£5.00 ISSUE 3 AUTUMN 2013 V8 Vantage: THE ORIGINAL ASTON SUPERCAR
By the mid-’80s the AM V8 and its Vantage big brother were living on borrowed time, and, under the direction of Victor gauntlett, Aston began work on a replacement. The Virage was largely still based on the V8, but its new body (by John Heffernan and Ken greenley), an updated 32-valve fuel-injected V8 and other refinements were enough to give Aston new impetus. in 1992 came the Volante version, and also a Works-developed 500bhp 6.3 monster with widened bodywork. sales of all variants reached 1050.
Like previous Aston/zagato collaborations, the DB7 Zagato used a shortened chassis, lighter bodywork and familiar Zagato design cues (like the ‘double-bubble’ roof). it also had an uprated engine, in this case the Vantage’s V12 tuned to 435bhp. The production run was limited to 99 cars, all of which were snapped up. The DB-AR1 was a Zagato-designed, somewhat impractical ‘speedster’ version of the DB7 (it didn’t even have a hood) aimed specifically at the west coast of America, where most of the 99 examples still reside. The DB9 was effectively a successor to the highly successful DB7 Vantage, with the latest version of the now-familiar 5.9-litre V12, a Touchtronic auto transmission option, and the first appearance of the largely aluminium ‘VH’ platform, all clothed in another gorgeous ian Callum body, refined by his successor, Henrik Fisker. it was also the first Aston to be built at gaydon. A Volante version arrived in 2005, and in 2008 power grew to 470bhp. For 2013MY the car was given a major visual and mechanical refresh, now with 510bhp.
Specification Engine 5935cc, V12 power 510bhp @ 6500rpm Torque 420lb ft @ 5750rpm 0-60mph 4.1sec Top speed 190mph
The V12 Zagato is the most recent Aston to feature the badge of the famous italian styling house – though in fact this particular Zagato was styled by Aston’s own Marek reichman. it was another strictly limited edition: in this case just 101 were made. Based on the V12 Vantage, the Zagato was rebodied in carbonfibre and aluminium, though the mechanical package was virtually unchanged. still, since the V12 Vantage was already one of the finest drivers’ Astons of all time, that was hardly a concern – even at £396,000 a pop.