'On the road, the Zagato eats up the long straights. Once moving its progress is magnificently effortless. Like most very fast cars, it's as if it isn't constrained by the physical laws of gravity and air resistance. Unlike most very fast cars, however, it fools its driver into thinking that its blistering, growling pace is normal, comfortable, undramatic.' - Motor.
With the introduction of the Vantage Zagato in 1986, Aston Martin renewed its association with one of Italy's most illustrious carrozzeria, Zagato having been responsible for that most celebrated and desirable of all post-war Aston Martins, the DB4GT. Neighbouring stands at the 1984 Geneva Salon facilitated the initial contact between Aston boss Victor Gauntlett and the Zagato brothers, and by following year the project had progressed sufficiently for Aston to accept deposits on the 50 production cars planned. The first prototype was shown to the public at Geneva in March 1986, and in June successfully met its design target by achieving a maximum speed of 186mph while on test with the French magazine Sport Auto.
Part of Zagato's brief had been to shed some of the standard Vantage's not inconsiderable weight, and this was achieved by the simple expedient of shortening the wheelbase by a little over 17 centimetres and deleting the rear seats, thus creating the first production two-seater since the DB4GT. The 5.3-litre four-cam V8 was, naturally, to Vantage specification, producing a mind-bending 432bhp at 6,200rpm. The manner of its installation though, created a certain amount of controversy, the Zagato's low sloping bonnet, penned in the expectation of a fuel-injected engine, being interrupted by the now iconic bulge necessary to clear the Vantage's quartet of Webers.
Predictably, given the success of the coupé, a Zagato Volante convertible was not long in coming, the first example, a converted saloon, being exhibited in 1987. Intended only for the fuel-injected 320bhp engine, the Volante avoided its sibling's bonnet bulge unless, of course, a customer specified an engine in Vantage tune. The Volante was intended to be even more exclusive than its closed cousin - 25 were planned initially, as opposed to 50 coupés - and in the event a total of 37 had been built by the time production ceased in 1990, making this one of the rarest and most desirable of open supercars as well as an exceptionally collectible Aston Martin.
This right-hand drive example, chassis number '30041', is the first of only five Zagato Volantes originally constructed by the factory with the 432bhp Vantage engine, which was identified by an 'X' suffix to the number rather than a 'V'. AML Ltd's invoice for the car, dated 31st October 1989, is on file together with the order sheet listing its special features and the original warranty card in the name of P S Green Esq of Bramhall, Cheshire. '30041' has spent much of its life in the hands of Roger Bennington of the Stratton Motor Company and has covered fewer than 10,000 miles from new. It is still extremely original but in superb condition.
Beautifully finished in its original special order Rolls-Royce Royal Blue with Blue-piped Magnolia Leather interior, this ultra-rare Zagato Vantage Volante is in excellent condition benefitting from a £20,000 overhaul at the UK's most renowned Aston Martin Specialist which included the fitment of a full handling pack and a sports exhaust. Included with this very special, rare and unique Motorcar is aforementioned history, sundry invoices. A genuinely unique opportunity to acquire a coachbuilt Aston Martin Zagato.
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