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Zagato (top center), in a group photo with car enthusiasts
Classic Cars Museum hosts Zagato 2 of the rarest Aston Martin cars put on display as Italian brand marks 95th ’versary

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 26: “There’s a general interest for cars in the Gulf but unlike other Gulf countries Kuwaitis are linking their interests in cars to their culture and it’s the idea of preserving cars which makes Kuwait special”, says Dr Andreas Zagato, CEO of prestigious Italian automobile design house, Zagato, as he spoke at a press conference Saturday held in the exhibition hall of the Historical, Vintage & Classic Cars Museum in Shuwaikh with museum directors, Mustafa Makhseed and Zakaria Dashti in attendance. The Zagato CEO whose visit to Kuwait is part of the 95th anniversary celebrations of his company’s establishment stated that after participating in the 2011 Concourse d’Elegance in Kuwait, the country became a fixed point in his calendar. “I’m here as part of the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the Zagato brand which was established in 1919.

A number of events are planned as part of the anniversary which includes the unveiling of some world premier cars for this year in Kuwait. Through the ninety-five year history of the company, emphasis has been on four major sports brands- Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati and Lamborghini. As part of the anniversary celebration, Zagato unveiled a special exhibition of two of some of the rarest Aston Martin car models designed by him at the museum. While on the visit he’d also be exploring ways of cooperation jointly on future projects with the museum.

Dr Zagato who is the grandson of Ugo Zagato the originator of the Milan-based Zagato design company in 1919, stated that his company is going to be probably the last independent atelier automobile brand in the world and the last, not only independent, but also the last atelier that is capable of keeping its relationship with all major sports brands. The Zagato boss said he was impressed by the Car Museum’s collection which he noted was special compared to what he had seen in other Gulf countries.
As to when, where and what type of car his company is planning to unveil to the world in connection with the anniversary, Zagato said that was a closely guarded secret, especially from the media.

Regarding his personal relationship with race cars, the sports automobile designer revealed that his father graduated from being an engine tuner in the production line working with his grandfather who was a body maker in the same line to becoming a racing driver. The former engine tuner/racer went on to establish the Ferrari brand. Dr Andreas Zagato stated the staging of the Concourse d’Elegance in Kuwait for two consecutive times, has permanently imprinted Kuwait in his mind, adding that all Italians, Spaniards and indeed Europeans who came to Kuwait for the Concourse still fondly remember the passion, the hospitality the locals extended to them during the course of the event. He added that he was even more impressed when he was invited to see the car museum and the new SIRBB Circuit next door to the museum.

Hinting further on the possibility of bilateral cooperation with the museum, the Zagato CEO stated that the sports car is a passion and very much like a toy and is not very much connected to the utility of a car or the car as a consumable item “I have seen here in Kuwait a lot of passion for cars and this gives us a lot of energy to work in this field”. On designs for the cars, Zagato said with 50% of clients originating from the United States and Europe, the designs tend to be influenced sometimes along those geographic areas, adding however that as the client base in the Middle East region grows, the vision on the designs as well could be influenced accordingly.

Understanding the difference between consumables and collectibles is what drives the demand for some of the designs. In Kuwait there’s a passion for cars that were started fifty years ago and the display of presidential cars in the museum demonstrates the prevalence of a culture for modern design industrial objects not found in other Gulf countries. “There’s a general interest for cars in the Gulf but unlike other Gulf countries Kuwaitis are linking their interests in cars to their culture and it’s the idea of preserving cars which makes Kuwait special”, noted Dr Zagato.

Zagato likened the success of his company to the popular Italian classic car race driven at top speeds though villages and along country roads where enthusiastic fans get perilously close to the tracks to shake the drivers’ hands. He said the whole project of car design is happening like Mille Miglia which is all based on the enthusiasm of the people, adding that “Mille Miglia without Italians along the road screaming and shouting and shaking the pilots’ hands is not Mille Miglia, so the passion of the people makes the show. People are inspired by the passion because we do our best in designing and producing something they can share with people coming to the show”.

By Iddris Seidu
Arab Times Staff

By: Iddris Seidu

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