The Aston Martin Vanquish Gets Zagato-ized

How to make an already gorgeous car more beautiful.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Venerable British automaker Aston Martin and esteemed Italian custom coachbuilder Zagato have a glorious history stretching back nearly sixty years. Their first collaboration, the 1960 DB4 GT Zagato, of which only 19 were produced, is revered not only as one of the most beautiful cars ever built, but the most valuable British car ever sold at auction. (It was part of the RM/Sotheby’s Driven By Disruption auction in New York last year.) Three even more rare and desirable models followed: the V8 Zagato, the DB7 Zagato, and the V12 Zagato.

The latest fruit of their intercontinental collusion, the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept, appropriately reflects the design and performance delights of this long lineage.

To be unveiled this weekend at the prestigious Italian Villa d’Este classic car concours, the flame-red, carbon fiber-bodied grand tourer is immediately recognizable as both an Aston Martin and a Zagato.

Developed jointly by Aston Martin’s design director Marek Reichman and Zagato’s Andrea Zagato, the concept sports all-new bodywork, including a longer side strake and cascading rear tumblehome (similar to those seen recently on the new DB11), floating stalk wing mirrors like those shown on the outrageous One-77 supercar, and the same type of bladed LED tail lamps as found on the explosive Vulcan supercar. It also features the carrozzeria’s signature round taillights, crazy, quilted Z-embossed seats and headrests, and a double bubble roof—this last detail originally implemented to accommodate racing helmets without sacrificing design integrity, and now merely a handsome synecdoche for speed and bespokery. Underhood, the brand’s wailing, 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V-12 gets goosed to make nearly 600 hp, while underneath, the twiddly bits in the suspension also receive some undefined "dynamic enhancements."

Inside the cockpit, the hand-laid redolence and indulgence of the “base” Vanquish has been, well, vanquished, replaced with custom anodized bronze trim around the vents and dashboard gauges, aniline leather on the dash-top, and carbon fiber on the center stack—the latter in a herringbone pattern so carefully tailored as to make Saville Row take notice. Since this concept is based on the current-generation Vanquish, it lacks the all-new “electronic architecture” (underpinned by Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND) found in the DB11 and has to make due with the delightfully anachronistic system Aston has been using approximately since it phased out the cathode ray tube displays in the 1977 Lagonda.

The Aston-Martin Vanquish was already one of the most sensorially delightful vehicles on earth, a feast for the eyes, ears, nose, hands, and tongue. (What, you don't lick the good cars?) Even tarted up in tattoos, the car’s visceral beauty stands out. Leave it to Zagato to make it even more gorgeous.

Aston Martin claims that this delicious vehicle is just a concept and not for sale, but every time the brand unveils a new concept like this, the AM faithful whip out their Centurion Cards and, magically, a few masterpieces trickle out of the company’s special projects skunkworks near Stratford-Upon-Avon. We hope, for the sake of the earth’s limited supply of beauty, that the same thing happens here.