1987 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato Coupé Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. SCFCV8121HTL20031
*One of only 52 made *Left-hand drive *Automatic transmission *Present ownership for 20 years *Registered in Holland
'The Vantage Zagato relies on its Italian styling to heighten the emotions of car collectors and Aston followers alike, harking back as it does the halcyon days of David Brown patronage at Newport Pagnell when 19 DB4GTs wore gorgeously curvaceous lightweight Zagato bodywork.' Motor.
With the introduction of the Vantage Zagato, 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 Astons, the DB4GT Zagato. Neighbouring stands at the 1984 Geneva Salon facilitated the initial contact between Aston Martin chairman, Victor Gauntlett and Elio and Gianni Zagato, and by the following year the project had progressed sufficiently for Aston to accept deposits on the 50 cars planned. Part of Zagato's brief was to shed some of the standard Vantage's not inconsiderable weight, which was achieved by shortening the wheelbase and deleting the rear seats, thus creating Aston's first production two-seater since the DB4GT. In doing so, Zagato was able to shed all of 168kg (370lbs) from the four-seater V8 saloon's not inconsiderable weight.
The proven 5.3-litre four-cam V8 was to Vantage specification, producing 432bhp at 6,200rpm and 395ft/lbs of torque at 5,100 revs. Production involved shipping the rolling chassis - complete with engine and drive train - to Zagato in Milan for bodying, trimming and painting, following which they were returned to Newport Pagnell for final inspection.
The first three completed cars were displayed at Geneva in March 1986 and in June the Zagato successfully met its design target by achieving a maximum speed of 300km/h (186mph) while on test with the French magazine Sport Auto. A 0-60mph time of five seconds had been another target and that too was achieved, the French journalists clocking a best of 4.8.The fact that the projected price had risen from £70,000 to £87,000 between the car's announcement in March 1985 and its arrival did nothing to deter the 50 customers, all of whom had paid deposits of £15,000 by August 1985.
Eventually 52 cars would be constructed, including the pre-production '20010' and prototype '20011'. Of the 50 'production' cars, only 23 were left-hand drive like that offered here. Chassis number '20031' was completed in May 1987 having been ordered by Zubair of Oman. The car was built to 'Gulf State' specification and finished in Gladiator Red with tan trim. On 1st February 1988 Aston Martin received photographs of frontal damage, yet the car was not returned to the Newport Pagnell factory until August 1995, by which time it had found a new owner in Holland. Aston Martin's estimate for the cost of repairs was issued on 11th October 1995, and the Zagato was returned to Holland in April 1996 following their completion, which included a repaint in British Racing Green.
The current owner purchased the Aston in May 1997, by which time it had recorded only 7,800 kilometres. In April 1998 '20031' returned to Newport Pagnell for various guarantee works and a suspension modification to increase the ride height (by 12mm) in order to improve comfort and roadholding (see detailed bills on file). The Zagato has remained in the vendor's care ever since, and has now covered a total of circa 56,400 kilometres. The original front spoiler has been removed due to ground-clearance concerns with Dutch speed bumps (and is offered with the car) while the addition of a radio is the only other notified deviation from factory specification.