Zagato's 550 GTZ is one of the secret Ferraris that was made from the prying eyes of the press and Ferrari themselves. We first broke the story in 2007 when the Quail Motorsports Gathering had an advertisement for one in their program catalog. Since then, Zagato has denied the existence of the model despite including it in their latest book Zagato Milano 1919-2009: The Official Book.
Zagato and Ferrari's successful relationship started with the 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Panoramica and continued sporadically throughout Ferrari's lengthy history. The most famous example is the Ferrari 250 GT Zagato (GTZ) which helped Camillo Luglio become the Italian sports car champion twice over. We hope one day the relationship between Zagato and Ferrari reaches a similar level.
The new model pays tribute to the old by joining the exclusive group of Ferraris that are custom-built. Like Ferrari's early competition cars, the 575 GTZ has an all-aluminum body and is strictly a two seat affair.
Unlike the five Coupés Zagato made on the 575M Maranello platform, Zagato had to start with the much more exclusive Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina. These had the required chassis strength and provided a basis for the 550 GTZ.
Zagato only built five Coupés and three Barchettas. They first featured a silver example with red interior in their Official Book. A second car in Grigio Silverstone with Sabbia interior appeared at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed as a display model for the Bonhams Auction. This second car was listed as a 2000 model year, which is probably the date the original Barchetta car left the factory. It also appears to be delivered new to England with the British plates WOF19 and has side markers in the front fender vents. Bonhams described it as “one of only five examples of the car bodied by the famous Italian carrozeria Zagato and the only Right Hand Drive example.”
We can only speculate as to why Zagato has tried to remove all traces of the 550 GTZ online. Our best guess is that this model was made without authorization from Ferrari who forbid custom bodies after the P4/5 was completed in 2006.source: http://www.supercars.net/cars/3881.html
by Richard Owen
photos by supercars.net