1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Vantage VolanteSOLD
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Estimate: £55,000-65,000

Sold: £58,800

Aston Martin had always planned that the DBS of 1967 would be powered by its new V8 engine, first seen in 5.0 litre form in the Lola-Aston Martin sports racing cars. Production problems, however, intervened and the DBS used the 4.0 litre, twin overhead camshaft straight six of the concurrently produced DB6. It was not until September 1967 that the DBS V8 was finally announced, production commencing the following April.

With its platform chassis and independent suspension - coil spring/wishbone front, de Dion tube rear with Watt linkage and twin radius arms - the fine handling DBS was a perfect home for Tadek Marek's all-alloy V8. Boasting four overhead camshafts and Bosch electronic fuel injection, the 5,340cc V8 produced an impressive 320bhp at 5,000rpm and 360lb.ft; the resultant 160mph performance, via a five speed ZF gearbox, and 0-60 and 0-100mph in 5.9 and 13.8 seconds respectively, was nothing short of staggering in 1970.

After David Brown sold Aston Martin in February 1972 the DBS V8 was replaced by the Series 2 model, now simply called the Aston Martin V8. Gone were the four headlamps and slatted grille, in their place a black mesh grille flanked by single headlamps; mechanical changes were limited to electronic ignition and standard air conditioning. August 1973 saw the Series 3 arrive with quadruple Weber carburettors, larger bonnet bulge, improved seats and central locking; power rose to 304bhp in June 1977.

Later that year the mighty V8 Vantage was launched, boasting special camshafts, larger valves and Weber IDA carburettors; with 380bhp at 6,000rpm it provided 0-60 and 0-100mph in just 5.3 and 12.7 seconds respectively and a 170mph maximum. The latter necessitated some aerodynamic aids: a deep front air dam, bolt-on boot spoiler, blanked off radiator grille, perspex headlamp covers and bonnet air scoop. Suspension was also stiffened and tyres widened. In October 1978 the V8 Series 4 appeared, distinguishable by an integral rear spoiler similar to that of the Vantage Series 2 introduced simultaneously while later models had BBS wheels as standard; otherwise the latter differed to the Series I in having a higher compression ratio. By 1986, however, a further rise in compression ratio, together with higher lift camshafts and larger ports, lifted power to 400bhp for the V8 Vantage Series 3.

For those for whom this was not enough, the same year saw the launch of the highly desirable and exclusive V8 Vantage Zagato. Using a shortened V8 Vantage chassis, uprated suspension and lightweight, two seater coupe coachwork by Zagato - renewing an association that had last realised the DB4GT Zagato of the early 1960s, and this time featuring the styling house's 'double blister' trademark on the roof rather than bonnet - the limited edition of 50 Zagatos had a 432bhp engine which allowed an astonishing 187mph maximum and 0-60mph in just 4.8 seconds. Such was the demand for the car, however, that Aston Martin decided to build 25 convertible Volante examples; although these differed in using the 305bhp, fuel-injected engine of the concurrent AM V8 Series 5, the output was still sufficient for 164mph and 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds. There were also changes in frontal appearance, the V8 Vantage Zagato Volante lacking the coupe's bonnet bulge, together with a restyled grille and distinctive headlamp 'eyelids'. Although when new it cost £125,000, all 25 had been sold before the first was produced in 1987 and ultimately 37 examples would be built against 52 coupes.

In a private collection for many years until acquired by the current owner in 2005, this quite superb V8 Vantage Volante Zagato was substantially re-commissioned in July the same year by leading marque specialist Trinity Engineering - the work, comprising a major and comprehensive service of all mechanical components, and at a cost of £15,260, including new front and rear differential mountings, new suspension and anti-roll bar bushes, overhauled power steering system and brakes, new alternator, specially fabricated heat shields to protect new ignition coil modules, new engine coolant and vacuum rail hoses, specialist powder-coating of engine components and two new pairs of matched Michelin Pilot tyres - a detailed invoice for which accompanies the car. Finished in red with magnolia hide interior, and complete with a MoT test certificate valid until May 2008, this well maintained and extremely rare V8 Vantage Zagato Volante is thus offered in excellent condition. And with a mere and genuine 6,800 miles on the odometer, it is a must for the serious Aston Martin connoisseur.

Reference Number 13819

as of 10/5/2007

Car 1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Vantage Volante