SOLD – 2003 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato – Chassis #001

  • 2003 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato
  • Chassis #001 – the very first example
  • Unique provenance and 1 of only 99 built
  • Includes limited edition leather jacket, build book, umbrella, two sets of keys and original service history insert and warranty book

The Aston Martin DB7 Zagato that is being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub holds a unique place in marque history. It is chassis 700001, the very first in a limited production run of only 99 cars, and was delivered new via Garage Keller in Switzerland on 11 December 2003.

Its first owner had agreed to buy it as soon as he learned of a proposed new Zagato model while having dinner with Aston Martin boss Dr Ulrich Bez. He hadn’t even seen the design sketches at that point, but when the two men retired to the bar and Bez showed him the drawings, a contract was drawn up there and then on the only piece of paper they could lay their hands on – a napkin.

That napkin was later framed and took pride of place on the wall in Bez’s office.

Finished in Nero Black with Claret Red interior, chassis ‘001’ features the optional aluminium interior trim rather than wood, a heated windscreen, an upgraded sat-nav system, and electrically folding wing mirrors. Fastidiously maintained in Switzerland by marque specialists, it was retained by its original owner until 2017, by which time it had covered only 18,000km.

It was then exported to the UK and given the registration LW53 ZWT. In March 2020, that was replaced by the altogether more fitting DBZ 1 (available but not included in the price of the car).

This DB7 Zagato is accompanied by an impressive history file that catalogues the care and attention lavished upon it. The original leather-bound owner’s guide is numbered ‘001 of 099’, and the warranty booklet and service history insert are present and correct. The limited edition leather jacket, umbrella and specially produced Zagato book – a stylish hardback presented in its own slipcase – are also included.

With its muscular styling and cosseting interior, ‘001’ is presented in immaculate condition and has enormous presence – testament to the talents of the craftsmen at Bloxham and Milan. Each DB7 Zagato was individually specified for its original owner, and the provenance of this particular example only adds to the appeal of what is already a rare and coveted model.

This DB7 Zagato is available for sale and immediate inspection at The Classic Motor Hub, with viewings available virtually, or in-person when possible.

Model history

The Aston Martin DB7 Zagato continued a relationship that had started in 1961 with Zagato’s legendary development of the DB4GT. It was first unveiled in July 2002 to a select group of clients at a private event on London’s Savile Row, at the premises of bespoke tailor Gieves & Hawkes. The reaction was immediate: by the time it was shown to the world’s press later that month, the entire limited-edition run of 99 cars had been sold.

The DB7 Zagato project had its roots in a chance meeting at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Dr Ulrich Bez and Andrea Zagato were both acting as judges, and over dinner Bez proposed the idea of a new collaboration between them. The initial sketches were completed less than a month later and the brief was for a more muscular and compact car than the standard DB7 – a design element that evoked the DB4GT Zagato.

Following a review by Aston Martin’s design team, the go-ahead was given in March 2002 for a prototype to be developed. Codenamed ‘Georgia’, it featured an all-new body that was hand-beaten by the craftsmen at Zagato. Aluminium alloy was used for the bonnet, doors and boot, while the front wings and the signature ‘double bubble’ roof were steel.

After the body had been constructed in Italy, each DB7 Zagato returned to Aston Martin’s Bloxham site in the UK for final assembly. Eight layers of paint and lacquer were applied, while the double-stitched aniline leather used inside was immersed in a dye bath in order to acquire its final colour – a process that retained the material’s soft touch.

This was far from being just a styling exercise, though. The car’s wheelbase had been reduced by 60mm compared to the standard DB7, while stiffer springs and dampers were fitted in order to improve its handling. Changes to the 6-litre V12’s fuel injection and ignition timing boosted power from 420bhp to 435bhp, and a lower axle ratio was used in order to improve acceleration.

Performance was staggering – a top speed of 184mph and a 0-60mph time of five seconds – and its status as a driver’s car was boosted by the fact that only a six-speed manual gearbox was available. There was no automatic option.

Much rarer than the subsequent Vanquish Zagato, the DB7 Zagato was a spectacular ‘last hurrah’ for the model that is credited with saving the marque, and its status as a collector’s car has only grown in the past two decades.

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