When in 1986 Aston Martin announced that Zagato was to body a limited run of their V8 Vantage and that only 50 were to be built, all of them were pre-sold before production had even started. It was an idea cooked up between the then Aston Martin CEO Victor Gauntlett and the brothers Giani and Ellio Zagato, to honour an automotive collaboration that started in 1958. Lightweight and shorter than the ‘standard’ Vantage, the factory quoted a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds with a top speed of around 190MPH, this was to also be the company’s fastest ever car. In 1986, this was brutally quick. The factory then announced a further 25 Volante convertibles would be made.
Chassis 20011 is one of the three prototypes V8 Zagatos, and one of the two RHD (the other being the highly modified, ex-Rowan Atkinson race car). There are internal factory memos discussing the development of this car, and the development of this engine for the prototypes is documented in the book by the AML engineer Arthur Wilson.
The warranty card is in the name of Aston Martin buying legend Wensley Hayden-Baillie, a very important customer of AML and close friend of Victor Gauntlett. He always commissioned exceptionally high-spec cars from the factory and consequently, it is one of only four known to have been built with the 432 bhp motor, with some judicious lightening, and is one of two with an integral roll bar. One of the other similarly developed prototypes was then tested for “Autocar” on a French autoroute in 1986, with the aim of beating the 0-60mph and top speed records then held the Ferrari 288GTO. The car achieved that goal, with a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 186mph.
As such, chassis 20011 should be viewed separately from the other coupes and is listed by AMHT as a significant car. The current custodian has owned the car for 20 years, is the third documented owner and oversaw a breath-taking restoration by Pebble Beach winning specialist Auto Restorations in New Zealand between 2009 and 2013. Significantly, and in recognition of the cars status, it was invited to the highly prestigious Concorso Elegeanza Vill d’Este at Lake Como in 2016, one of only fifty-two cars annually, worldwide, to receive such an invitation. This was followed by an invitation to the inaugural City of London Concours in 2017.
Finished in Gladiator Red, today the Zagato comes with all its original manuals, delivery and warranty documents as well as copies of the fascinating factory memos about this special build. There is an unbroken, complete and extensive history file along with the original service vouchers book and handbook.
Chassis 20011 is a well-known Aston Martin, featuring in numerous online blogs and websites as well as on the cover of the AML Quarterly following Villa d’Este, side by side with the Prototype Vanquish Zagato at lake Como. According to the current owner, who has probably owned, raced and driven more V8 Zagatos than almost anyone else, “20011 drives unlike the other cars, and is visceral by comparison”. This is a special car that should be recognising for its place in the marque’s genesis, a unique V8 Zagato that stands head and shoulders above its brethren.