They are the cars that adorn the lavish grounds of a Lake Como resort, a piece of rolling jewellery that glimmers as it glides along the French Riviera, the collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato has been a true match made in heaven, but their success isn’t solely down to their handsome looks, some cars were built with glory in mind. Just like the DB4 GT Zagato, the very first collaborative effort between these two contrasting brands, the V12 Zagato has competition coursing through its veins.
Unveiled in its race guise at the 2011 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the V12 Zagato was an overnight triumph. It promptly won the Design award for Concepts and Prototypes and was met with waving chequebooks and specification ideas from clients for the road-going version. Just like the original DB4 GT that Aston Martin and Zagato had worked together on back in 1961, the car wasn’t just an expression of style and opulence, the car was intended for competition, with high hopes of bringing both the Aston Martin and Zagato name back into the limelight within the motorsport world.
Out of a planned 101 examples, just 61 production cars ever made it to market, with two race cars also being made. Despite being the best-looking cars on the grid as they lined up for the 39th ADAC Nürburgring 24-hour race in 2011, ‘Zig’, and sister car ‘Zag’, as they were affectionately nicknamed, had their sights firmly set on coming out on top. The pair would eventually see the chequered flag, finishing 5th and 6th in the SP8 class to a roaring crowd, delighted to see the Zagato name back in motorsport.
After its triumphs out on the racetrack, the focus was quickly turned back to the road-going examples. Perhaps most interestingly though, this instantly recognisable piece of design perfection wasn’t the work of Zagato’s head designer, nor even the fresh-faced intern. It was Aston Martin’s Marek Reichmann who had penned the initial ideas for this unique creation, with Zagato’s role being limited to assisting with the styling, ensuring the key elements of what makes a Zagato the finest Italian design house around, including their iconic double-bubble roof, slatted ‘Z’ front grille, redesigned seats just to name a few.
It's reported a staggering 2,000 hours was given to complete each build, where the body is made entirely from aluminium and carbon fibre, allowing the shape to be formed around this tightly packed chassis. Under the bonnet sits Aston’s blistering 6.0-litre V12, producing over 500 horsepower delivered to the rear wheels. Despite the lavish interior space and extra styling accents, the Zagato variant is around 150kg lighter than the standard V12 Vantage, showcasing the perfect balance between form and function that Zagato built their reputation upon.
This fantastic example available at Aston Martin Bristol boasts an extremely low build number, being number 18, and is finished in eye-catching Diavolo Red with an Obsidian Black Semi Aniline leather interior. Although optional extras naturally weren’t as important on a model such as this, this scarlet example has been treated to carbon fibre mirror caps, the all-important lightweight seats, as well as a Bang and Olufsen sound system, but we’d opt for the exhaust note all day long.
As this era of Vantage that first came onto the scene back in 2005 is now starting to relish in the ‘modern classic’ category, this characterful and visceral sportscar shows just how perfectly amalgamated Aston Martin and Zagato truly are, with the ability to create the beauty and the beast!
Photos by Kieran Bicknell