When the two stoic names teamed up for the Aston Martin V12 Zagato, it came as only the latest fruits of a collaboration that stretches back for decades. The classically curvaceous DB4 GT Zagato started it all in 1960, followed by the pugnacious V8 Vantage Zagato and V8 Volante Zagato of the mid-80s and the DB7 V12 Zagato and DB AR1 of the new millennium.
To highlight the lineage, Zagato released the renderings pictured above and a brief history of the bonds that tie it to Aston Martin. Click above to view in extra high resolution and follow the jump to delve into the text.
The long standing collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato has resulted, over 50 years, in an extraordinary series of collectible cars. All the Aston Martins designed by Zagato were created in a very limited series. This feature ensured that each model, today, is considered not only rare and exclusive but, also, a solid investment.
DB4 GT Zagato (1960). The progenitor of this family of models, the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, was entirely designed, assembled and trimmed in Milan in the early 60s. At that time Aston Martin was searching for a lighter version of the DB4 GT. David Brown and John Wyer (CEO and Chief Project Manager) of Aston Martin turned to Elio and Gianni Zagato (CEO and Technical Director of the company at the time) who, supported by a talented team of engineers and designers, were able, in a very limited time, to create an extremely light, fast and unique version of the DB4 GT (314 hp, 280 km/h). The 19 units that were produced still exist today and are jealously treasured in the most important collections in the world. Each of them has a listing on the collectible market of at least 6 million dollars, without considering the history of events tied to each individual car.
V8 Vantage Zagato (1985), V8 Volante Zagato (1986). At the beginning of the 80s, with the end of the oil crisis, the general mood of recession passed and finally gave way to a breath of optimism. This economic situation, again favourable, was the push for the creation of status symbol cars. The strong demand for coupe and spider models led to the creation of limited and numbered editions, soon known as "Instant Classics". These were very exclusive and fast cars, still very highly valued, increasing exponentially their market value. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage (only 50) and the V8 Volante (only 33 cars) commissioned by Peter Livanos and Victor Gauntlett to Elio and Gianni Zagato, were among the best sports cars of that time. Capable of reaching 300km/h, they were sold out soon after their commercialization and have continued to increase in value over time. Both models were designed and produced by Zagato in the historical factory in Milano.
DB7 V12 Zagato (2002), DB-AR1 (2003). "Motion and Emotion" is the philosophy of Zagato's in the neoclassical decade, beginning with the start of the new Millennium. The automobile, by now a mass-market product even in the case of a sporty luxury car, has lost its original emotional charge and its exclusive product role dedicated only to elite clients with very high purchasing power. As a true luxury Atelier, Zagato focuses on key success factors such as personalization, uniqueness and attention to details. Because of their common vision, Andrea Zagato and Ulrich Bez have created products that are both successful in sales and sought after as collectibles. Zagato designed, engineered and manufactured in Italy 99 body-in-whites of each model, whereas assembly and trimming were made by Aston Martin directly in England.
V12 Zagato (2011). Inspired by the V8 Vantage Zagato, in particular concerning the characteristic treatment of the glass surface in such a way as to create the illusion of the "disappearance" of the windshield pillar, the V12 will have a production of no more than 150 cars.
The goal was to apply all the Italian technical-design and brand philosophy to the V12 Vantage: the big front grille, the double-bubble on the roof, the "criss-cross" motif that embraces the side and rear windows, and the round lights, all stylistic elements typical of Zagato that have awarded the V12 the allure of the past creations of the Zagato Carrozzeria founded by Ugo Zagato in 1919: minimalism, rationality and "necessary beauty".
While the initial sketches and mathematical models have been completed in Milano, the
engineering, prototyping and the body-in-white manufacturing have been carried out in England because of the recent collaboration of Zagato with its prestigious British partners. As well as for the DB7 Zagato and DB-AR1, the assembly and trimming are entrusted to the Aston Martin staff in Gaydon.
For this reason, the V12 Zagato can be considered the "most British" of all Astons, with a Zagato body that remains true to tradition – the perfect collaboration between two automotive trademarks.