If you’re going to turn up at world’s most glamorous gathering of cars, make sure you turn up wearing something new, preferably something couture. Here’s what the Aston Martin Vanquish will be wearing at the Villa D’Este this weekend, courtesy of Milan’s House of Zagato.
Zagato has of course been dressing Aston Martins since the 1960s. That first collaboration, the DB4 GT Zagato, is a regular fixture on many an “all-time most beautiful cars” list. It’s also one of the world’s most sought-after cars, fetching £9.5m at auction. Aston isn’t saying how much its latest collaboration will cost. Officially it’s just a concept. It gets set to make an appearance at Concours d’Elegance event at the Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como this weekend where only classics and modern classics along with concept cars get to make their pitch for best in show.
The reality of these things is that a select band of customers – collectors and big spenders – will have already seen the Zagato and I would be surprised if they haven’t already put sizeable deposits down; it is very, very striking motor car.
It’s been designed, like the last car to wear Aston’s wing and Zagato’s lovely little “Z” logo, not in Milan but in Warwickshire. We’ve highlighted before the prolific output of Aston Martin’s studio in Gaydon in Warwickshire, under the direction of chief creative officer and now executive vice president Marek Reichman.
In the last year Aston has launched the Vulcan track-supercar, the new DB11, two racing-inspired derivatives of the Vantage, a concept for the DBX crossover model it will build in a new factory in Wales, and announced it is working with Red Bull Racing to build a road-supercar that will be faster than anything yet made for the highway. Talk about acceleration.
You could then forgive Reichman and his team if they were to drop the ball occasionally, but they most certainly have not with the Vanquish Zagato. It really is something else, combining the classical proportions of the second-generation Vanquish with just enough of Zagato’s signature kookiness. The last Reichman/Zagato, Gaydon/Milan collaboration – another Vantage derivative – was certainly kooky. I liked it a lot, but it took a while to find its audience. I would doubt if this car will struggle.
The longer Vanquish takes some of the same themes from the Vantage but gives them a little more room to breathe and find their level. It’s a classier, less-racey looking car but still with all the punchiness of that 2011 Vantage Zagato.
The result is simply stunning. From the rear three quarters especially, the cars’ dominant feature – the classic Zagato double-bubble roof and the massively dynamic rear pillars that appear to offer cantilevered support for it – makes you forget there is a familiar car under there. Not that you could be expected to know; every panel (and they are all carbon fibre) is new. There are of course some lovely details, something else Aston is demonstrating a supernatural ability to deliver. Take a look at the rear lights. Notice the little ‘Z’s in there next to the main units? Notice too how the rear of the car echoes the rear of the new DB11 and that car’s extreme take on the classical idea of the “strong rear axle”, the concept of “power haunches”.
Will the car wow on the banks of Lake Como?
Aston likes to talk about how its future will see a greater distance between the look and feel of its out-and-out sports cars and its GTs. The new DB11 is a clue as to the look of the GTs. If you can get over the track-equipment, the Vulcan evokes the look of the supercars. But make no mistake, cars like the Zagato are neither. They are instead exercises in design and desire. Not all of you are expected to like it. Those of you that do however are expected to fall head over heels. I know which group I belong to.