There’s a new Zagato in town and it is very special to us. Not just as petrol heads, but as people. It is an amalgamation of engineering and the arts and proof that the automotive industry isn’t just about making money.
Coachbuilding was a popular concept at the turn of the 20th century. You could buy any chassis, from any manufacturer, and then have it sent to a professional metalworker who would turn it into a car. It was a booming business and it gave us some of the best automotive creations ever.
But as the industry evolved, Coachbuilding slunk into the darkness. Remanufacturing a monocoque chassis and body is an involved process which is becoming harder by the day. Rich people would rather spend their money on the rarities of the car world. But every few years we get a glimpse of life in the forgotten corners of Italy – Zagato still breathes. They have taken a chisel to Vanquish to create a new ‘Best Car in the World’, the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato. It really does makes your heart melt.
We’ve loved the look of all new Astons in the recent past. They look lithe and appealing like they’ve been to the gym and then to a salon. The new DB11 as an example is magnificent, but the Zagato shooting brake goes a step further. It is a work of art. With a nose like a nurse shark and a long, double-bubble roof, it looks like something a more advanced civilisation left behind on their interstellar travels.
We have craved a rear like the one we saw on the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante from Touring for some time. Zagato’s take on it is a watch face circular taillamp made up of LEDs. A panel shaped like a two-ended sabre stabs the two circles. In the cowl hide indicator lights with z-shaped patterns. The only people luckier than the 99 owners of this rare automobile are the ones who would find themselves behind the Zagato on public roads. And they will happily stay behind!
At the heart of this marvellous machine is Aston Martins’s 6.0-litre V12 engine which makes 580 horsepower. The entire car is built out of carbon fibre and aluminium. The rear fender is a massive single panel – few lines pollute the exterior of this car. Light materials let the huge engine launch the Zagato to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
The Zagato shooting brake is a car for people who neither want nor need a car. It’s a car for people who crave inspiration, and the Zagato delivers. It’s a car you can sit and look at for the remainder of your lifetime. Most of the already-spoken-for 99 cars will be ‘garage’ queens. For the owners who elect to drive them, like the owners of the two featured in this article, this will be an ongoing special experience. Aston Martin’s grand touring game has just stepped up.