V8 Vantage Zagato
V8 Vantage Zagato

V8 Vantage Zagato

(1986 - 1988)

The Italian coachbuilder created one of the greatest and truly most beautiful cars of all time with the DB4GT Zagato back in 1960. They say that lightning doesn't strike the same place twice. But the lightning bolt that is Zagato, struck Newport Pagnell for a second time in 1986 with the brutal Vantage Zagato. Announced a year previously at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show, the eventual unveiling a year later and every one of the 50 production cars had been pre-sold to customers placing a £15,000 deposit for the £87,000 machine.

V8 Vantage Zagato

The standard V8 Vantage was at the time one of, if not the fastest cars in the world; by reducing the wheelbase, loosing the rear seats, tweaking the engine and fitting a new slippery body with flush fitting glass, the Zagato became the ultimate Aston.

Unfortunately, many were not overly impressed by the final styling of the new Zagato. One of the most controversial aspects of the design was the ‘power bulge’ which was so necessary to house the airbox for the massive Weber 48 IDA carbs bored out to 50mm. Although a flat bonnet was originally intended with a fuel injection system underneath, this would probably not have produced sufficient power to achieve the promised 300 kph top speed.

The V8 Vantage Zagato was displayed at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show where three examples were shown; one on the AML stand, one on the Zagato stand, and on top of a lakeside hotel.

The interior of the Zagato was simple and modern when compared to the standard Vantage. Some of the later cars received walnut veneers to the dashboard and other cars had a 3 spoke Nardi steering wheel in place of the two spoke leather item shown here.

The dark blue metallic Zagato to the right is the same car, but 13 years later. The car now has a 7 litre R.S.Williams engine and has been converted to left hand drive.

The Vantage Zagato was never designed with racing in mind (unlike its contemporary, the Ferrari 288GTO). Only in more recent times during AMOC events have Zagatos actively competed. An here is one such car which has been extensively modified for the race track including a 7.0 litre R.S Williams fuel injected engine. The first photograph shows the car in road going form. The second picture, taken in the paddock during a 1999 AMOC meeting, shows the Zagato still in it’s original metallic blue finish with minor racing modifications. The third photograph, taken during the 2000 season shows many changes including stripped out interior, enhanced brakes with V600 style wheels, a modified air intake in the power bulge and a change of colour to Aston Racing Green. For the 2001 season, the bonnet air intake was ditched.

Performance from the 432 bhp engine fitted to the prototype car was phenomenal and even now is just about the fastest production Aston of all time. The true maximum speed of 185.8mph was achieved by the French magazine Sport Auto on an empty piece of motorway whilst the French Police were at lunch, just short of the planned 300kph. The 0 to 60mph time came up in just 4.8 seconds. Power output of the remaining production cars was pegged at around 408 bhp with the addition of power sapping emission equipment. But the factory service department could uprate them for the owners.

  • Body/Coachwork:
    • 2 door 2+0 coupe
    • Steel platform chassis with handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels by Zagato in Italy
  • Interior:
    • Full leather interior, designed by Zagato
    • Air-conditioning system
    • Bucket seats with tilting squabs to allow access to the rear luggage space
    • Optional Walnut centre console
  • Engine:
    • Front mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two-valves-per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank.
    • Engine number prefix V580/, suffix /X or /XA (Automatic)
    • Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 10.2 : 1
    • Four Weber 48 IDF3/150 downdraught carburettors.
    • Fuel supplied by electric twin SU single unit
    • Maximum power: 410 bhp @ 6,000 rpm, (432 bhp @ 6,250 rpm with 50mm chokes, big bore airbox and exhausts)
    • Maximum torque: 395 lb.ft @ 5,100 rpm
    • Ignition System: Lucas 35 DLM8 electronic
    • Air Injection System: Twin AC Delco air pumps
  • Transmission:
    • Manual: 5 speed ZF. Hydraulically operated 10½”, Borg and Beck single dry-plate diaphragm clutch
    • Automatic: Chrysler Torqueflite 3 speed automatic
    • Final drive: Salisbury hypoid bevel with Powr-Lok limited slip differential. Final drive ratio: 3.54:1 (manual), 3.058:1 (automatic and optional on manual)
  • Steering:
    • Power assisted Adwest rack and pinion. Turning circle between curbs of about 10.5 metres
  • Wheels and tyres:
    • Bolt-on, 5 stud, Speedline 16 x 8 ” light alloy wheels
    • Goodyear 255/55 VR16 radial low profile tyres
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Independent, featuring unequal transverse wishbones, coil springs and co-axial telescopic shock absorbers with an anti-roll bar
    • Rear: De-Dion tube, Watts linkage and trailing links incorporating uprated Koni co-axial spring shock absorber units
  • Brakes:
    • Front: Ventilated steel discs, 267 mm (10.51″) diameter
    • Rear: Ventilated steel discs, 264 mm (10.39″) diameter mounted inboard
    • Tandem master cylinders and dual vacuum servo assistance
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 4,390 mm
    • Width: 1,860 mm
    • Height: 1,295 mm
    • Kerb Weight: 1,650 kg
    • Wheelbase: 2,610 mm
    • Front track: 1,499 mm
    • Rear track: 1,499 mm
    • Fuel tank capacity: 95.4 litres, reserve of 13.6 litres
    • Cd: 0.32
  • Performance:
    • Acceleration: Manual 0-60 mph 4.8 seconds.
    • Maximum speed: 185 mph (manual)
  • Price at launch:
    • Initially slated for sale at £87,000
    • March 1987: £95,000
    • October 1987: £95,000
    • March 1988: £125,000