Aston Martin: The Concept of Beauty

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
The latest in Aston Martin's ongoing collaboration with Italian coachbuilder Zagato

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that the Aston Martin Zagato is the most beautiful car of the year. We’re well aware how bold that claim is, with stiff competition from all quarters, but… well, just look at it.

Five years ago, Aston Martin teamed up with independent coachbuilder Zagato to create the V12 Zagato, one of the most stunning cars the marque has ever put its name to. That in turn carried on a history of collaboration dating all the way back to the 1960s and the DB4 GT Zagato racer.

Long as it might be though, the partnership certainly hasn’t been overused. So sporadic are they that each time a Zagato model emerges, there’s nary an automotive aficionado that doesn’t sit up and take notice. Each of the resultant models has been spectacular and, in the Vanquish Zagato, the pair have done it again.

Originally this car was supposed to be nothing more than a concept; it was supposed to simply show what the partnership would look like. That said, it was pretty obvious once we saw the Vanquish Zagato at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este that the automotive beauty pagent was not the last we would hear of it.

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Indeed, thanks to apparent overwhelming demand from potential customers, Aston Martin have announced a very limited run of just 99. It has to be said that those 99 won’t be exactly the same as the concept car, but close enough that anyone who fell in love with the Vanquish Zagato at Villa d’Este will need one in their collection.

First off, the new bodywork is shaped entirely from Carbon fibre – Zagato are race specialists after all – whose large, one-piece panels create an uninterrupted flow of scarlet, significantly reducing split lines. This frames a glasshouse that wraps around the driver like a visor that not only enhanced visibility but creates a meaner, more aggressive stance well in keeping with the modern direction of Aston Martin.

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Even the roof has been altered into something completely different. In order to give drivers adequate room for their helmet within the car without sacrificing aerodynamics, Zagato created the double-bubble concept in the early 1950s where the roof’s shallow radius dips into the rear window. It’s since become one of their signature touches and makes the curves of the Vanquish all the more intriguing.

Despite being a Vanquish, the Zagato edition takes more than its sense of menace from the recent DB11. A new evolution of the classic side stake runs from wheel arch to door which, while not limited to the DB11 is certainly an obvious link. Not, however, as obvious as the sculptural styling of the rear, whose aerodynamic profile is strikingly similar.

Given the DB’s position as the new Aston Martin flagship, touches like that are to be expected. It’s definitely no bad thing, especially given that Zagato’s design takes just as much from other Aston Martin models in the finer details. The wing mirrors for example evoke the superlative One-77, while the bladed LED technology in the rear lights was originally developed for the track-only beast, the Vulcan.

That same combination of features continues on the interior, with Aston Martin taking the lead and Zagato adding their own unique touches. Herringbone carbon fibre is paired with shadow and anodized bronze and aniline leather to give the facia, vents and rotary dials a rich combination of different materials and textures. Zagato’s hand comes in the form of the Z quilting of the upholstery and the artisan’s crest on the headrests and stitched into the centre console.

It goes without saying that each of these touches is administered painstakingly by the hand of a true artisan. It’s the only way to achieve such an exemplary level of finish and, given the results, is well worth the time invested. However, not all the changes to the Vanquish Zagato are aesthetic.

An adjustment to Aston Martin's 6.0L V12 powertrain has improved performance, pushing the engine to pump out 600 horsepower. This in turn means the limited edition is capable of delivering a projected 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds. It’s a small change on paper but, when combined with the unique suspension system it’s been paired with, creates an entirely new Aston Martin driving experience.

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We could go on to explain just how impressive those extra horses are; we could delve into the decades of experience each Zagato craftsman has. But like anything, the reason the limited edition Vanquish is so exceptional is a far simpler, more emotional one; it’s utterly breath-taking.

To make an enquiry, CLICK HERE.


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