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Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato - The Gentlemen's Racecar

June 08, 2016

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato - The Gentlemen's Racecar

Quintessentially British, but oozing with Italian style. So deeply cherished, just one has changed hands during the last decade. The car in question fetched £9.45M at a recent auction, a record breaking sale for British Cars.

While it's not the rarest of all Aston Martin's, the DB4 GT Zagato is the most coveted. The elusive British heirloom has become one of most expensive and difficult to acquire classics of all time.

Just last year, at RM Sotheby’s "Driven By Disruption" event New York, this DB4 GT Zagato broke the sales record for British Classics. In the process, it managed to topple the legendary McLaren F1 which sold for £8.8M!

The Zagato Legend - Italian Style With British Elegance

Originally, Aston Martin developed the DB4 GT to take down Ferrari out on the World Sports Car Championship circuits. However, Italian engineering still had the edge track.

But Aston Martin didn't give up there. Instead, they entrusted their DB4 GT to the Italian coachmaker Carrozzeria Zagato. Arguably, this would result in one of Zagato's finest creations.

The DB4's body was delicately smoothed out using Ercole Spada’s intricate design. Muscular edges were softened while the charactoristic hips remained well defined. Unmistakable Italian influence flows through the style, especially the rear slightly tapered rear end.

From the seats to the door cards, the interior was carefully wrapped in plush green leather. The driver controls and dials providing a classic period look, complete with a thin wooden rimmed wheeling wheel.

An additional 12 horse were squeezed from DB4 GT's 3.7-litre straight six engine, now producing 314 HP and 240lb ft torque. Impressively, they managed to save off 50kg, bringing the down total weight to 1225kg. With a great power-to-weight ratio, 0-60mph was achieved in 6 seconds flat and a top speed of 153mph.

By all accounts, the DB4 GT Zagato was a marvel of automotive design. Beautifully styled, destined to let loose on both road and track.

30 Years Spent Down Under

The DB4 GT Zagato in question was the 14th of only 19 crafted by the legendary Zagato. It was originally delivered to its first owner, Laurie O’Neill, in Australia during 1962. He was a passionate collector of prestigious race cars including Ferraris, Porsches and Grand Prix cars. Naturally, the Zagato was immediately put on the track, where it won an assortment of class trophies and race events.

Later passed on to Colin Hyams, it was proudly displayed at the Melbourne Motor Show of 1965. After three years, it was passed to Alex Copland who placed it in storage for the next 20 years. Zagato no. 14 was all but forgotten down under.

Returning to the UK for Full Restoration

The Zagato was finally returned to British soil in 1993. Aston Martin specialist, Richard Williams, was entrusted to bring it back to its former glory. A careful restoration took over 2 years, but everything was returned to original "as new". During this time, almost every mechanical component was rebuilt and replacement panels were fabricated by Zagato's craftsmen back in Malian.

The results were nothing short of spectacular, but the Zagato never shook its true racing spirit. The historic race events, Goodwood Revivals 1998 and 1999, provided another chance to hit the tracks once more.

Later paraded at Concours events, it brought home multiple trophies and honors. Due to its incredible condition, it won best in class at Villa d’Este and 1st in Class at Pebble Beach 2007.

True British Sports Car Heritage

Steeped in British history, this very DB4 GT Zagato continues to thrive at 54 years old. As elusive as the Zagato is, it's unlikely we will see another exchange hands anytime soon.

So Gents, you've probably got enough time to build a £10M+ fortune so you can afford one!

All Photos by Patrick Ernzen © 2015 Courtesy RM Sotheby’s

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