Where did the idea come from for the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato?
Within our Second Century plan, we will be developing two very special, limited-edition cars each year, working with David King’s special projects team. Andrea Zagato in Milan also wanted to do something with Aston Martin so it was the natural choice. We also wanted to build a very special car, based on the Vanquish, where we don’t just create a unique body theme, but also increase power and a chassis tune.
Do you have a favourite Aston Martin Zagato from the past?
I was involved in the design of the V12 Vantage Zagato in 2012, so I won’t nominate that one, although it was a beautiful car. However, a key reason I wanted to become a car designer was the DB4 GT Zagato, which was a car that I always loved. If you’re a fan of sports cars, it was the kind of car you wanted to design — powerful and muscular, a bit of a brute, but also delicate in its own way and very refined. And you have to remember that only 19 were built, making it one of the most exclusive sports cars of them all.
Did this inspire the design of the 2016 version of the Zagato?
My key guiding principle at Aston Martin is that car design should always be modern, but I think with this Vanquish Zagato you can’t ignore its heritage, which is also very important to the marque. The car has our modern proportions, of course, but I think that the backbone of the DB4 GT Zagato is certainly there in its masculinity and refinement. It was also important for Andrea Zagato that this new model had the essence and the spirit of our previous collaborations. This latest iteration is a little bit raw and wild, which appeals to me. This is partly because, working with Zagato, we moved very quickly to produce a sketch of the new car, as that is how our predecessors would also have worked together.
What are the car’s main design characteristics?
There are three signature Aston Martin Zagato design elements, all of which the new Vanquish Zagato contains. First is the “double bubble” roof; this comes from when race drivers’ helmets needed a bit of extra space for comfort. Then we have the distinctive full-height grille. As with previous versions, this covers the whole of the front of the car. And finally there is the definite interruption of the line, which all Zagatos have between the rear haunches and fender. This contrasts with our other models, such as the new DB11, where the line is seamless.
What about its performance?
The Vanquish Zagato has a naturally aspirated V12, 592hp engine. It is the most powerful Vanquish to date.
And where in the world would you most like to put the Vanquish Zagato through its paces?
Late at night, I’d take it up the Pacific Highway in California. It’s a coupe, so you don’t need the top down, but the sound of the engine reverberating from the cliff-edge would complement the view of the ocean beautifully to make for a fabulous drive.