Aston Martin DB7 Zagato

Limited Edition

- by Charis Whitcombe

After almost 15 years, Aston Martin is set to renew its relationship with legendary Italian coachbuilders Zagato to produce a limited edition, hand-built sports car which will be known as the DB7 Zagato. Based on the current Aston Martin DB7 - the most successful model in the company's 88-year history - the new Zagato will offer more power than the standard DB7 Vantage, plus uprated brakes, sports suspension, a revised interior and an all-new 2-seater aluminium coupe body.

Aston Martin intends to show the DB7 Zagato privately to customers around the world to gauge their reaction - and to see if there is sufficient interest to put a modest number of cars into production. "This could be anything between 75 and 99 cars depending on what our clients tell us," explained Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin. "We are anticipating a really positive reaction to the car and so far we have received a lot of interest and support."

If there is enough interest from potential buyers, Aston Martin will start producing the DB7 Zagato in the first quarter of 2003. The aluminium bodies will be made in Italy and the car finished in the UK at Bloxham - the home of the DB7 Vantage.

A Partnership Reborn

Aston Martin and Zagato first began working together in 1961, when they produced 19 examples of the glorious DB4GT Zagato. In 1987, they again collaborated on the V8 Zagato Coupe and Volante. Now this successful partnership has been reborn.

Internationally renowned for the design of some of the world's most beautiful cars, designer Andrea Zagato and his team have incorporated many of the styling cues inspired by the original DB4GT Zagato. This has led to the creation of an elegant, classic body design, reflecting the heritage and traditions of the Aston Martin, including the long bonnet, shortened tail and famous 'double-bubble' roof. The large distinctive radiator grille and accentuating rear wheel arches are unmistakably Zagato, while the carefully detailed features such as the reverse/fog light combination provide graphic evidence of the painstaking craftsmanship that has become an Aston Martin trademark.

As with all Aston Martin models, clients can specify a car to match their tastes and create a bespoke sports car. There will be three standard exterior colours offered: Mercury Grey, Aqua Verde and Zagato Nero. The hand-stitched leather interior is uniquely designed for the DB7 Zagato and has been trimmed in Dark Chocolate aniline leather.

Under the Skin

The aluminium body, constructed on a shortened DB7 Vantage Volante wheelbase offers a 60kg weight advantage over the standard car. Other visible exterior differences include the unique 18" Zagato-styled wheels with revised offset to give a wider track (8x18" front, 9x18" rear).

The DB7 Zagato retains the all alloy, twin-overhead camshaft, 48-valve, 6.0-litre V12 engine used in the standard car, but power has been increased. Combined with the overall weight reduction, the Zagato should have a much sportier feel. The low inertia engine with twin plate clutch also means that torque delivery of the V12 engine is progressive throughout the rev range. It also uses the original manual, six-speed close-ratio transmission but with a special final drive ratio and a short shift gear lever. Uprated, anti-lock, ventilated discs are fitted all round while the front and rear suspension systems have been developed to offer enhanced performance and handling.

Aston Martin has not yet conducted performance testing with the new car but the manufacturer is anticipating better acceleration and a higher top speed than the DB7 Vantage Volante.

The Facts

Engine: 6.0-litre V12, 4 valves per cylinder, all alloy, twin overhead cams

Power: tba

Torque: tba

Transmission: 6-speed, close ratio manual gearbox; DB7 Vantage 4.09 sports final drive; shortened propshaft; quickshift gear lever

Body: Aluminium bonnet, door skins, boot and front wings (on a shortened DB7 Vantage Volante wheelbase); steel roof with 'double bubble'

Suspension: DB7 Vantage sports suspension with unique dampers

Brakes: Uprated, anti-lock, ventilated discs front and rear

Wheels/tyres: Zagato-styled alloy wheels with revised offset to give wider track - 8x18" front (unique to DB7 Zagato); 9x18" rear (standard DB7 Vantage)

Dimensions: 4,481mm long; 1,861mm wide; 1,244mm high; 2,531mm wheelbase.

Weight: 1,740kg.

Official performance figures: tba

Gallery

Aston Martin DB7 ZagatoAston Martin DB7 ZagatoAston Martin DB7 Zagato

Aston Martin DB7 ZagatoAston Martin DB7 ZagatoAston Martin DB7 Zagato

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Aston Martin DB7 Zagato The DB7 Zagato at Pebble Beach 2002.