Pegaso Z-403 Monocasco brochure page.
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The Pegaso Z-403 Monocasco, was a two-level monocoque (chassisless) coach, fitted with a 125-hp diesel engine asymmetrically mounted amidships, and built in Spain by Enasa for Pegaso between 1951 and 1957.
The first Z-403 body design dates back to 1949. It brought notable contributions to the passenger service for its safety and comfort and was considered an «auto-pullman» by virtue of its great comfort and its amenities. In the standard version it was equipped with radio, bar and a small bookcase.
The Z-403 featured a single chasisless structure which allowed a better use of space, with all the mechanical units located in the underside of the vehicle, isolated from the passenger compartment.
Its split-level deck greatly improved the passengers' view and allowed for considerable luggage space. Its concept answered to the creation of a vehicle with a total length of ten metres, capable of transporting 30 to 45 seated persons depending on the comfort desired, and with good visibility. To ensure the greatest comfort independent front-wheel suspension was used consisting of transversal arms and torsion bars.
The high resistance to flexion and torsion of the single-structure was ensured by the elements which made up the monocoque: the exterior covering of light, easily changeable metal panels. The ceiling and even the ornamental band under the windows were also structurally important parts. The body was made up of steel profiles covered laterally with one-millimetre thick steel sheets combined with 1.5 mm thick corrugated sheets of light alloy. The roof was made entirely of light alloy.
The Pegaso Diesel engine with 125 HP was mounted in the central part of the vehicle, in the space under the half top deck, so guaranteeing a good distribution of weight and high stability. Also offered was the possibility of a petrol version of 145 HP; this, however, never got past the prototype stage, due to its high fuel consumption.
The Z-403 was developed and produced in the Pegaso plant in Barcelona, and it is believed that a total of around 50 units were sold. Main customers were Iberia and Aviaco airlines and Atesa tour operator.
In the final scene of Orson Welles's Mr. Arkadin, a pair of Pegaso Z-403 coaches appear prominently close to an aircraft in an aeroport (actually, Madrid Barajas airport).
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Lage, Manuel. Hispano-Suiza/Pegaso. Madrid 1992. ISBN: 84-7782-236-0