My name is Sjoerd van Bilsen. I put a magnifying glass under some of the peculiarities of car models. Or discuss with you some of the special items on a car. Welcome to Sjoerds Weetjes. The Aston Martin nameplate and if you look closer you will see the Z of the Italian design house Zagato in the grille. And if you see those two names together on one car; you instantly know that this is a very special car. In this case; the story is a special one but it is for sure; when these two names come together to build and design a car; something truly special happens. In this case; the story is even more special when I tell you that the collaboration between the two brands resulted not in one, not two but four unique creations. And it is even more astounding
when I tell you that today I am in the same space as with four of these unique deratives. So let’s have a look; at the first one which is the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato which was presented at the Villa d’ Este Concours d’ Elegance in Italy back in 2016. On that occasion; Aston Martin introduced the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept Coupe. You will notice that it was called a Concept at the time. So it was called Concept but the readers of Autovisie Magazine were already informed that there would be built a limited edition of 99 units. When Aston Martin released the information that only 99 units would be built; the car was sold out in no-time. A few months’ later Aston Martin broke the news that the car would go into production and we at Autovisie could already inform our readers that a Volante version; the open version would follow.
The Volante version; of which 99 units would be produced was meant, in first instance, for the customers who had already ordered a Vanquish Zagato Coupe. And that was not all; because the collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato would lead to another two models, of which I will speak later. The collaboration between the English brand Aston Martin and the Italian design house Zagato dates back to 1960 when the DB4 GT Zagato was the first product of that collaboration.
The Zagato version of the Aston Martin DB4 GT is a lightweight derivative of the original, built in only 19 units. Nowadays; those cars are rare and worth an absolute fortune but that was not exactly the case when the car was first introduced. Aston Martin really had to almost look for those customers wishing to buy an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato; and as a result the 19th unit produced came after a small pause. But that collaboration led to more; albeit with a small pause because in 1986 the V8 Vantage Zagato was introduced. The V8 Vantage Zagato was quite a rectangular model; which was to be produced in 53 units. That car too became a collectors’ item resulting in high prices nowadays.
The V8 Vantage Zagato is an expensive car to buy but not as expensive as the DB4 GT Zagato. And what did Aston Martin do? The V8 Vantage Zagato was not only produced as a Coupe; an open version named Volante was added later. The management at Aston Martin decided to build 25 units of the V8 Vantage Zagato Volante; but that number was increased to 37 units. I’ll admit; 37 units is more than 25 units but that doesn’t make the car less exclusive. The collaboration resulted in more exclusive models to be built but not immediately; a few years passed and the DB7 Zagato was built in a limited edition of 100 units. 99 units were built for customers; one example was built for Aston Martin themselves. A convertible was made too;
with the name AR 1; the letters AR stand for American Roadster. The AR 1 was then meant especially for the North American market. But two extra units of the American Roadster were built; both right hand drive; one for the factory and one for an English customer. Then there followed, in 2011, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato; originally meant to be built in 150 units. That number was corrected to 101 units but even fewer cars than that were actually built. In 2016; this car was introduced at Villa d’Este in Italy; the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato. The lines of this car are unmistakably Zagato; the double bubble roof and the muscular lines at the rear together with the side window frame sloping down.
This car is truly special; it has a distinctive and different body shape, made out of carbon fibre and made by hand in a painstaking process of 2,000 hours of manual labour. Just have a look at those rear light units; they cannot just be put on the car; they have to go through the whole homologation process. The rear light unit can be found on the other Vanquish Zagato derivatives. The car was first to be introduced with a 580 bhp strong 5,9 litre V12 engine. That engine is mounted just behind the front axle but actually produces more than 600 bhp and the car is rear wheel driven. The closed variant was soon followed by the open version; the Volante.
The Volante offers four seats and has the same flowing lines as the Coupe version. Some one and a half years later; Aston Martin announced two more versions of the Vanquish Zagato. Which came as a big surprise. So the Vanquish Zagato family would consist of four family members. That was a bit of a breaking with the tradition; since almost every time just two derivatives of the Aston Martin Zagato partnership were built. And one of those cars was the Shooting Brake; the full name is Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. People who know me know that I have a passion for Shooting Brake models.
But this one is, to me anyway, exceptional. It is a two seater with a long storage compartment lid and a sweeping long roofline. That is complemented by a strong muscular rear end. But you have to know that the rear end is made of one body frame piece made out of carbon fibre. Look at that special rear spoiler. The roof consists of a glass part. It is an electro chromatic roof; with the touch of a button you can either make it dark or light. The electro chromatic roof is now dark because the car is parked. When the car is parked you don’t want the sun heating up the inside of the car. This car is officially named Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. But I will tell you this; from the four Vanquish Zagato derivatives; three are actually based on the Vanquish. The Shooting Brake is based on the. Aston Martin Rapide. The engine is from the Vanquish but the wheelbase is the same as that of the Aston Martin Rapide and the rear axle is the same too.
