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Defunct
Pegaso (Spanish for "Pegasus") was a Spanish brand of trucks, buses, tractors and armoured vehicles, and, for a while, of impressive sport cars. The parent company, Enasa, was created in 1946 based on the old Hispano-Suiza factory, under the direction of the renowned automotive engineer Wifredo Ricart. The main Pegaso plants were located in Barcelona, Madrid and Valladolid.

Enasa, a state-owned company, had its main business interest in the truck and bus market. Therefore Pegaso became one of the leading European industrial vehicles makers, with significant export activity both to Europe and Latin America; the Benelux, Venezuela and Cuba were Pegaso biggest markets, while a substantial contract to supply tactical trucks to the Egyptian Army was signed in late 70s.

Between 1946 and 1990 Pegaso built 350,000+ units, yearly maximum production being 26,000+ in 1974.

The forties

First Enasa produced truck, just a slightly modified Hispano-Suiza 66G, was the Pegaso I, of which only a few units were made along 1946 and 47, mostly due to the severe shortages of the post-war era. An enhanced, but still petrol-engined, version, the Pegaso II (model code Z-203), was launched in late 1947 and reached some hundreds of units, while awaiting for a much needed diesel model. This was the 125hp Pegaso Diesel (Z-202), nicknamed Mofletes (chubby cheeks) for its rounded bulbous front end, that made its debut in 1949 and quickly stablished itself as the leader of the in those days weak Spanish truck market. Artic tractor, road train and coach or bus versions were also available soon, and all togheter they became El camión español (The Spanish truck), as proudly stated Enasa badges and advertisements.

The fifties

Pegaso built about a hundred high-end Z-102 sports cars in the 1950s. The cars were in many ways advanced for the time, as they had all wheel independent suspension, a five-speed gearbox, and were offered with the choice of Touring, Saoutchik or Enasa's own luxury bodies.

While in 1954 the old Pegaso Diesel engine was uprated to 140hp, other Ricart's masterpiece, the Pegaso Z-207 truck, was ready to enter mass production, as it actually was from 1955 to 1959. It featured a splendid V6 engine and an unforgettable cab, which was also used in other Pegaso truck models in the 1960s and '70s, becoming a piece of the Spanish landscape.

Also technically advanced was the Pegaso Z-403 Monocasco, a two-level monocoque (chassisless) coach, fitted with the 125-hp diesel engine mounted amidships, and built between 1951 and 1957. Along these years Pegaso built too the more conventional Z-404 coach or urban bus chassis, that used to receive a striking body by Seida of Bilbao, and the Z-501 trolleybus, which featured electric equipment by Cenemesa.

The sixties and seventies

In the 1960s and 1970s Pegaso kept pace with the impressive economic development of Spain (the so-called Spanish miracle), and tens of thousands of Pegaso trucks and buses ran through Spanish roads and cities and, more important, crossed borders in TIR sealed container traffic to link the Spanish economy with the European Economic Community, the Pegaso flagship by then being the 2011 artic tractor. In those years Pegaso marketed a full variety of commercial vehicles, the top of the line being 8x4 rigids, 6x4 semi-trailer tractors, 6x6 off-road dumpers and military armoured vehicles, a five-axle 10x4 special conversion for the Dutch market, and three-axle articulated buses; all of them featuring Pegaso's own engines of up to 352-horsepower.

In 1961 began the production of Pegaso Monotral buses and coaches, based on an Italian Viberti design that gave rise to a long line of Pegaso chassisless new models along two decades. First of the series was the successful 6030-N coach, equipped with an underfloor horizontal engine and single-tyre rear axle, making it a very light yet full-length vehicle.

In 1963 the aforementioned Seida reached an agreement with German Kässbohrer to license-build Setra chassisless coaches. These were equiped with Pegaso engines and other mechanical units and were marketed with simultaneous double badge as Setra Seida S14 and Pegaso 5070. Despite being rather expensive, these coaches were very successful in the Spanish market and competed well with Pegaso own Monotrals and all the other conventional chassis+body models. This was Pegaso main OEM business, other being to provide engines for railcars and shunter locomotives.

In 1968 Enasa took over S.A.V.A., and a year later the whole Sava range of light vehicles, with roots in British BMC designs, was rebadged as Pegaso.

In 1972 a new full range of heavy trucks was launched, featuring a spacious and moder-looking cubic-shaped cab. From then on the corresponding artic tractors, first the 250hp 2080 model, and later on the 310hp tilt-cab 2181, became the pervasive workhorses in Spanish highways.

The eighties

In the 1980s, suffering from the saturation of the European truck market, Enasa looked for some kind of joint venture with other truck makers. A failed association in 1978 with International Harvester had resulted in Enasa taking over the British Seddon Atkinson. Later on an agreement with DAF Trucks produced new heavy models of both makes, the DAF 95 and Pegaso Troner, both launched in 1987, as well as the Seddon-Atkinson Strato which used the same cab.

In the rally-racing side, Pegaso all-wheel-drive trucks won the 1985 Rallye des Pharaons and the 1986 Paris-Dakar.

The end

After a last-minute aborted joint takeover by Daimler-Benz and MAN, Iveco bought eventually Enasa in 1990. At that time Pegaso offering included the Ekus (light), Mider (medium), Troner (heavy), Trakker (off-road) and Podium (buses and coaches) ranges; while a 500hp futuristic concept truck with design by Francisco Podadera, the Pegaso Solo 500, had been exhibited in the 1989 Barcelona Motor Show.

Shortly afterwards the Iveco take over, most of the Pegaso ranges disappeared from the market. In July, 12th, 1993 the very last Pegaso Troner went out the production line in the Barajas (Madrid) plant, and this date is commonly referred to as the one of the "death of Pegaso"; but Iveco proceeded with selling Pegaso badged military trucks still for a couple of years.


See also

References

  • Lage, Manuel (1992). Hispano-Suiza/Pegaso: Un siglo de camiones y autobuses. Lunwerg Editores, S.A. ISBN 847782236 0

External links

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