The return of the ‘Aston Zagato’... which will race at the 'Ring this May

The return of the ‘Aston Zagato’... which will race at the 'Ring this May

Aston Martin has just announced a reprise of its association with the great Italian coachbuilder. Fifty years on from the debut of the iconic DB4GT Zagato, in the true spirit of its predecessor the new prototype – to be revealed at Villa d’Este – will be raced at the Nürburgring on 28 May.

The Gaydon company is understandably keeping details of the new GT secret until the official unveiling at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance. However, a red-tinted sketch of it reveals the characteristic front profile of Astons present, and powerful rear wheel arches (and quite possibly prominent rear lights) of the 1961 original.

At the time, the Zagato-bodied DB4GT was lighter and – theoretically – more streamlined than a regular 'GT. It raced with varying success, the most famous examples being ‘1 VEV’ and ‘2 VEV’ of the Essex Racing Team, often driven by the future World Champion, Scotsman Jim Clark.

Just 19 original cars were made, any of which would command £3m+ prices if sold today.

In 1986, a muscular V8 Vantage Zagato coupé and Volante did much to prop up the company’s finances through difficult times, while at the Paris Motor Show of 2002 a DB7 Zagato made an appearance, followed by the DB-AR1 (American Roadster 1).

Speaking of the 2011 car, Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive of Aston Martin said: “The DNA of both Aston Martin and Zagato has combined successfully to make some of the world’s most desirable collector cars in the past and, in this special anniversary year of the DB4GT Zagato, it is appropriate to explore a modern collaboration.

“Now is the right time for a new Aston Martin Zagato and, in combining our design intelligence, I think we can create something fitting of the iconic DB4GT Zagato that has gone before and since established itself as one of the most famous Aston Martins of all time.”

The initial concept having been revealed in Italy on 21 May, Aston Martin will then ‘gauge initial customer reaction with a view to a production car following in 2012’.

Slipped almost unnoticed by mainstream media into the press release was the news that ‘in tribute to this racing heritage [Jim Clark and the Essex Racing Team] the product of this great partnership in 2011, 50 years on, will be campaigned in endurance racing, commencing at the Nürburgring on 28th May’.

In other words... it will be raced.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Aston Martin

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