it seems that Cizeta Automobili and the V16T have been forgotten by all except a few. What should have been a Pagani like story of exotic supercars ended too early not only for Claudio Zampolli but for the world of cars too. Who knows what Cizeta Automobili would have or could have achieved but I’d have loved for them to have stayed around a little longer and to produce a few more examples of these truly wonderful machines.


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