Presented by RM Sotheby’s – The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato coupé was first exhibited at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show. The first three completed cars were on the Aston Martin stand and demand for orders was high. Around 50 production cars were available to order, and just 28 of these were constructed with right-hand-drive steering and a manual gearbox. Despite the retail price rising from £70,000 to £87,000 when still new, the 50 buyers were not deterred and paid their £15,000 deposits by August 1985.
The body design was undertaken by famed Milan-based coachbuilder Zagato and drew inspiration from the 1960s Aston Martin Zagato DB4, while adding a modern tone representative of the 1980s. The production process played a factor in the relatively high price of the V8 Vantage Zagato, with the complete rolling chassis sent from Newport Pagnell to Zagato in Milan, where the bodies were constructed, fitted, and painted. While at Zagato, the interiors were fitted, before the completed cars were sent back to England for a final inspection, after which they were dispatched for delivery.
The V8 Vantage Zagato is powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 engine, with twin-choke Weber carburettors. The car produced 408 bhp and could be specified with a five-speed manual ZF transmission or a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
This V8 Vantage Zagato coupé—chassis number 20049—was, according to a letter dated 31 March 1998, collected by Stratton Motor Company from the Newport Pagnell factory on 12 November 1987. It was finished in Gladiator Red, with cream leather seats that featured red piping. The carpets were brown with matching leather piping. The car was never collected by its first owner and remained at Stratton Motor Company’s dry storage facility during the first few years of its life, where it changed hands several times.
The V8 Vantage Zagato coupé was first registered on 5 January 1990, but was sold back to Stratton Motor Company. Their Managing Director, Mr. Roger Bennington, wrote in a letter: “The only person to have driven this Zagato since leaving the factory is myself, on the occasional removal from storage to run the engine.”
The subsequent two owners continued the vehicle’s history of dry storage, with the latter having maintained it in a private workshop under the care of a qualified Aston Martin engineer. A three-page ‘vehicle work log’ shows this Zagato was serviced yearly, with the engine run up to temperature. The incumbent owner acquired this V8 Vantage Zagato coupé in 2014 and continued its long-term dry storage. The car passed its MOT on 31 October 2018, with no advisories or faults.
This Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato coupé presents a rare opportunity to acquire one of just 27 right-hand-drive examples specified with a manual transmission. The condition of the vehicle today reflects the pampered life it has lived, having been meticulously maintained. The odometers shows a mere 396 miles at the time of cataloging. Offered with this V8 Vantage Zagato are; previous MOT certificates, invoices, service history, a Blaupunkt radio manual and the original Aston Martin owners handbook.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s 15th annual London auction on 6 November, taking place at Waterloo Place and online at rmsothebys.com. Contact a Car Specialist for more information or to register to bid.