- 1989 Aston Martin V8 Volante Zagato
- Converted to 6.3 Litre Vantage specification by the factory when new
- 1 of just 2 examples to have such a conversion by Works
- Only 1,300 miles from new
- 3 owners from new
The combination of Aston Martin and Zagato is one that seems so synonymous, that one would think there was a host of cars they had worked on together. However, until 2003 when the DB7 Zagato was launched, the two companies had only collaborated twice. The first time being on the legendary DB4 GT Zagato in 1960, which today sits at the very top any collectors shopping list, if you can find one. Twenty-four years after the launch of the DB4 GT, a conversation between Victor Gauntlett, then Chairman of Aston Martin, and the Zagato brothers at the Geneva Motor Show in 1984 would kick off the second joint venture.
Aston Martin was enjoying the boom of the Eighties and sales of the V8 and V8 Vantage models were going well. However, the competition was stiff. Think Ferrari 288 GTO and Porsche 959, not to mention the more ‘off the peg’ Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach. There was plenty to satisfy the appetite of the wealthy car buyer, but the excesses of the time were so much that more and more people wanted that car that no one else could have. Thus the V8 Vantage Zagato was born. After a visit to Newport Pagnell to analyse the chassis and see what they had to work with, Gianni Zagato returned to Milan to come up with a concept, drawings of which were shown at Geneva in 1985. Based on the drawings and a clay scale model, all 50 build slots were sold.
The car itself used an uprated version of the V8 Vantage engine, now churning out 432 bhp and with Zagato using aluminium and CRP panels, as well as shortening the chassis by 17cms, the weight was reduced by over 10% compared to the standard Aston. The result was a 0-60mph time under 5 seconds and a top speed of 187mph, thanks to the new styling’s slippery shape. The styling was met with mixed reviews but with time, there is no doubting it as a cutting edge and iconic design, very much in keeping with the Eighties. At the end of production, 52 examples were built and went to some of the most famous car enthusiasts of the time.
In 1987, the Volante (convertible) version was launched. After the promise of owning the most exclusive supercar, let alone Aston Martin, the owners of the Coupé were understandably upset at being upstaged so shortly after shelling out for their own cars. In order to placate them, the styling of the Volante was more subdued, gone was the power bulge bonnet and a different, less aggressive nose with slatted flip-up lights was installed. The engine was the fuel injection unit found in the standard V8s at the time and put out a much more conservative, 320 bhp, down by over 100 bhp on its Coupé sibling. Having made one group of Aston Martin owners happy, the new buyers of the Volante were next to kick up a fuss about the new looks and lower power output. As a result, the factory offered a very expensive option to upgrade one’s Volante to Vantage specification, not just in terms of the engine but the styling as well.
Of the 37 Volante Zagatos built, just 10 were converted by the Works to Vantage specification, 3 of which only had the cosmetic upgrades. The conversion consisted of the following:
- Rebuild engine to Vantage specification including conversion from fuel injection to carburettors.
- Fitting of Vantage Zagato front bumper and open headlights
- Fitting of Vantage Zagato bonnet with bulge to clear carburettors
All the Vantage Volantes were manual and just 1 was built in LHD.
THIS MOTOR CAR
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante Zagato for sale with The Classic Motor Hub is beyond rare. An original Aston Martin Lagonda certificate on file confirms the receipt of a £25,000 deposit on the 1st July 1987 with an estimated delivery of September 1988. The first owner, a Mr. Saunderson, ordered the car via Stratton Motor Company. Specification was Gladiator Red, the launch colour of the original V8 Vantage Zagatos, with Parchment (3672) interior piped with Burgundy (3171) and a Black Mohair Hood. A letter dated 4th October 1989 from Roger Bennington, Stratton’s Managing Director, informs Mr. Saunderson that his Volante Zagato is in the final stages of preparation. So to say that Aston Martin were running a bit behind schedule is a bit of an understatement.
A few days later he finally gets the bill (on file), which totals £190,549.99, a huge sum of money at the time. However, Mr. Saunderson can’t be too disappointed about the delay as another letter on file, dated 14th November 1989, confirms the safe arrival of his car at Stratton Motor Company and they would advise insuring the car for £500,000! The option to store the car was given and we believe this was taken up and before even taking official delivery of the car, Mr. Saunderson sends the Aston Martin back to the factory for a full conversion to not only Vantage specification but 6.3 litre specification as well, making his car one of just two cars that had this work done by the factory themselves when new. The original invoices on file from July 1990 detail all the work carried out during the conversion, including an upgrade to all the suspension and a large bore exhaust system, which required modifications to the rear bumper. The whole job totalled £50,000, over a quarter of the price of the car itself.
Mr. Saunderson kept the car in his collection and did just a handful of miles until 1999, when it was bought by Andre Bloom on behalf of a well-known car collector, at which point it showed just 1,100 miles. Since then the car has been in a private collection and stored professionally. Maintenance logs on file show that the car was regularly checked over, started, run up to temperature and the tyres over inflated for storage conditions. On the subject of tyres, amazingly, this example still has the original Goodyear tyres fitted when new.
The car comes with a full tool kit and jack, a set of original handbooks and service book. The history file consists of numerous letters of correspondence over the years, copies of original factory build sheets and MOT certificates from new until 2002 when the car was put into storage until May 2020.
This incredible Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante Zagato for sale at The Classic Motor Hub offers a truly unrepeatable opportunity to the discerning collector to acquire not only one of the rarest models of Aston Martin but a totally unique example built to the highest specification possible by the factory themselves.