Aston Martin by Zagato: history and sketches

Automotive Design 22 Feb 2012
Aston Martin by Zagato: history and sketches

To celebrate the launch of the Aston Martin V12 Zagato, the Italian design studio has published an official document and new design sketches of the most famous cars created in collaboration with the British marque.


The V12 Zagato is the latest result of a collaboration between the British carmaker and the Italian coachbuilder, that started over 50 years ago and brought to life a series of unique models which are now rare and exclusive items strongly desired by collectors.

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Design Sketch 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato - Design Sketch

Below we report an official history of the most famous models – The 1960 DB4 GTZ and the 1985-86 V8 Vantage/volante. The document was released by the Italian studio for the launch of the production V12 Zagato, along with some new design sketches.

DB4 GT Zagato (1960).

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato - Design SketchThe progenitor of this family of models, the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, was entirely designed, assembled and trimmed in Milan in the early 60s.

At that time Aston Martin was searching for a lighter version of the DB4 GT.

David Brown and John Wyer (CEO and Chief Project Manager) of Aston Martin turned to Elio and Gianni Zagato, CEO and Technical Director of the company at the time.

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Supported by a talented team of engineers and designers, they were able, in a very limited time, to create an extremely light, fast and unique version of the DB4 GT (314 hp, 280 km/h).

The 19 units that were produced still exist today and are jealously treasured in the most important collections in the world.

Each of them has a listing on the collectible market of at least 6 million dollars, without considering the history of events tied to each individual car.

V8 Vantage Zagato (1985), V8 Volante Zagato (1986)

1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato - Design Sketch At the beginning of the 80s, with the end of the oil crisis, the general mood of recession passed and finally gave way to a breath of optimism.

This economic situation, again favorable, was the push for the creation of status symbol cars.

The strong demand for coupe and spider models led to the creation of limited and numbered editions, soon known as “Instant Classics”.

198 Aston Martin V8 Vantage ZagatoThese were very exclusive and fast cars, still very highly valued, increasing exponentially their market value.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage (only 50) and the V8 Volante (only 33 cars) commissioned by Peter Livanos and Victor Gauntlett to Elio and Gianni Zagato, were among the best sports cars of that time.

Capable of reaching 300km/h, they were sold out soon after their commercialization and have continued to increase in value over time.

1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato - Design Sketch Both models were designed and produced by Zagato in the historical factory in Milano.

DB7 V12 Zagato (2002), DB-AR1 (2003). “Motion and Emotion” is the philosophy of Zagato’s in the neoclassical decade, beginning with the start of the new Millennium.

The automobile, by now a mass-market product even in the case of a sporty luxury car, has lost its original emotional charge and its exclusive product role dedicated only to elite clients with very high purchasing power.

As a true luxury Atelier, Zagato focuses on key success factors such as personalization, uniqueness and attention to details.

Because of their common vision, Andrea Zagato and Ulrich Bez have created products that are both successful in sales and sought after as collectibles.

Zagato designed, engineered and manufactured in Italy 99 body-in-whites of each model, whereas assembly and trimming were made by Aston Martin directly in England.

V12 Zagato (2011)

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Design SketchInspired by the V8 Vantage Zagato, in particular concerning the characteristic treatment of the glass surface in such a way as to create the illusion of the “disappearance” of the windshield pillar, the V12 will have a production of no more than 150 cars.

The goal was to apply all the Italian technical-design and brand philosophy to the V12 Vantage: the big front grille, the double-bubble on the roof, the “criss-cross” motif that embraces the side and rear windows, and the round lights, all stylistic elements typical of Zagato that have awarded the V12 the allure of the past creations of the Zagato Carrozzeria founded by Ugo Zagato in 1919: minimalism, rationality and “necessary beauty”.

While the initial sketches and mathematical models have been completed in Milano, the engineering, prototyping and the body-in-white manufacturing have been carried out in England because of the recent collaboration of Zagato with its prestigious British partners.

As well as for the DB7 Zagato and DB-AR1, the assembly and trimming are entrusted to the Aston Martin staff in Gaydon.

For this reason, the V12 Zagato can be considered the “most British” of all Astons, with a Zagato body that remains true to tradition – the perfect collaboration between two automotive trademarks.

(Source: Zagato)

Image Gallery

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