The forgotten Zagato Aston Martin
Aston Martin have had many famous collaborations with this Italian design firm, but some examples of their coach building has been forgotten.
Since 1964, Aston Martin and Zagato have collaborated on designing special versions of Aston Martin models. Many people may recognise the initial model, being the DB4 GTZ, for its stunning beauty and racing credentials. The most recent Zagato Aston Martin models include the Vanquish Zagato collection, the new DBS Zagato and the Vantage V12 Zagato but many people seem to forget that Zagato remade a DB9 too.
It was called the DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial and was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin in 2013. It was built alongside a coupe based on the DBS where it debuted at Kensington Gardens before being seen at Pebble Beach on the concept lawn. The DB9 Spyder began life as a standard DB9 Volante and was commissioned by a US client who requested the Zagato treatment. After the car was bought in the US, it was shipped to Italy where Zagato carried out the transformation with the design being similar to the DBS Coupe just replacing the double bubble roof with a folding soft top.
The long square shape, reminiscent of the Virage Volante and DBS Coupe from the 1970s and 80s.
Both cars have styling cues taken from 1970s and 1980s Aston Martin models such as the original DBS, the V8 Vantage and the Virage and due to this, the design is very angular. The grill itself is very wide and long which gives it a unique look to differentiate from other Zagato Aston Martins. Zagato say that the grill shows off its aggressive character whilst retaining an element of elegance. The rear lights are styled to look like the front lights and the entire rear end is carried from the front which gives it a fairly squared off look. The colour scheme for this car is fairly traditional being Aston Martin Racing Green with an interior shade of Sahara Tan leather.
The square grill certainly makes this car a uniquely designed model.
The interior is more or less unchanged which is strange as Zagato usually create beautiful interiors equivalent to the style of Pagani and Spyker interiors. However on this example, the only interior changes are the stainless steel trims on the centre console and the solid green stripe down the centre of the front and rear seats. An interesting element about this Zagato model is that its debut at Kensington Gardens was the first time anyone besides the Zagato engineers had seen the car. The design was kept secret from any Aston Martin designers which shows the trust that the two manufacturers have with each other. The only person at Aston Martin who had a slight hint at the design was Ulrich Bez, the CEO of Aston at the time, but he only knew what car it would be based on.
The design, though controversial is typical Aston Martin - Aggression and Beauty coming together.
In 2015, RM Sotheby's had their Monterrey auction and lot 229 just so happened to be the 2013 Aston Martin Centennial DB9 Spyder by Zagato. The car had been owned by its US client for two years, and in that time it only showed 2300 miles on the odometer. It's clear that this car was commissioned as a collectors item more so than an actual car but its a shame for these cars to be so specifically built and not used. RM Sotheby's suggested when this car went for sale, it would be one of only a few times any Zagato one off would be offered for sale and since then, none of the Centennial cars have appeared. In the Monterrey sale, the DB9 sold for £693,000 which was one of the cheaper cars from that sale but still one of the most unique.
When will the car be seen again? Will it ever be seen again?
Since the sale, the DB9 Spyder has been very hidden away and rarely seen. There was however an exception as in 2019, at the Hampton Court Palace Concours D'Elegance event, there was a line-up of Zagato Aston Martins to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Zagato and it featured both the DBS Coupe and the DB9 Spyder in one of the most eclectic line-ups possibly ever seen at a car show. But once again, the car is now hidden away from the public eye, waiting for the next time it can show its uniquely styled face at a car event. It may be a forgotten car, it may be a one of one car, but it remains one of the most special Aston Martin Zagato collaborations of all time.