- One of just nine examples completed
- Fewer than 1,000 km (620 miles)
- Ordered new by the Royal Family of Brunei
- Displayed at the 1993 Geneva Motor Show
- Transverse-mounted V-16 with bodywork designed by Marcelo Gandini
By the 1980s, former Lamborghini test driver and development engineer Claudio Zampolli had relocated to Los Angeles and established a successful business servicing the supercars of the wealthy and famous. But his dreams did not end there: Determined to build his own supercar, Zampolli teamed up with music producer Giorgio Moroder as an investor in the late 1980s and embarked on his journey to create an exotic like nothing that had been seen before.
Zampolli wanted something that would grab headlines, and he knew that an innovative V-16 was the answer. Inspired by the engine layout of the Lamborghini Miura, Zampolli’s creation had a transverse mounted 6.0-liter V-16 with a five-speed manual gearbox. The stunning bodywork was penned by legendary designer Marcelo Gandini, who is also known for designing the Miura, Countach, Stratos, and countless other iconic cars.
Zampolli’s partnership with Moroder dissolved after the first prototype, and the cars, initially marketed as the Cizeta-Moroder V16T, went into production wearing only the Cizeta name. Ultimately, only nine examples were completed in the V16T’s initial run due to production delays and the model’s complexity. For Zampolli, however, Cizeta was a success: His dream of building an exclusive supercar of his own design had been accomplished, and the final result was nothing short of spectacular.
Given the Cizeta’s backstory, cost, and exclusivity, it is no surprise that each V16T produced has an interesting backstory. This car, chassis 101, is no exception. After Brunei became an independent country in 1983, the Sultan of Brunei and his family used a portion of their vast oil wealth to build the largest car collection the world had ever seen. Commissioning approximately 2,000 cars from all different manufacturers, the Royal Family singlehandedly kept many luxury brands in business through the tough years of the 1990s. Their search for the most exclusive and technically advanced cars money could buy led them to Cizeta. The Royal Family purchased three of the nine Cizeta V16Ts built: This blue example and two black examples.
Chassis 101 was ordered by Hong Seh Motors of Singapore on behalf of the Brunei Royal Family. Hong Seh was the official Ferrari dealership in Singapore, and many cars from the Royal Family’s collection were ordered through them. Finished in blue with blue leather interior and with right hand drive, chassis 101 was used in press photo shoots throughout Italy and was displayed at the 1993 Geneva Auto Show. Nearly all 983 kilometers (~611 miles) on the odometer at the time of cataloguing are believed to have been accumulated during testing by the factory in this period. Interestingly, chassis 101 has horizontal slats over the side air intakes like the prototype, while most other examples have vertical slats.
Chassis 101 was shipped from Modena to Asia in March 1993; for unknown reasons, it remained with Hong Seh Motors in Singapore for over 25 years and was never delivered to Brunei. Pininfarina subsequently heavily modified the other two V16Ts purchased by the Royal Family with Ferrari flat-12 engines and irreversible structural changes. One of those cars remains in an incomplete disassembled state, while the other is displayed in the Marconi Museum in Tustin, California. Chassis 101 is the only V16T from the Brunei Royal Family’s collection to have escaped this fate and today remains just as it arrived in Singapore.
The current owner purchased chassis 101 from Hong Seh Motors in 2020 and returned the car to driving condition after its two-and-a-half-decade stay in Singapore. It has recently had all the fluids changed, the cooling system serviced, and the fuel system cleaned. With its innovative transverse-mounted V-16 positioned close to the passengers, the owner reports that it is a thrill to drive with a unique sound unlike any other supercar.
The Cizeta V16T is a seldom seen but incredibly interesting supercar which still remains one of very few post-war sixteen-cylinder production cars. With incredible performance, a stunning design, fascinating history, and utmost exclusivity, this V16T will surely stand out wherever it goes.