The build-up to this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance continues apace. Yesterday was Infiniti’s turn, with its gorgeous, retro-styled electric Prototype 9 concept car, while today the headlines go to Aston Martin. Once again, the British carmaker teamed up with Italian design house Zagato, this time on a pair of limited-edition versions of a rather old model: the Vanquish Zagato Speedster and Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.
That now makes a total of four different Zagato-bodied versions of the venerable GT car, for the two companies have previously collaborated on a Vanquish Zagato Coupe and Vanquish Zagato Volante (which means “convertible” in Aston Martinese).
Now a second open-top version is available. The Speedster is strictly for sunny days, with no convertible roof to speak of, just a pair of streamlined cowls behind the driver and passenger seats.
The Shooting Brake (a two-door wagon by another name) is, to me, the more interesting of the pair. Sadly, the company has only shared a single photo of it so far, but it takes the Vanquish Zagato Coupe shape and extends the roof back to the rear of the car. This arrangement gives the Brake a (relatively) vast luggage space behind its two-seat cabin. All four of the Vanquish Zagatos are bodied in carbon fiber and are liberally plastered with Zagato’s “Z” logo.
It started in the ‘60s
The relationship between Aston Martin and Zagato goes back almost six decades, starting with a car that some—your author included—think might be the best-looking thing on four wheels, period. The DB4 GT was struggling to beat the front-engined sports cars from arch rival Ferrari, in no small part thanks to its excess weight. So in 1960, Aston Martin sent some DB4 GT chassis to Zagato in Italy to get the lightweight (or superleggera) treatment. Unfortunately, the DB4 GT Zagato turned out to be prettier than it was fast, and only 20 were built. (That is, until 1988, when four more DB4 chassis were used to create so-called “Sanction II” cars, and then a further two “Sanction III” cars were made in 2000.)
Next up was 1986’s V8 Zagato, an angular wedge of a thing that couldn’t have looked less like the curvy DB4 GT Zagato if it tried. The looks may be controversial—I happen to be fan—but the performance was spectacular for the time. Few other cars in 1986 could hit 186mph (300km/h), and Aston Martin had no trouble selling 52 coupes and another 37 Volantes.
Then came the DB7 Zagato, introduced at Pebble Beach in 2002. Unlike the slightly frumpy DB4 GT, the DB7 was already quite the looker, and Zagato’s touch didn’t do much to improve the underlying car. Despite that, 99 were sold, followed a year later by 99 DB AR1s. This was a US-market roadster, devoid of any roof and meant for a life underneath the sunny skies of California.
In 2011, it was the turn of the Vantage to get the Zagato treatment. In total, 150 Aston Martin V12 Zagatos were built, and several were raced by the factory at the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race in 2011 and 2012.
Which brings us back to the present. All told, there will be a total of 325 Vanquish Zagatos when all is said and done; 99 each of the Coupe, Volante, and Shooting Brake, and just 28 Speedsters. The cheapest of these is the Coupe, at a little under $300,000. All of them have already been sold, except for the Shooting Brake, which doesn’t go into production until next year.
Listing image by Aston Martin