The Italians are a passionate people. Be it food, fashion or cars, they just seem to care that little bit more about everything, and that is what brings all the difference. Given the purview of ColumnM, the car you see here clearly illustrates this statement. Had the Cizeta Moroder V16T been conceived in any other country, it probably would have never come to life. But that very innate nature of Italians and their passion for cars (and life in whole) is the reason why it exists, enabling us to talk about it.
The Cizeta Moroder V16T was the brainchild of Claudio Zampolli, a former test and development engineer at Automobili Lamborghini who then moved to the US to start his own business of importing and servicing high-performance cars, and Giorgio Moroder, a three-time Oscar-winning music composer who is also credited as being the grandfather of electronic music (and an inspiration for many modern EDM artists and DJs). Moroder was a regular at Zampolli’s outlet and decided to fund his project of building a bespoke supercar with the thought that Moroder’s name would give the car more credibility amongst its rich and influential clientele. Around this time (1987 to be exact) Marcello Gandini, the creator of Lamborghinis such as the Miura, Countach, Espada and Urraco, was tasked with creating a replacement for the Countach. However, the new bosses at Lamborghini, Chrysler, were not happy with the design and decided to further modify it. Gandini was not pleased by this and decided to take his original design to Cizeta-Moroder.So effectively the V16T was a truer spiritual successor to the Countach and not the Diablo, which is the car that the Chrysler modified design eventually became. The cars were built out of a facility in Modena by a team of ex – Lamborghini engineers and mechanics. Nevertheless, between the time the first prototype was shown at the 1989 LA Motor Show and the first production cars left the factory in 1990, Moroder had left the company and the production cars just bore the Cizeta name.
So effectively the Cizeta Moroder V16T was a truer spiritual successor to the Countach than the Diablo, which is the car that the Chrysler modified design eventually became. The cars were built out of a facility in Modena by a team of ex – Lamborghini engineers and mechanics. Nevertheless, between the time the first prototype was shown at the 1989 LA Motor Show and the first production cars left the factory in 1990, Moroder had left the company and the production cars just bore the Cizeta name.
The design of the Cizeta Moroder V16T was typical of Gandini’s work of that period. An angular wedge design, its party tricks were the quad pop – up headlights and a clamshell engine cover. It featured conventional opening doors, visibility for the driver was good and the interiors were roomy. The chassis was simplistic, an aluminium body over a steel tubular space – frame while the suspensions front and back were fully independent, unequal wishbone setups. There were disc brakes on all four wheels, no ABS and a ZF-sourced power steering setup.
Even more intriguing though was the engine, a 6.0-litre V16 which was effectively two flat-plane V8s bolted together. This was mounted transversely and the 5-speed manual was mated longitudinally to the middle of the block making the Cizeta V16T one of the widest cars to ever be made. This was a highly unusual setup for a mid-engined RWD car, but the company decided to go with it because of Zampolli’s vision of creating a truly unique supercar. The engine produced around 560 horsepower and roughly 400 lb-ft (542Nm) of torque. This meant that the 3100 pound (3100kg) car was good for a 0-60mph time of 4.4s and a top speed of 204mph (328kmph). All of this came together to make a car which was uncannily easy to use while being as potent as anything with a V16 should be.
As promising as the Cizeta V16T seemed on paper, it was not a sales success. The $300,000 price tag was twice as much as its closest rival, the Lamborghini Diablo. A lot of tech which could be reasonably expected at that price, things such as carbon fibre components or a four-wheel drive system were missing. The interior, though built to a high standard and using the best possible materials was quite was san amenities and luxuries. Coupled with the fact that the Cizeta name did not carry the weight similar to a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, it wasn’t surprising that only 10 units were sold between 1991 and 1995 when production finally wrapped up. This was way off the target of 50 cars a year that Zampolli had set as target for the company. Another major factor that killed off the project was that the cars were not road legal in the world’s biggest market for exotic and supercars, the United States.
The Cizeta Moroder V16T can be called a precursor to the so-called cottage industry supercars of today, the most successful of which have been Pagani and Koenigsegg. While not a commercial success, the V16T was exceptional as an individual’s interpretation of what a supercar should be. Consequently, it had all the hallmarks of an Italian great – it was passionately built, had good looks and was characterfully quick. It’s just that it was probably a bit ahead of its time.
Photos via Cizeta