Among the most famous of Italian design firm Zagato’s many masterpieces was the iconic Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of that car’s introduction, Aston Martin will reveal an all-new production model, called the V12 Zagato, at the Geneva auto salon in March.
As the pinnacle of the Vantage range, the V12 Zagato is the latest expression of a successful creative collaboration that has given rise to a series of striking GT cars over the last half-century.
The first in that series, the original DB4GT Zagato, provided the inspiration for the new V12 Zagato, production of which is scheduled to begin in Q3 2012, with first deliveries in the fourth quarter. A maximum of 150 cars will be built.
Though commemorating the past, the V12 Zagato is no mere pastiche of the original. Rather, it takes Aston Martin’s philosophy of technology and tradition to a new level, combining the modern ideas, materials, processes and technology pioneered on the One-77 with the craftsmanship of its illustrious forebear.
As was the case with the One-77, the Canadian auto supplier and engineering firm, Multimatic, based in Markham, Ontario, is expected to provide core engineering and construction for the V12 Zagato.
While the price tag for the One-77 was about $1.7-million (Cdn), however, the V12 Zagato is expected to sell in the bargain-price range of just over $500,000 (Cdn). That’s if you could buy one here.
As was the case for the One-77, it is not expected to be certified for sale in North America.
According to Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, the V12 Zagato is "a celebration of both Aston Martin’s heritage and its future… In the V12 Zagato I believe we have captured the spirit of the (DB4GT Zagato) and combined it with a confident twist of modernity to give it a character all of its own."
Initial design concepts for the V12 Zagato were explored in early 2010. Inspired by Zagato’s bold and individual styling signatures, Aston Martin’s Director of Design, Marek Reichman, and his Gaydon-based design created a car that pushes the boundaries of Aston Martin’s design language, yet pays tribute to the original.
That design team, working hand-in-hand with engineers and artisans, completed the build of a pair of concept cars in the spring of 2011, one of which made its world debut at the prestigious Villa d’Este concours in May.
Entered in the Concept Cars and Prototypes class, the V12 Zagato wowed the judges and the crowd, taking first place against impressive opposition.
In June, the Villa d’Este winner – along with the second prototype car – made its world racing debut at the gruelling 24 hours of Nürburgring. Both cars completed the ultimate durability test, continuing Aston Martin’s 100 per cent finishing record in this notoriously tough race.
The decision was made in July 2011 to build a strictly limited run of V12 Zagatos. Since then, Aston Martin’s design team has worked to refine the sports car’s detailing and aerodynamic performance while staying faithful to the original design concept.
At the same time, the company says, engineers have been putting prototypes through the company’s rigorous development programme.
Creating each V12 Zagato takes approximately 2,000 man-hours to complete. Like the One-77, it is constructed from a combination of hand crafted aluminium and carbon fibre. The hood, signature ‘double-bubble’ roof and doors are hand-crafted aluminium, while the front and rear fenders, door sills and cargo lid surround are made from carbon fibre.
The finished body is then painted, in the same dedicated area as the One-77, in one of four unique colours: Scintilla Silver, Alloro Green, Alba Blue or Diavolo Red.
The painting process alone takes some 100 hours to complete and is followed by the marriage of the body structure and the. The build is completed in the standalone facility originally built to house One-77 production.
Fitment of the hand-crafted interior and upholstery is also completed in this dedicated build area.
Fine details of the V12 Zagato include exposed elements of carbon fibre on the front splitter, A-pillars, rear lamp pods, diffuser, door-mirror cases and rear wing.
A bold new grille is formed in a unique three-dimensional composite material mesh that echoes Zagato’s famous ‘Z’ moniker.
The interior is trimmed in seven ‘Bridge of Weir’ hides, with hand-stitched quilting and ‘Z’ embroidery on the headrests and rear parcel shelfCarbon fibre sill plaques with ’V12 Zagato’ inlaid metal script provide a distinctive finishing touch.
A work of art built by skilled craftsmen to be driven and enjoyed by the world’s most discerning car collectors, the V12 Zagato is a fitting tribute to its illustrious ancestor.