1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

The Cizeta-Moroder V16T prototype is for sale

If history was just a little off back in the Nineties we would have seen a totally different Lamborghini Diablo on the road at that time, but with Chrysler taking over the Sant’Agata company, the original Marcello Gandini design for the Lamborghini Countach successor was rejected and a small sidestep was taken with a Zagato design until the design studio from Chrysler in the US together with Gandini created the Lamborghini Diablo we know today … but Marcello’s original design wouldn’t be lost in the archives.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Claudio Zampolli, a former Lamborghini test driver and development engineer moved to the United States in the eighties to start an exotic car service point, but his dream was to build an exotic car himself, long story short, Zampoli teamed up with Giorgio Moroder, a famous music composer, and producer, in the late eighties to build a car the likes the world had never seen before … a 6-Liter, V16 supercar.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

As usual in business deals that involve a lot of money or the creation of a brand new car maker with their first model being built from scratch, problems came up during the build, and due to delays in building the first prototype, Giorgio Moroder pulled out of the deal before the first customer car was ever finished, only a prototype show car was completed, which is the only one in the world that comes with the Cizeta Moroder name tag, the subsequent production cars were just called the Cizeta V16T.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The world hadn’t seen many V16 cars, and that’s exactly why Claudio Zampolli wanted his supercar to come with this exotic engine, he actually combined two V-8 engines to achieve a 6-Liter V16 engine coupled to a five-speed gearbox, and while no horsepower figures were ever published, the Cizeta V16T should reach 328 km/h (204 mph) and accelerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds … naturally, such an exotic car needed a bespoke body design that would be equally impressive as the engine itself.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The design of the Cizeta V16T was clearly inspired by Gandini’s original design for the Lamborghini Diablo, but Zampoli did ask to drop the famous upward-opening doors, on the Cizeta the doors open in a regular fashion, to the side, but you have to admire the way the Cizeta headlights work … remember we’re talking late eighties, early nineties, and pop-up headlights were in style at that time, and with a V16 engine behind the seats, why not go for a total of four pop-up pods holding lights at the front.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Cizeta Moroder V16T prototype, chassis 001, was the official show car at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, but it would take two more years before the first production car was sold to a customer, in 1991, with an MSRP of $650,000 (compare that to a Lamborghini Diablo that was $290,000 back in 1991), and while the Cizeta V16T was an incredible looking car, in the end only 9 customer cars were ever made, at an auction held by RM Sotheby’s back in January 2021 one of the RHD production models was sold for $668,000, but the car we are looking at in this article is even more exclusive.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

For one this is the actual prototype, the only car that is called the Cizeta Moroder V16T and the one with a large number of horizontal slats on the side intake, the production cars came with vertical slots, apart from the special RHD model at the 1993 Geneva Show that also came with horizontal slats, 6 in total, this prototype has seven in total. This prototype is also the only model with this dashboard and steering wheel, both were changed for the nine production cars, in fact just about the entire interior was altered before the first customer car left the assembly line.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Chassis number 001 was unveiled in Los Angeles on December 5, 1988, during an event hosted by none other than Jay Leno, later the car would be shipped to Los Angeles for the Auto Show and all the way to Switzerland for the March 1989 Geneva Motor Show, finished in pearl-white metallic over a bright red leather interior, the car would remain in this color combination throughout its entire life, and more importantly, the car was owned by Giorgio Moroder ever since, he kept her in storage for all these years.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

However, we are talking about a 30-year-old prototype car here, so over time there are bound to be some issues, being in storage for decades isn’t necessarily a good thing, so in 2018 Moroder decided to have Canepa Design do a full mechanical restoration, the latter found that this functional prototype needed some improvements made to make sure it could be used on the open road like for instance extra heat shielding around the fuel tanks. After the team at Canepa Design was happy with the mechanicals they took the car on a road test to make sure she was completely sorted before returning her to Mr. Moroder.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Today Giorgio Moroder decided it was time to part with this illustrious prototype, the one and only Cizeta Moroder V16T in the world, chassis 001 of less than 15 cars ever made, one single Cizeta Moroder V16T and 12 or 13 Cizeta V16T, the opportunity to obtain an actual show car prototype rarely comes around in a lifetime, and this one is looking you right into the eyes, the RM Sotheby’s auction listing isn’t even showing an estimate on this one for their Arizona action on January 27, 2022, but with the 1993 model sold in January 2021 for $665,000, my guess is this one will go over the $1,000,000 mark in a few months.

1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Patrick Ernzen ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s