In the past Aston Martin have been criticised for being overly safe with their designs, but any arguments that may have been bandied around are simply no longer valid. The recently unveiled DB11, the replacement for the marque’s iconic DB9, was a bold step forward particularly when viewed from its hind quarters, which were completely redesigned from the ground up. The trouble is with Aston is that since the Vanquish of 2001, which was a machine that essentially laid the foundations for the marque’s signature look for the next 15 years, the cars they produced have been so achingly beautiful that it was always going to be hard to deviate from that formula. Whilst the DB11 is still quintessentially an Aston Martin car, it is arguably the first time in those 15 years that they’ve really taken a large step forward, and for this they must be commended.
Where Aston have never held back though is with their rare collaborations with Italian design house Zagato. First combining in 1960 with what many consider to be the sexiest car of all time, the DB4 GT Zagato, the partnership has been a prosperous one. The last DB4GT Zagato The Rake saw at auction sold for £9.4 million…just saying. The latest creation from the 56-year long partnership though is something equally beautiful, albeit in a far more contemporary way. Named the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, it's based on the standard V12 Vanquish production car, meaning it borrows the marque’s signature 6.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine, although it’s been uprated to pump out 592bhp. This isn’t the kind of car that you actually care about what’s under the bonnet though. It’s all about the way it looks. The four previous Aston Martin Zagato models have all managed to push the boundaries whilst just staying within the confines of classic AM design, and the latest is perhaps the finest yet. Says Marek Reichman, CEO of Aston Martin, “Over the years, we have developed and refined our own design language and we have always gone that little bit further with our special series cars like CC-100, One-77 and Aston Martin Vulcan. The Vanquish Zagato Concept shows how our two companies can come together and push the definition of Aston Martin design”.
The Vanquish Zagato cleverly references a number of previous Aston Martin models. The sculptural wing mirrors were inspired by the One-77, the sleek rear profile is similar to that of the DB11 and the muscular rear haunches protrude aggressively, a detail first seen on the CC-100. In a similar fashion to Zagato models from the 1950s, the roof features what is known as a ‘double bubble’, which was originally intended to accommodate drivers wearing crash helmets. It’s a subtle touch, but one that gives the car a charming vintage-inspired roofline for those with an eye for detail.
The Vanquish Zagato remains a concept at this stage, to be revealed at this weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Lake Como. We couldn’t think of a more idyllic setting for the unveiling of the most beautiful car of the year.
For more information, visit Aston Martin.
Charlie Thomas is a former staffer at The Rake.