BULLETIN: NEWS & EVENTS
A family of Zagatos. Plus DB11 V8, Valkyrie, and the first electric Aston
FOUR ASTON MARTIN ZAGATOS. Let’s just pause for a moment and allow that to sink in. Four Zagatos. What began with a striking and discreetly introduced Zagato version of the Vanquish S coupé has escalated into an unprecedented and quite remarkable quartet of Vanquish-based Zagato designs.
The coupé and Volante follow a familiar recipe, and are no less desirable for that. However, the newly announced Speedster and Shooting Brake editions are major surprises and utterly spectacular.
As all will share the same 595bhp V12 underpinnings of the regular Vanquish S (with fine-tuning to the damping to suit each car’s character), they promise to be as fabulous to drive as they are to look at. Pricing is at the ‘if you have to ask...’ level, but reckon on around £600,000 plus taxes for the Volante and Shooting Brake, and up to £1m for the Speedster. But then, according to AML, they’re all sold anyway.
For Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, working with Zagato is an opportunity to relish, for the process is as different and dynamic as the cars it creates. ‘It’s always a liberating experience to work on a Zagato,’ he says. ‘There’s more freedom. And there’s something special about two designers, two companies, coming together on a very special project. We don’t have the constraints of modern-day production cars. There is no market research, but there’s always an idea. More than one, actually. This time around we’d already decided we were going to do a family, but we started independently, with Andrea [Zagato] and my own team doing their own sketches. The show-and-tell is the most exciting bit. We really want to push each other, so that moment when we see each other’s ideas is a real buzz. It’s all about harnessing that creative tension.
‘All of the Zagatos are done within such a short timeframe that the designs are the essence of the sketch. Very raw, quick, fast. That’s how you keep the excitement. It’s an instinctive, dynamic process. Andrea describes the relationship
between Zagato and Aston Martin as the madness within the beauty. We’re trying to catch lightning in a bottle.’
There was a time when Zagatos were the unicorns of the Aston line-up. A gift from the gods, if you like. We had to wait more than 25 years after the DB4 GT Zagato before Victor Gauntlett gave us the V8. Then there was a further 13-year hiatus until 2003’s DB7 Zagato and DB AR1, followed by an eight-year pause until the V12 Zagato in 2011. With just five years – the blink of an eye in Zagato terms – separating that car from the release of the first of these new Vanquish-based designs, it’s clear Zagato has become part of the wider model strategy.
It shouldn’t come as a great surprise, for few cars cause a stir like Z-badged Astons. Especially in an age when the appetite for this kind of ultra-low-volume car is at an all-time high. In an effort to maintain the level of exclusivity, Aston has kept build-runs small. Nevertheless, once completed, this awesome foursome still represents a total of some 325 cars. Specifically, that’s 99 each for the coupé, Volante and Shooting Brake, plus 28 Speedsters. Minuscule numbers in the grand scheme of things, but a figure that will almost double the number of Aston Martin Zagatos built since 1960.
Does this quartet collectively dilute the impact of future Aston Martin Zagatos? Though he’s mindful of the risk, Reichman believes not: ‘Zagatos are the ultimate collectibles. The future concours cars. All we’ve done with these Vanquish-based models is put more of a strategy around that notion. We haven’t released Zagato models as a family before, but the idea is not without precedent. Think back to the DB7 Zagato and DB AR1, or the V8 Zagato coupé and Volante, for example. We’ve simply taken things a few steps further.
‘Why a family? Well, many of our customers want different things. Some prefer the purity of a coupé, but others love the idea of something more extreme, like the Speedster. And yes, some of them have ordered one example of each. There’s always an over-demand from our clients and patrons. We could easily fulfil demand for more cars than this, but we want Zagato to remain something very special. They’re still the rarest of the rare.’
Strategic thinking and model families are not phrases commonly associated with the fruits of Carrozzeria Zagato. It sounds calculating – and is, to a degree. But the truth is you’re still more likely to see a shooting star in the night sky than spot any of these Zagatos on the road.
With Zagato celebrating its centenary in 2019, we can be sure the occasion will be marked by something truly exceptional. What the madness will bring is anyone’s guess, but we can’t wait to see it.
Above and below Speedster was about to get its official unveiling in Pebble Beach as we went to press. The ‘speed humps’ behind the seats are designed to mimic the famous Zagato ‘double bubble’ roof on the coupé version. Only this sketch of the Shooting Brake (below) has been released so far. It will remain a two-seater but with a tailgate to access the luggage deck. All four Zagatos will feature the Vanquish S’s 595bhp naturally aspirated V12 engine and Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic transmission