Uber Rare Zagato Aston Calls New Zealand Home

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By Ben Selby

We love classic cars. We love it when automotive heritage is preserved, treasured, and shared. While we are always interested to see new models from the world’s manufacturers, we love it even more when a rare car of recent years becomes an instant classic, or a classic of the future.

This can easily be said of a recent collaboration between two of the most illustrious names in motoring. What you see here is the incredibly rare Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake, and it calls New Zealand home. We attended the unveiling of this stunning automotive art piece at Avid Group Ltd at 59 Harman Street in Christchurch.

The Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is not the first time Italian design house Zagato and Aston Martin have come together. The relationship between these two names can be traced back to 1960. Zagato penned the lines of a limited run DB4 GT. Called the DB4 GT Zagato, just 19 examples were built and raced by drivers like Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.

Zagato and Aston Martin came together again in 1986 and produced the V8 Vantage Zagato, a heavily redesigned Vantage of which just 89 were built. There have also been Zagato variants of the DB7, a roadster variant called the DBAR1, and the V12 Vantage.

Between 2016 and 2019, the relationship between Aston Martin and the Milanese coachbuilder was renewed with the Vanquish Zagato. There would be two variants available for some of Aston Martin’s most loyal customers, a Coupe, and a Shooting Brake. A Shooting Brake is the English term for an Estate car or Wagon. It is also a concept not alien to Aston Martin.

The first Aston Martin Shooting Brake design was commissioned in 1964 by then Aston Martin Chairman David Brown. He chose to have a bespoke DB5 Shooting Brake as a weekend holiday car, as he needed the extra space for his luggage and hunting rifles.

There has been a small handful of Shooting Brake Astons since, such as the one-off Zagato designed Virage Shooting Brake built to celebrate Aston Martin’s Centenary in 2014.

This brings us neatly on to this particular car. The is Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is number 94 of 99 in the world, and one of 25 made in right hand drive.

This particular Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake has resided in a private UK collection before being acquired by its new Christchurch based owner. This example is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Also, the only one in Australasia, Oh, and pictures really don’t do it justice.

While there are elements of the regular Vanquish in its design, its clear the Shooting Brake has all the flair and design cues Zagato is famous for. Chief of these is the gold Z mounted on either front quarter.

The Z-ness continues in that wide almost wrap around grill, which if you look closely, you can make out numerous amounts of the alphabet’s 26th letter.

You can forgive Zagato for going all out on brand placement when a car looks this good. The Shooting Brake’s winged Aston Martin emblem is also bright red. A Zagato trademark and stark contrast from the usual British Racing Green or Black.

Another Zagato trademark is the classic “double bubble” roof which can be seen near the rear of the carbon fibre roofline. This piece of design can be traced by to Zagato’s early days as a bespoke Italian styling house who predominately designed cars for motorsport.

The reason for the double bubble roof is so there was room for driver and co-driver to wear a crash helmet. The taillights are also a nod to racing, as each spindle mimic those used on Aston Martin’s track-only Vulcan.

While the Shooting Brake was never designed to turn a wheel in anger in competition, it certainly has grunt. Under the bonnet sits the largely unchanged version of the naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 found in the regular Vanquish.

Mated to an eight-speed ZF paddle shift Touchtronic III transmission, the Shooting Brake is good for 441kW and 630Nm of torque. Zero to 100km/h is dealt with in 3.5 seconds. Top speed? Try 320km/h. It still sounds bloodcurdlingly good as the owner gave us a demonstration. Each rev was a torrent of 12-cylinder symphonic bliss.

The Shooting Brake’s body is made from carbon fibre. There are also plenty of carbon cues from nose to tail, like the bonnet vents, front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser. While it shares much of its underpinnings with the normal Vanquish, the rear has been lengthened and designed to accommodate the extra carrying capacity.

Inside, it is very much Vanquish. However, touches of Zagato are apparent, such as the gold toggle switches and those delightful Zagato embossed leather seats.

The Aston Martin Zagato Shooting Brake is already a classic. Also, the fact there is now one residing in Christchurch, New Zealand, makes it even more special. More often than not we hear stories of amazing cars going overseas.

This is a sad fact. Due to the current climate, once they are gone, its very unlikely they will ever return. This is not the case with this amazing drool-worthy combination of Italian design flair, and British Bulldog muscle.

The owner also says his Zagato Shooting Brake will not be a garage queen. It will be driven, and driven a lot. Now that, is what we really like to hear.

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