Aston Martin has announced a new collaboration with renowned Italian design house Zagato, to mark the 50th anniversary year of the iconic Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato. The first product of this renewed partnership will be shown at the famous Villa D’Este Concours on the shores of Lake Como, Italy on 21st May 2011, with a racing debut at Nürburgring later in the month.
Aston Martin and Zagato have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship since their first collaboration, which culminated in the production of the now iconic DB4GT Zagato 50 years ago. Work on the new Aston Martin Zagato is well under way, with an initial concept to be presented at the Villa D’Este Concours in May to gauge initial customer reaction. It is being shown with a view to a production car following in 2012. The first partnership between Aston Martin and Zagato came to fruition in 1961 after Aston Martin sought to remove more weight from the DB4GT.
In search of a lighter, higher performing version, Aston Martin approached Zagato. Managing Director, Elio Zagato and Technical Director Gianni Zagato along with a talented team managed to draft the designs of the DB4GT Zagato in just one week. After previewing the car late in 1960 at the London Motor Show to great acclaim, Aston Martin began taking orders and production began in 1961. Of the 19 original DB4GT Zagato built, all still survive and are held in pride of place within some of the worlds greatest car collections. The first car built and used to unveil to the public was later raced extensively, beginning with its debut at Goodwood in 1961.
Of all of the DB4GT Zagatos, three were built to a lightweight racing specification designated within Aston Martin as DP209 (Design Project Number). Among these were perhaps the two most famous DB4 GT Zagatos, ordered by the Essex Racing Stable and registered as ‘1 VEV’ and ‘2 VEV’. These cars were raced successfully by great names such as Jim Clark and Roy Salvadori. In tribute to this racing heritage, the product of this 2011partnership will also be campaigned in endurance racing, commencing at the Nürburgring on 28th May. 25 years after the first collaboration, the two companies joined forces again in 1986 to design and build a limited number of the V8 Vantage Zagato, and later the V8 Zagato Volante.
The former of the two cars, based on the V8 Vantage, was heralded as one of the most dynamic Aston Martins offering performance figures of 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 186mph. A more recent project took place with the design and production of the DB7 Zagato. Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2002 and with production following in 2003; 99 examples were built for sale, with number 100 kept by Aston Martin.
Further to the announcement of the DB7 Zagato, a great deal of interest was shown by customers in the USA for a version suited specifically to Florida and California, and thus the collaboration extended to an identical number of DB-AR1 (American Roadster 1) being produced. Similar in styling to the DB7 Zagato but built as a pure two-seat roadster with no roof, the DB AR1 answered this demand perfectly.