A working prototype version of the mad V16 supercar will be auctioned early next year
Ever wondered how it might have looked had Lamborghini decided in the late 1980s that its trademark penchant for overkill didn’t go quite far enough? You don’t have to imagine – one merely needs to take a closer look at the fantastically absurd Cizeta-Moroder V16T.
As a kick-off, it was designed by Marcello Gandini, the chap behind the Miura, Countach and plenty of other Lamborghini greatest hits. The short-lived company was also largely staffed by ex-Lambo employees, and the V16T was powered by a Lambo engine. Two, in fact.
A pair of Uracco 90-degree flat-plane V8s were joined to create a thoroughly weird V16. The 6.0-litre unit featured one block but four separate cylinder heads and eight camshafts. Somehow, the engineers managed to mount this beast of an engine transversely. It drives the rear wheels via a five-speed transaxle gearbox, providing 540bhp and a top speed of 204mph. This made the Cizeta-Moroder marginally faster than the original Lamborghini Diablo, which was launched a year prior.
The Moroder bit of the company name comes from – believe it or not – Italian electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder, who co-founded the concern with former Lamborghini test driver and engineer Claudio Zampolli. Giorgio helped bankroll the operation, but ran out of patience and parted ways with Zampolli before production started amidst delays.
By that point, only one prototype had been built, which was to be the only example to officially carry the ‘Cizeta-Moroder’ name. It’s this car you can see in these images, which was retained by Moroder himself after its life as a show car concluded.
V16T chassis number 001 was fully restored by Bruce Canepa in Scotts Valley, California via a recommendation from Jay Leno. To make it suitable for regular road use, Canepa and his team added various upgrades including new heat shielding around the fuel tanks.
Compared to the production version, the pearl white 1988 prototype has bigger side intakes with more strakes (hey, it was the 80s) and a cabin with different dashboard, steering wheel and door card designs. There’s also a big diagonal crease along the lower part of the bodywork not found on the customer cars.
Moroder has now decided to part ways, providing a rare opportunity to someone pretty brave and/or with vast cash reserves. There are only 10 of these things in existence – this prototype, and nine production cars. In the end, the V16T was much too complicated and expensive to build, making a longer run impossible.
V16T 001 was originally due to go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Car Week event in August but was withdrawn before the sale. Instead, it’s now offered as a lot at the auction house’s Phoenix, Arizona sale on 27 January 2022. No estimate is given, but to give you an idea of how much it’ll go for, a production V16T sold for $665,000 at the RM’s Arizona auction in January 2021.