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Friday, January 27, 2023

Father of Disco’s Cizeta-Moroder had ’80s looks, double pop-up lights and a V16

Auction house RM Sotheby’s is giving collectors with a penchant for obscure Italian supercars from the 1980s a rare opportunity. One of the classics it will offer during its January 2022 sale is the original Cizeta-Moroder V16T prototype that was displayed at several car shows.

Cizeta-Moroder isn’t a household name. When you think “Italian wedge,” odds are you imagine a Lamborghini Countach (or maybe a slice of parmesan). The short-lived company was founded by former Lamborghini test driver and engineer Claudio Zampolli with funding from music producer and composer Giorgo Moroder, who is also known as the Father of Disco. Bertone’s Marcello Gandini was commissioned to design the car, and Zampolli decided to power it with a 6.0-liter V16 engine in order to one-up better established supercar firms like Ferrari.

Mounted transversally behind the passenger compartment, the naturally-aspirated 16-cylinder engine sent about 520 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. These numbers were huge for the late 1980s when Lamborghini’s Countach put 449 horses under your right foot and a BMW M3 was rated at 220 horsepower. Zampolli and Moroder worked together long enough to build a running and driving prototype but the relationship between the two men quickly soured. The car was consequently renamed Cizeta V16T, and Zampolli built nine additional examples before his company filed for bankruptcy in 1994.

The original prototype is the only example built with “Cizeta-Moroder” badging, and it’s still owned by Moroder. RM Sotheby’s explains that the prototype was unveiled in December 1988 at an upscale gathering held in Los Angeles and hosted by Jay Leno. It was also displayed at the 1989 editions of the Los Angeles and Geneva auto shows. Several key details differentiate it from the production versions: the air intakes on both sides are bigger, and parts like the turn signals, the door mirrors, and nearly everything inside are specific to chassis number 001.

Moroder reportedly had the car refurbished by California-based Bruce Canepa in 2018 after keeping it in storage for many years. It’s said to be in running and driving condition and its odometer displays 322 kilometers, which represents approximately 200 miles.

If you think this V16T belongs in your collection, you’re in luck: it’s scheduled to cross the auction block during an RM Sotheby’s sale taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 27, 2022. We don’t have a pre-auction estimate yet, but nothing suggests that the winning bidder will score the deal of a lifetime. In 2021, RM Sotheby’s sold a 1993 model (chassis number 101) for $665,000. We’re guessing that the original prototype will sell for considerably more money considering its historical significance and the fact that it’s a documented one-owner car.

Several other classic cars shaped like a door stop will be looking for their next home in Phoenix in January 2022. RM’s catalog also includes a 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, a 1995 Ferrari 512 M, a 1978 Maserati Bora 4.9, and a no-reserve 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. 

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