- One of about 500 produced
- Shown in eye-catching yellow paintwork
Not Zagato’s regular fare, the rationale for designing the Zele was straightforward: Zagato’s traditional market of handmade Italian GT cars was being eaten away by cheap rivals at Ford, Opel and Datsun. First displayed at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show, the electric-powered Zele proved to be eerily prescient – just a year later the global fuel crisis had hit.
Offered here is a Zele ‘1000’ – designated as such due to the wattage available from its Marelli electric motor. With a glass fibre bodywork over a steel framed chassis, the Zele was derived from the Fiat 500 and Fiat 124 and powered by four 12-volt batteries. As seen here, the batteries are easily charged simply by plugging them directly into the main supply, via a transformer. With a top speed of 25 mph, the Zele has a range of approximately 50 miles when properly charged.
According to the current owner, this Zele remained with its original owner for 11 years, who used the car regularly. After selling the car in 1985, it passed through two private collections before being purchased by the consignor. In 2011, it was subject to a nut-and-bolt restoration, and a photo album of the restoration process accompanies the car today.