The Zelo set off as a sports, super and hyper car sub-brand with the development of a 2 litre V12 engine, which was taken up by a local racing team to create a hand-made aluminium race car, styled by Fininparina, the famous designer who later went on to design multiple Zelo's.
Only six cars of this type, then known as the Zelo 122 C, were made. It did inspire Zelo to find capital backing, via PMI Polloi joining the PMI Group, and in 1950 a tamer version of that same V12 engine was used for the first production car, a 4 seater tourer called the PMI Zelo Inter 122 S.
Powering the 122 C was a 1995cc (60.0mmx58.8mm) Direct-Acting Over-Head Cam 60° V12, producing 160 horsepower at 7100rpm and 175Nm of torque at 5600rpm. A light, hand-made tubular frame and light-weight aluminum body paneling ensured the light race car could reach speeds over 180 km/h fairly comfortably. If any critique could be given, it’s that for budget reasons - and the 122 Competizione was already an expensive car - a 4-speed manual gearbox was chosen. Damiano Colombio, the lead engineer in charge of the development of the Zelo 12.20 C power plant, wanted to use a five-speed gearbox as it matched the high revving V12 better than that of a traditional four-speed gearbox.
The main success of the 122 Competizione was its handling. With racing sway bars front and rear, and finely tuned brakes, it did not suffer the twitchiness and nervousness of many of its competitors in the day. Despite its exquisite driving abilities, and its success in late 40s, and early 50s racing, the car was very expensive to produce, even for a competition brand, and only 24 cars were ever produced.
Suspension: F/R: Independent double wishbone
Engine: Cast Iron 1995 cc V12 DAOHC-12, double-barrel carburated
Drivetrain: Front-engined rear-wheel-drive
Top speed:195 kph
Acceleration: 0-100 in 7,4 seconds
Fuel Economy: 12,8l/100km at 50 kph; 13,9l/100km at 80 kph
Braking performance: 80-0: 37 meters
Wheels: F/R: P165/90C14 104H
(1950 PMI Zelo Inter 122 S can be requested in the comments.)