DB7 Zagato Description
Chassis numbers: 700001 – 700100
In production: Autumn/Winter 2003
The Aston Martin and Carrozzeria Zagato relationship started in 1960, when the London Motor Show was graced by one of the world’s most beautiful cars – the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. Many years later, the uniquely striking V8 Vantage Zagato and Zagato Volante were created. Dr. Ulrich Bez and Dr. Andrea Zagato met at the Pebble Beach Concours in August 2001 and decided that a third Aston Martin Zagato was a real possibility. Initial sketches were produced by Zagato’s Chief Designer, Nori Harada, and these were reviewed by the Aston Martin team including Henrik Fisker, Aston Martin’s new Director of Design. At the Geneva Motor Show in March 2002 the final go-ahead was given for a concept car and the project was announced to the press and public. An early production LHD DB7 Vantage Volante, chassis 400008, was allocated and transformed into the DB7 Zagato prototype ‘Georgia’ which was clothed in a hand-beaten steel and aluminum alloy body.
For the project to be viable, orders for 75 examples were needed although production would not exceed 99 customer cars. The bespoke gentleman’s tailor, Gieves and Hawkes of Number 1 Savile Row, was the venue selected to unveil the Mercury Grey Zagato to a group of potential customers in July 2002. Later that month when the press saw the car, they had all been allocated with a waiting list of another 100+ names. The only public appearances for the Zagato were at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California in mid-August and the 2002 Paris Salon d’Automobile. No further orders were needed and so the car was not displayed at the Birmingham Motor Show just a month later, centre stage being taken by the DB7 GT.
The basis for the DB7 Zagato was the body underframe of a DB7 Vantage Volante, shortened in the wheelbase and shipped to Zagato in Italy for the bodywork. The cars were then taken to the new facility at Gaydon for eight layers of paint and lacquer, and finally they went to Bloxham to be completed. Because the chassis platform, the windscreen structure and the interior from the standard car were retained, there was no need for further crash testing. The front wings, bonnet, boot lid and door skins were in hand formed aluminum, but the roof with its characteristic ‘Zagato double bubble’, the roof pillars, the rear body and the rear wings were made of steel. The bumpers and sills were made of impact-absorbing composite material. The overall length was less than that of the DB7 by some 204 mm but only 60 mm had been removed from the wheelbase by shortening the chassis platform, which gave a substantial reduction in overhang at each end. The front track was wider than the DB7 at 1536 mm and wider still at the rear by a further 14 mm. These refinements brought a bonus with the overall weight being reduced by 60 kilograms. Though the front headlights were common to the DB7, the front grille had a very distinctive ‘egg-box’ grille with a touch of 'Aston Martin' to its outline. The very pronounced rear wing shape did hark back to the DB4 version, which strengthened the Aston Martin/Zagato image.
The interior was broadly similar to that of the standard car with the omission of the rear seats which were replaced by a parcel shelf and luggage retaining straps. A first for Aston Martin and quite rare in other cars was the use of Aniline leather, an especially soft material that is dyed rather that coated and the result of minimal finishing. The leather was sewn in a quilted diamond pattern for the seats and parcel shelf.
The engine, transmission, suspension and brakes all had a specification similar to that found on the DB7 GT.
All examples had a six-speed Quickshift manual gearbox with the exception of 710016, which had the Touchtronic automatic transmission fitted at the time of manufacture as a joint exercise between Bloxham and Works Service at Newport Pagnell.
By the end of 2003, all had been made and delivered to their owners and, in the end, exactly 100 were made, 60 RHD and 40 LHD, and all supplied to UK or European specification. They were not marketed to customers in North America. Chassis 700100, was built before the first production car and has been retained by the factory.