Italian coachbuilder Zagato through the years has been best known for designs that could best be described as quirky and distinctive rather than particularly elegant. Cars like the Alfa Romeo SZ or the Ferrari 575 GTZ that wore Zagato bodies were certainly unique and cool, but they wouldn’t win any beauty contests. That said, the projects that Zagato has done for Aston Martin have traditionally been gorgeous. Aston Martin has never exactly needed help when it comes to making a handsome car, and some of the prettiest sports cars ever made were penned right there in England. There’s always room for improvement in anything, though, and for that Zagato has stepped in on a number of occasions.
It all started with the DB4 GT Zagato, of which just 19 were built, that wore voluptuous hand built aluminum bodywork and enjoyed a successful GT racing career. More recent collaborations have included the DB AR1 Roadster of 2003 and the V12 Vantage Zagato of 2011. Both were nothing if not a feast for the eyes. The most recent chapter in the partnership between Aston and Zagato is the Vanquish Zagato that was just unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Italy. It’s hard to stand out at Villa d’Este, where some of the world’s most desirable cars of all eras gather, but the Aston was a star attraction.
Designed in collaboration between Aston Martin Design in England and Andrea Zagato in Milan, the bodywork of the new car is all carbon fiber and features “bladed” LED lights like the kind found on Aston’s Vulcan track car. If features the distinctive large, wide grille that characterizes many newer Zagato designs, but retains the same trademark Aston Martin shape. Another Zagato trademark found on the new Vanquish is the double bubble roof, a design cue that goes back to Zagato’s work with Abarth in the 1950s. The rest of the car’s lines are similar to those of the normal production Vanquish, but sharper and cleaner. The A-pillar is also much thinner and almost disappears between the windshield and the side windows. Carbon fiber sills also run around the lower part of the bodywork, and the mirrors were inspired by the One-77 hypercar.
On the inside, the Vanquish Zagato has a distinct and premium look to it as well. Herringbone pattern carbon fiber and anodized bronze trim are found throughout the cockpit, and a quilt pattern featuring Zagato’s distinctive “Z” badge is used on the seat, door panels and center console.
The unique character of the Zagato is more than skin deep. Underneath all the striking lines, Aston has also made some changes to the standard Vanquish. It’s still the same 6.0-liter V-12 under the bonnet, but power has been raised from 565 to 592 hp and the twelve-cylinder snarl out of the quad exhaust tips is raspy and fantastic. There have been some changes to the chassis dynamics as well, and presumably the overall weight of the car is down as well. The standard Vanquish will hit 0-60 mph in about 3.6 seconds and top speed is just a hair over 200 mph, and it’s reasonable to expect the new car to best those numbers by a hair. This car, though, is as much about drop-dead gorgeous looks as it is about performance.
Aston Martin hasn’t revealed whether it will actually build the Vanquish Zagato, but most of the car world is crossing their fingers that they do. Even if they do build it, though, it will be an extremely exclusive car. Aston built just 150 examples of the Vantage V12 Zagato (also unveiled at Villa d’Este) a few years ago, and before that just 99 examples of the DB AR1. Those cars cost about $250,000 and $450,000, respectively, and a new standard Vanquish has an MSRP of $288,000, so it will be relatively expensive as well. If Aston does decide to build this special Vanquish it will, like the other recent Zagato-bodied cars, become an instant collectible that gets sold out immediately and most owners probably won’t drive theirs very far. First, though, the company needs to actually put it into production, and we can all agree that they really should.
[photos: Aston Martin]
By Andrew Newton