1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante Registration no. E8 VOL Chassis no. SCFCV8/Z0JTR30010 Engine no. V/585/0010
'On the road, the Zagato eats up the long straights. Once moving its progress is magnificently effortless. Like most very fast cars, it's as if it isn't constrained by the physical laws of gravity and air resistance. Unlike most very fast cars, however, it fools its driver into thinking that its blistering, growling pace is normal, comfortable, undramatic.' - Motor.
With the introduction of the V8 Vantage-based Zagato in 1986, Aston Martin renewed its association with one of Italy's most illustrious carrozzeria, Zagato having been responsible for that most celebrated and desirable of all post-war Aston Martins, the DB4GT. Neighbouring stands at the 1984 Geneva Salon facilitated the initial contact between Aston boss Victor Gauntlett and the Zagato brothers, and by the following year the project had progressed sufficiently for Aston to accept deposits on the 50 production cars planned. The first prototype was shown to the public at Geneva in March 1986, and in June successfully met its design target by achieving a maximum speed of 186mph while on test with the French magazine Sport Auto.
Part of Zagato's brief had been to shed some of the standard Vantage's not inconsiderable weight, and this was achieved by the simple expedient of shortening the wheelbase by a little over 17 centimetres and deleting the rear seats, thus creating the first production two-seater since the DB4GT. The 5.3-litre four-cam V8 was, naturally, to Vantage specification, producing a mind-bending 432bhp at 6,200rpm. The manner of its installation though, created a certain amount of controversy, the Zagato's low sloping bonnet, penned in the expectation of a fuel-injected engine, being marred by an unsightly bulge necessary to clear the Vantage's quartet of Webers.
Predictably, given the success of the saloon, a Zagato Volante convertible was not long in coming. The very first example was made by converting a saloon - chassis number '20042' - which was first displayed publicly at the Geneva Salon in 1987. Intended only for the fuel-injected 320bhp engine, the production Volante avoided its sibling's bonnet bulge unless, of course, a customer specified an engine in Vantage tune. The Volante was intended to be even more exclusive than its closed cousin - 25 were planned initially, as opposed to 50 saloons - and in the event a total of 37 had been built by the time production ceased in 1990, making this one of the rarest and most desirable of open supercars as well as an exceptionally collectible Aston Martin. Only 12 were built in right-hand drive configuration and few of those with manual transmission like the example offered here.
Possessing an impeccable history and with a guaranteed mileage of only 22,000, this is a car that has been scrupulously maintained, mostly by the leading specialists R S Williams and Aston Engineering. Often low mileage represents inactivity, which can make it difficult to maintain a car in reliable and roadworthy condition, but in this case the Zagato has participated in European tours with the AMOC where it performed faultlessly. Colours are always inherently personal but this car's combination of Chichester Blue with a Mushroom leather interior is universally admired and enhances the subtle lines of Zagato's unique design.
Offered from the collection of a well-known and long-time Aston Martin collector, the car is only for sale to make way for another significant Aston Martin. 'E8 VOL' is offered with owner's handbook, tool kit, recent MoT, V5C registration document and a comprehensive history file. Though all convertible Aston Martins are desirable, it is the very rare coachbuilt cars that have increasingly distinguished themselves with collectors and never more so than when the coachbuilder is Zagato.