The factory prototype, only 2,500 miles from new 1987 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato Volante Convertible Registration no. D649 UGT Chassis no. SCFCV8124HTR20042 Engine no. V580/0042/X
'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', the car offered here - 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. While at the factory '20042' was driven by Aston Martin CEO Victor Gauntlett before being sold to its first private owner, Prince Sufri of Brunei, passing to the current vendor. There is official paperwork on file recording the transfer of title from His Royal Highness to the current owner together with C&E export paperwork. The original service booklet is on file also, listing six services in total, the most recent being carried out in January 2012 at 2,499 miles. Accompanying invoices include one for £6,000 from Lincoln Scott for works to the body, general engine maintenance and replacing the air conditioning/heater, plus another for a repaint at a cost of £8,200. There is also a £10,000 bill from Trinity Engineering for work on the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, brakes, exhaust and electrical system. Lincoln Scott fitted a new windscreen in 2004. Offered with its original owner's handbook, MoT to January 2013 and Swansea V5C, this unique car represents a exciting opportunity to acquire an important piece of Aston Martin history.