That is all to do with the fact that this is not just another Vanquish Zagato derivative; it can be used as a stationwagon. And for that; I will open the boot; I forgot my gloves by the way, excuse for that. The rear door is made out of carbon fibre and just have a look at that structure. So this Shooting Brake version has a light rear door, and uses the rear axle of the Rapide making it possible to install the fuel tank differently so that more luggage space is available. So this car is almost like a fully usable stationwagon, excuse me for putting it that way. But just have a look at how that rear compartment is upholstered. It almost seems like a shame to put your shopping bags with the groceries on that stowage frame. Or to transport your dog in it, for that matter.
Just have a look at that frame bar, it is not meant for extra stiffness, but rather that it prevents luggage to go further into the interior. This car has a separate extra boot space to transport extra luggage, if needed. So you can actually call it; an Aston Martin Rapide Zagato. But if you look at the technical underpinnings of this car; it is above all means a Vanquish model. But after the Shooting Brake model; another Vanquish Zagato derivative was introduced. And that last derivative is the most exclusive one, although you can say that the Shooting Brake version is the least logical one. It is the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato in the Speedster variant. Behind this Speedster model; you will see the Vanquish Zagato Volante model which is an open version.
That Volante model has a softtop; and a rear bench but the Speedster. The name Speedster actually says it all; this is a fully open version without a roof. That means that this car has no roof; not even a small one. Just have a look at those high powerdomes just behind the seats. You will clearly see the naked carbon structure of this car. Just between those two powerdomes, you will see the bridge. That bridge functions as an aerodynamic styling part of the car. That bridge functions than as an integral aerodynamic part of the car; because it is quite different from the normal Volante model.
What is important to know is that the no-roof Speedster model should provide the same stability as the Coupe even when drive at top speed. As I mentioned; this car has no roof, making it possible to make the front screen frame in a smooth carbon fibre finish. There is of course no closing mechanism fitted to the top of the front screen. Carbon fibre; as you will probably know is super strong but lightweight too. I almost forget my text here, because the carbon fibre finish on the front screen frame is so beautiful. Of course when you drive it, you won’t see it since you are looking through the glass of the front screen. So this car has been transformed from the original 2+2 seater to a pure two seater car, with storage space just behind the two seats. And for those customers who want it; Aston Martin has developed a luggage set which fits just behind those two seats. Maybe you noticed that in the Shooting brake model one umbrella was fitted in the luggage space.
All these Aston Martins are fitted with one umbrella….except for the Speedster. The Speedster is fitted than with not just one umbrella but two. It all has to do with the fact that there are two seats but no roof. You could almost call those two umbrellas the emergency system. I will close the boot lid cautiously and as you will notice there is a soft closing system fitted on it. You will also notice the rear spoiler which is integrated just above the boot lid and only comes out at certain speeds. As the Coupe has different aerodynamics, the size of the rear spoiler is different from the one to be found on the Speedster. This car only has front windows; the rear side window is left out to maximize the feeling of driving a Speedster. Just have a look at the differences with the Volante version which features the fabric roof with the closing mechanism fitted to the front screen. Of course the roof on the Volante is electrically operated and you will see the side windows at the rear end. And you will see too that big rear spoiler, which is now integrated in the rear end of the car. So there we have it; the family-of-four Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato with its four family members. We have the Volante; 99 units built,
then the Shooting Brake of which also 99 units were made. Then the Vanquish Zagato Coupe of which another 99 units were built and ultimately the Speedster; of which only 28 units were made, making it the most exclusive family member. You might ask; why only 28 units. Well it not only has to do with the price which is a result of the numbers being produced. It all has to do with the mindset at Aston Martin as they think that the market for a fully-open version; so without a roof is rather limited. So what we have here is unique and I will teel you something more.
The four examples that we have here today at Aston Martin Antwerp are the ownership of one single owner; a fan of the Aston Martin Zagato cars as such. And that one owner is one of the two owners worldwide who own all four derivatives of the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato family-of-four. That in itself is quite unique, I have to pause for a moment just to let that sink in. So to summarize; we stand here today in Belgium, in the company of four unique Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato models which are rare anyway, but it will be a very rare meeting, a very rare sight, a very rare phenomenon. And to make it even more special; the Volante, the Coupe and the Shooting Brake all have the same production number. So it is quite a special meeting this and it will probably be some time before the partnership between Aston Martin and Zagato will produce a new car; but we are already looking forward to it.