Sometimes a typical, run of the mill Aston Martin Vanquish just isn’t enough and you have to look toward alternative options in order to retain your badass James Bond car collection membership card. Slumming it in a supercharged sport sedan or an expensive SUV just doesn’t cut it for the majority of the world’s elite these days, and Aston Martin has answered the call with 99 reasons why buyers should go overboard.
By recently announcing the production of an über-limited variant of the already outstanding Vanquish, named the Zagato Coupe, Aston Martin has for the fifth time collaborated with long-standing Italian design partner, Zagato. Rave reviews at the unveiling during the illustrious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como, Italy inspired them to move forward; since customer interest in the vehicle proved to be overwhelming, both firms agreed that in order to appease the most enthusiastic car collectors, a limited production run of just 99 cars deserved to be built to order at Aston Martin’s production facility in Gaydon, England.
The Vanquish Zagato stands as the fifth collaboration car to come out of the two companies, and after five decades of working together both firms know exactly how to complement one another. While Aston Martin remains focused on breathtaking driving dynamics and the use of aerospace-grade materials, Zagato’s signature design language and tastefully done interior touches add some edge and considerable flare to the mix.
Let’s hit the rewind button and see how this whole alliance first got started. This means we’re going all the way back to 1960, long before the word “hippie” was a common nomenclature and World War II still loomed heavy as a recent memory. A dashing DB4 GT Zagato race car emerged, which by today’s estimates is valued at almost $14 million.
Flash forward 25 years later when cocaine and minivan sales were at an all time high and a 1986 V8 Vantage Zagato edition was preparing to launch. Follow that with a DB7 Vantage Zagato in 2002, and a V12-equipped Vantage Zagato that was revealed in 2011, and that closes the history book of Aston Martin and Zagato so far.
In the Vanquish, we see a menacing red addition to that portfolio that redefines what makes a British sports car so spectacular. It’s a GT car that according to Aston Martin’s press release was “born out of racing and honed over many years of creating elegant luxury sports cars,” and dammit if they don’t already have all the numbers and specs to back it all up.
Aston Martin’s 6.0-liter V12 powertrain has been recalibrated to help it crest 600 horsepower, which in turn allows for a projected zero to 60 time of 3.5 seconds. But power isn’t everything, and a one-off suspension setup has been installed to create a GT driving experience like no other while leaving room for the design of the production Vanquish Zagato to remain almost exactly like what we saw at Villa d’Este. Proportions, lines, and exhaust notes are all Aston Martin, and beneath that gorgeous red, the reshaped bodywork is completely carbon in nature.
Another key design detail that we dig are the re-sculpted lights that feature round tail reflectors inspired by classic Zagato styling. Then there’s the duo of bulging “bladed” LED orbs out back that were pilfered from the utterly insane Vulcan, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that the wing mirrors are almost identical to the components on the One-77. But the Vanquish Zagato also retains several design cues from the iconic DB11 as well, especially in regard to the lines along the nose and across the vehicle’s haunches, which come complete with a retractable spoiler and an easy access rear hatch.
While lower barge boards and diffusers wrap every angle of the lower body with lush carbon fiber and atmospheric manipulation, a quad-exhaust burbles and roars at the rear. The cabin of the Vanquish Zagato has also been designed to wrap around the bodywork like a visor, enhancing the vehicle’s aggressive stance while boosting visibility considerably. The classic side strake has been updated as well, running from wheel arch to door just like the new DB11, complete with some serious Zagato flare.
Retaining the unmistakable “double-bubble” roofline that we have all come to love, and featuring a captivating rear silhouette that’s extremely unique looking, these styling cues are a fully functional design choice. Ever since Zagato first began dabbling in automotive design in the early 1950s, it has utilized this signature roofline in order to accommodate racing helmets, all while minimally impacting aerodynamics.
Inside the cabin, traditional Aston Martin craftsmanship meets bespoke Italian high end design with a sumptuous serving of race-inspired materials and functionality. Things like Herringbone carbon fiber get paired with shadowed and anodized bronze, with an optional aniline leather giving the forward fascia, vents, and rotary dials a rich material quality like no other. Oh, and let’s not forget those bonkers “Z” quilt pattern stitched seats and door inserts, which also happens to be embossed on headrests and can be stitched into the center console if requested.
While pricing for the the Vanquish Zagato still has yet to be released, based upon the kinds of materials and craftsmanship required, along with its extremely limited availability, it is safe to say that this car is going to be expensive as hell. So calling all sheiks, basketball stars, drug kingpins, and politicians, if a rare, bespoke British GT car with ample power and privilege sounds good to you, deliveries will begin during the first quarter of 2017.