Friday 13 March 2009

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato: “Machismo” defined

After they introduced their stunning new Touring-bodied DB4 GT in 1959, Aston Martin decided to take on Ferraris SWB 250GTs with their own weapon.

Pen & ink and Prismacolor pencils on Canson green archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2009

They commissioned the Milanese firm of Zagato to make their new car competitive. Young designer Ercole Spada penned a fabulous lightweight “Superleggera” body, “super-light” in Italian, which refers to a Touring-developed construction method of a frame of small-diameter metal tubes built on the main chassis, and covered with aluminum body panels.

The car is a stunning purposeful-looking racer; Doug Nye described it as "a man's car" in his 1982 Salon feature review in Road & Track magazine. It is beautiful from every angle ... rolling sculpture.

Though the Zagato was slightly lighter the original DB4 GT, they were not competitive enough to beat the all-conquering Scuderia Ferrari, which introduced the GTO. They were raced by such famous drivers as Roy Salvadori and Jim Clark.

19 of the Zagatos were built originally, and in 1991, Aston Martin authorized the building of 4 more DB4 GT Zagatos, utilizing unutilized chassis numbers; these were labeled as Sanction II cars. The original cars rarely come up for sale, but if they did, the expected sale price would be at least $3 million USD.

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