Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II - the truest of copies
The annual Bonhams Auction at the Aston Martin Works is always an exciting event for fans of the marque, but this year was particularly so with the appearance at auction of a quite rare Aston Martin.
The car I'm referring to is the DB4GT Zagato. Or, to be more specific, the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II.
The original DB4GT Zagato was released in 1961, and only 19 were made. It saw the mechanical smarts of Aston Martin matched with the design brilliance of the Milan-based Zagato coachbuilding company. Zagato had previously had a hand in the look of the Bristol 407, and the Maserati A6. The DB4GT Zagato went on to have some car racing success, debuting at the 1961 Goodwood Easter meeting, with the great Stirling Moss behind the wheel, and it won the Team Prize in the 1961 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.
Cut to 1987, and the decision was made to upgrade four DB4 rolling chassis to DB4GT specification. Zagato added the metal skin, before it was returned to England and Aston Martin specialist Richard Williams to fit the interior. As the ultimate reference guide, the Aston and Zagato teams had one of the original 19 DB4GT Zagatos, belonging to Williams himself, to work from. The end results, the four 'new' cars, were designated 'DB4GT/0192', 'DB4GT/0196', 'DB4GT/0197' and 'DB4GT/0198'. And the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II coupes were born.
The four cars were finished and presented in July 1991. Victor Gauntlett, the then Chairman of Aston Martin, had this to say about the cars:
"The quality and authenticity are outstanding and each of these four cars will bear the most detailed comparison with the first 19 built. It is also important that Zagato have wholeheartedly approved the project. It was inevitable that all of us involved would, and indeed should, agonise over the decision to launch this project since the very word 'replica' has been degraded in recent years."
"Finally, it was a question in our minds both of the unqualified support of our friends at Zagato and of the uncompromising level of quality that would go into the chassis and bodywork. Satisfied on these points, there was nothing to stop these four stunning motor cars being produced."
The car auctioned this month was the last of the four, the DB4GT/0198. Its first owner was Tony Smith, the manager of singer / drummer / actor Phil Collins. It was sold in 1995 to a German owner, before being auctioned by Bonhams on May 19 this year. It fetched £1.2 million at auction, including premium.