Short of going looking for a lost one-off masterpiece, there could scarcely be a rarer supercar for the would-be owner-driver to pursue — for just eight examples of the Cizeta-Moroder V16T were built by Cizeta Automobili in the 1990s and two of those are owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The cars arose from a partnership between Ferrari dealer Claudio Zampolli and record producer Giorgio Moroder.
They built a prototype designed by Marcello Gandini in the late 1980s. It was similar to Gandini’s Lamborghini Diablo, as General Motors had modified his design for the Diablo, leaving him free to offer the original to Cizeta. In fact, the prototype was the only car to carry a Cizeta-Moroder badge, as Giorgio Moroder pulled out before the first production car was built. And what a car it was.
The engine was a transversely mounted V16 that consisted of two coupled V8s sharing a single block, with gearing between them providing output from the centre of the engine to longitudinal transmission. The engine was mounted forward of the rear axle, tight behind the seats, and carried on a honeycomb aluminium chassis. Transmission was five-speed manual. The wide, two-door coupe styling was typically Italian, as was performance — the V16T could outrun just about anything else that was street-legal.
This was supposed to be the key to success, but the timing was bad. Recession loomed and the dwindling band of buyers with $400,000 to spend on a supercar were not inclined to go for an unknown name, however good the performance. The V16T was competing both with established makers like Ferrari and newcomers like McLaren, at a time when speculators suddenly stopped buying high-performance cars for investment purposes. It was too much for Cizeta to bear, and the company went bust in 1995
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1991 (until 1995)
5,995 cc V16 (Two DOHC flat-plane V8s)
Top speed of 204 mph (328 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Claudio Zampolli moved to America after Cizeta Automobili went bust, and continued to offer the Cizeta V16T on a custom-built basis from Fountain Valley, California.