In 1960, Italian manufacturer Zagato teamed up with British luxury sports car manufacturers Aston Martin to create the 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato as a one off for the Aston Martin distributor in Milan. The idea was to create a road car that could go racing. When Aston Martin saw the result, it quickly turned the vehicle into a limited-production model. Then in 1986, Zagato redesigned the Vantage (the Aston Martin Vantage Zagato) and the Volante in 1987 (the Aston Martin Volante Zagato).
Now, in 2003, history repeats itself once more as Zagato turn their collective hands to the DB7, the most popular Aston Martin in its range. Recently showcased at the Pebble Beach Concours, the DB7 Zagato continues the Zagato tradition of great design combined with great performance.
On the outside, the Zagato bears all the marks of Zagato's design - a bespoke, hand-beaten aluminium body, a shortened tail, the famous double-bubble roof, a massive signature Zagato grill and 18-inch Zagato-styled wheels with a revised offset to create a wider track. The new body, which is a shortened version based on the DB7 Vantage Volante wheelbase, saves the car around 60kg (133lbs) in weight.
On the inside, the Zagato uses the same DOHC 48-valve 5.9-litre V12 used in the standard DB7, but the higher power output (through an enlarged twin-exhaust system and other undisclosed engine tweaks) and lighter body mean that the Zagato model is quicker and faster. The Zagato also retains the standard 6-speed, close-ratio manual transmission, but uses a different differential and a short-shift gear lever. Upgraded ABS brakes sit behind all four wheels and both the front and rear suspensions have been specially developed for better handling. When you step inside this beast, the first thing you'll notice besides the redesigned interior is that there aren't any back seats and there's not much room to put your stuff. However, the DB7 Zagato is still a very exclusive and distinctive model in the Aston Martin collection.
However, such exclusivity and distinctiveness does not come cheap. Only 99 units will be produced starting at a cost of US$250,000 each. The vehicle will be shown privately to customers around the world and then built to special order, with shipping beginning in 2003.
2003 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato
Cost: 257,034 (US$250,000)
Engine: 5.9L front-mounted DOHC 48-valve 60-degree V12
Power: 328.1kW (440bhp) @ 6000rpm
Torque: Not available
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Body: 2-door coupe
Size (LWH): 4481/1224/1861mm (176.4/48.2/73.3in)
Curb Weight: 1740kg
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 4.9s
1/4 Mile: Not available
Top Speed: 300kph (186.4mph)
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Popular Mechanics article - http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars_trucks/2002/8/db7_zagato/