1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante
Aston Martin’s association with the great Milanese styling house Zagato was rekindled in March 1985 – some two decades after the last of the 19 DB4 GT Zagatos was delivered – when production of a new two-seater Aston was announced at the Geneva Show.
The ‘V8 Vantage Zagato’, a ferocious coupé based on the chassis of a V8 Vantage Saloon, was shown to the public a year later. Priced at £87,000, a deposit of £15,000 was required and by August of that year 50 had been received. The car was a sell-out, and at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June 1986 the prototype was timed at 298.75km/h – a whisker off the intended 300km/h.
As it did with the original DB4 GT Zagato, Aston Martin took the most potent car in its range and repackaged it with sensuous Italian bodywork that hugged the 5,340cc engine, five-speed gearbox and 16in wheels like a glove. Artful repackaging meant that many components such as the brake servos were repositioned for optimum weight distribution – overall, the V8 Zagato coupé was some 168kg lighter than a V8 Saloon. The wheelbase was unchanged, but the overhangs dramatically shortened and the cockpit redesigned as an intimate cabin for two.
As day follows night, thanks to the overwhelming success of the coupé a convertible version of the V8 Zagato – ‘Volante’ in Aston-speak – appeared at the 1987 Geneva Show. It was priced at £100,335 and initially limited to just 25 examples. To separate the Zagato Volante from its hard-top relation, most convertibles carried the fuel-injected V8, enabling Zagato to craft a smoother bonnetline. The coupé’s quadruple Webers required a characteristic ‘hump’ just ahead of the screen.
Also, automatic transmission was now an option. The new V8 Zagato Volante was a highly individual alternative for sun-seekers eager to stand out from the crowd. The package was still good enough for 160mph and zero to 60 mph in six seconds, the Zagato-modified car having a definite edge over a regular V8 Volante.
Production of the V8 Zagato Volante finished in 1989 – by which time the price had risen to £125,000 – after only 37 cars had been built, many of which with automatic transmission.
This Motor Car
Although built to European specification, Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante ‘30029’ was delivered new to a Mr LA Noto of Greenwich, Connecticut, on 4 November 1989. A Certificate of Origin issued by Aston Martin on 9 September 2015 states that it was a manual car for the German market in Vulcan Black with all-black leather and black-edged-black carpet.
Sometime later, renowned British marque expert Richard Williams supplied the car to Belgian official Aston Martin agent René Michiels, whose Antwerp company is still a Sales and Heritage Centre for Aston Martin. Michiels then sold ‘30029’ to one of the country’s leading Aston Martin collectors. It had covered just 156km.
According to previous sales literature accompanying the car, the new owner, finding himself in the fortunate position of having two V8 Zagatos in his collection, decided to sell ‘30029’ to Amsterdam-based British classic car specialists Houtkamp. At this point the car was grey metallic, a shade matching Aston Martin Javelin Grey, the colour in which it is presented today.
Our client purchased the car from Houtkamp. Its mileage – as attested by a green Dutch Keuringsbewijs (technical inspection certificate) dated 22 September 2016 – is barely more than 2,500km.
The opportunity to buy a Zagato-bodied Aston Martin with such low mileage rarely presents itself. Left-hand drive, manual, presented in striking grey metallic, this car is a fine example of the long-standing co-operation between the two great houses Zagato and Aston Martin. We recommend it.