Zagato is an independent coachbuilding company and total design center located northwest of Milan in the Terrazzano frazione of Rho, Lombardy, Italy. The company's premises occupy an area of 23,000 square metres (250,000 sq ft), of which 11,000 square metres (120,000 sq ft) are covered.
The 1910s: Aeronautics: Ugo Zagato (he was born in Gavello, near Rovigo, on June 25, 1890) began his coachbuilding career in 1919 when he left Officine Aeronautiche Pomilio to set up his own business in Milan. This was: “the construction and repair of bodies for automobiles and airplanes”. He did so with the intent of transferring sophisticated constructional techniques that combined lightness with strength from the aeronautics to the automotive sector. Cars of the time were still bulky and heavy: Ugo Zagato conceived them as lightweight structures, with a frame in sheet aluminium similar to an aircraft fuselage. This change in direction came to represent a fundamental chapter in the history of taste and saw, in Europe, the adoption of the concept of functionalism applied to automotive design.
The 1920s: Racing cars:During the 20s Zagato concentrated on racing cars. In the beginning of the decade he was asked by Alfa Romeo to dress some Alfa Romeo RLs. But in 1925 Vittorio Jano, Alfa Romeo’s Chief Engineer, asked him to create a body for the Alfa 6C 1500, the Alfa Romeo P2’s heir, which should have been light and fast. Zagato, using his Aeronautics culture, succeeded in creating a sleek and light body for the car, which scored a 2nd place OA at the 1927 Mille Miglia and it won the 1928 edition. The 6C 1500 technical qualities were improved also on the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, which was introduced in 1927. It was bodied in several versions (Turismo, Sport or Granturismo, Super Sport or Gran Sport) and achieved overall victories in the Mille Miglia in 1929 (Campari-Ramponi) and 1930 (Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, Giuseppe Campari and Pietro Ghersi filled the first four places). Enzo Ferrari started his career at Alfa Romeo in 1929 then founded Scuderia Ferrari as the official team for race Alfas. Also Bugatti, Maserati, Diatto, OM and even Rolls-Royce were clients of Zagato since the beginning.