1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante Convertible Chassis no. SCFCV81Z1JTL30029 Engine no. V/585/0029
"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 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. 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.
According to the accompanying car record card from Aston Martin, this beautifully presented V8 Zagato Convertible was originally finished in the most attractive colour combination of Vulcan Black with black leather interior, black carpets, black hood, and grey Alcantara headlining, the same as it is today. This is an ultra-rare variant of an already rare car: of the 37 Zagato Volantes built, only 12 were left-hand drive of which only eight were fitted with the desirable five-speed manual gearbox like this example.
Currently showing a mere 2,540 or so kilometres on the odometer, this beautifully finished car would be a welcome addition to any serious collection, Aston Martin or otherwise. It is believed to have spent some 20 years in the collection of a well-known Aston Martin connoisseur in Belgium, and there is an email on file from Aston Martin Antwerp confirming that they have known the car for some 20 years and looked after it on behalf of the previous owner, who is said to have used it only sporadically. An invoice on file from 1993 for the sale of the car, issued by the Aston Martin main agent for Belgium, suggests that it had spent a long time in Belgium. Subsequently, in 2016, the Aston was sold by a well-respected Dutch Aston Martin specialist to the current owner in Germany.
The car will be offered with German registration documents as well as with the following documentation: the aforementioned car record card from Aston Martin; Aston Martin Certificate of Origin; sundry invoices; the aforementioned email from Aston Martin Antwerp; Belgian Keuringsbewijs (valid until 2016); Belgian vehicle registration application form; and various other paperwork
This is a true collector's car that ticks all the boxes: rarity, design, colour combination, limited usage, and provenance. An opportunity not to be missed.