The reprinted second volume of the Hispano-Suiza and Pegaso books is now available from the online shop.
The book covers the career of Catalan engineer Wifredo Ricart and his early designs and creations of the 1920s and 1930s in Spain- (Ricart y Peréz 1922-26), S.A. Automóviles Ricart (1926-28) and Ricart España (1928-30). Ricart then moved to Italy and was employed by Alfa Romeo as a consultant engineer from 1936 to 1945, where he was involved in the design and building of the Alfa Romeo Tipo 162 V-16 and the mid-engined flat-12 Tipo 512 racing cars, only for WWII to interrupt developments, so neither car was raced. It was during this period that Ricart clashed with Enzo Ferrari, who was racing-team manager for Alfa Romeo at the time.
In the early war years Ricart designed and built the extraordinary 28-cylinder 2,000bhp Tipo 1101 Alfa Romeo aero-engine, which had seven banks of four cylinders and was exceptionally light and compact.
Ricart, accompanied by a small group of loyal Italian engineers and ex-collegues, left Alfa Romeo and chaotic Italy in 1945 and returned to Barcelona. They were recruited by the government of Generalissimo Franco to create a new truck-building company, Pegaso, to produce desperately-needed trucks and buses for Spain, which they did with great success, designing and developing a number of modern industrial vehicles. Most of this took place in the ex- Hispano-Suiza factory in Barcelona, taken over by the government for this purpose, complete with the highly-skilled and experienced workforce which had previously built Marc Birkigt’s Hispano-Suiza T-35 aero-engines.
Part of Ricart’s remit was to educate and train a new generation of Spanish engineers, technicians and mechanics able to deal with modern technologies being used throughout Europe, but which were sorely lacking in Spain. The astonishingly advanced Pegaso Z-102 and Z-103 sportscars of 1951-1957 were in part the result of this training program, giving hands-on experience to legions of apprentices and enhancing Spain’s prestige as a new motor-manufacturing nation.
Only 86 Pegaso sportscars were made in total before Ricart was ordered to desist and concentrate on trucks and buses again by a reactionary management under political control. The political, social and economic influences which dictated Spain’s progress through the post-civil war era of 1939-1960 are also studied as they are important backgrounds to the evolution of the Pegaso company.
Mainly Spanish sources have been used to give an accurate picture of events leading up to Ricart’s creation of the legendary Pegaso sportscars and their subsequent careers in motorsport or on the Concours d’Elégance circuits. Many Z-102s have survived, despite determined efforts by Pegaso management in the late 1950s to erase them from the company’s history. Pegaso sportscars are now highly-prized worldwide.
ISBN 978-0-9547363-5-4. A4 format, soft covers, 117 pages with colour and b/w images throughout, mostly contemporary with the period.
“The two-volume set by David Beare tells the fascinating stories of Marc Birkigt and Wifredo Ricart, and the two marques they created in Spain. This is not simply a chronological list of the model details but a very comprehensive history with the scene being set by a potted history of Spain and events on the Iberian peninsula, including the brutal Nazi air-raid on Guernica, and the effects on Spanish industry….The illustrations are simply superb, including sectional drawings of engines and reproductions of wonderful Art Deco posters. Either volume will stand alone but at £28 each you should really treat yourself to both, once started you won’t be able to put them down”. VSCC club magazine March 2018 Library review.
“Just a short note to confirm safe receipt of the second volume of your, dare I say, monumental work. I very much appreciate your dealing with the subject in the historic political/economical context. An example to follow!” DP, Netherlands.
“Your format of books proves it is possible to offer a lot of information at a good price”. JF, Czech Republic.