1989 Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante
- Displaying fewer than 2,900km, roughly 1,800 miles
- Recent service by Aston Martin Works totalling £5,800
- One of only 9 Manual LHD V8 Zagato Volantes
- UK road-registered
- Bona-fide Zagato-bodied Aston Martin, Accompanied by copies of its original build records, owner’s manual and tool kit
The Aston Martin V8 Zagato
Ahead of its time. That’s what the opinion-polarising Aston Martin V8 Zagato was when it was revealed in production form at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show. These days, manufacturers churn out lightweight limited edition supercars like they’re going out of fashion. But when Aston Martin rekindled its relationship with Zagato to create 50 ultra-fast two-seater versions of the already potent V8 Vantage ‘X-pack’, it was one of the few marques to capitalise on the concept, both from a financial and a publicity point of view.
Arriving 23 years after the seminal DB4GT Zagato and accompanied by a suitably grand price tag of £87,000, the V8 Zagato more than lived up to its esteemed predecessor. The Vantage’s chassis was clothed in a smaller, more aggressive and aerodynamic avant-garde aluminium body typical of the hallowed Milanese design house. The function-before-form styling polarised opinion, but isn’t that what a Zagato design ought to do? And unlike the Aston Martin Zagatos of late, the V8 was actually designed and constructed in Milan.
More importantly, the two-seater coupe was a hefty 168kg lighter than the V8 Vantage and shorter, too, which resulted in a scintillating driving experience that’s widely considered to be the fastest and most rewarding of that era’s Aston Martin bunch.
“On the road, the Zagato eats up the long straights,” reported Motor Magazine of the Anglo-Italian Aston. “Once moving its progress is magnificently effortless. Like most very fast cars, it is as if it is not constrained by the physical laws of gravity and air resistance. Unlike most very fast cars, however, it fools its driver into thinking that its blistering, growling pace is normal, comfortable, undramatic.” The V8 Zagato instantly found favour with loyal disciples of the marque – high-profile collectors who laid down deposits included George Harrison and Rowan Atkinson.
The V8 Zagato coupe proved to be so lucrative for Aston Martin that the company transformed the chairman Victor Gauntlett’s personal car into a convertible and took it to the Geneva Motor Show to gauge public reaction. The drop-top was in fact visually closer to Zagato’s original design sketches, which proved sufficient to secure deposits and green-light production. Though a production run of 25 examples had been mooted, Aston’s top brass took 37 deposits on the show stand, deciding their final volume for them!
The specification of the Volante was similar to its closed counterpart, though it retained the more tractable standard engine and was available with an automatic transmission. The latter was a popular option, and very few were specified as manuals. The original price in 1987 was £100,000, though that figure rose drastically at the will of Gauntlett, who quickly realised that his customers were willing to pay over the odds for his ultra-rare new model.
This Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante
The Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante we’re offering is chassis 30029, which was built to left-hand-drive European specification with a manual gearbox, for the German market, as noted on the certificate of origin. Originally finished in Vulcan Black over a Black interior with Light Grey Alcantara headlining, the car was completed on 22 September 1989 and looked positively sinister.
While it was intended for Germany, this car’s stunning specification piqued the interest of collectors across the world and 30029 was delivered to the Aston dealer Miller Motorcars Inc. in Connecticut. Within mere days of arriving Stateside, the car was sold to one Mr Lucio A. Noto in Greenwich and registered with the G56 TBH plates. At that time, Noto was the CEO of Mobil and reportedly played a significant role in the company’s merger with Exxon. He later became Vice Chairman of Exxon and a board member at both IBM and the Penske Automotive Group. Today, Harvard Business School lists Noto as one of the great American business leaders of the 20th century.
Just 37 V8 Zagato Volantes were built, of which only 13 were left-hand drive. Of those 13 cars, just nine were fitted with the desirable five-speed manual gearbox (with a dog-leg first!), making this an incredibly rare and special Aston Martin.
Chassis 30029 remained in the US until 10 August 1993, when the British Aston specialist Richard Williams sourced and returned it to Europe, selling it to Rene Michiels, the official Aston Martin dealer in Antwerp, Belgium. The car was later sold to the prominent Belgian Aston collector N.V. Steenhout. Showing just 156km on the clock, it was registered on Belgian plates L30029.
During its time with Steenhout, the Aston was dry-stored and preserved in its original condition. However, Steenhout found himself in the position of owning a second V8 Zagato Volante – a first-world problem if ever we’ve heard one! Steenhout decided to part with 30029, selling it to the Houtkamp Collection. While in the possession of the Amsterdam-based British classic car specialist, this Aston was issued with a Dutch Technical Inspection Certificate on 22 September 2015. This confirmed the mileage as just 2,468km.
On 15 March 2016, chassis 30029 was acquired by a highly regarded collector in Germany, who had it serviced by the Munich-based classic car specialist Formula GT in August of 2017.
In preparation for its sale, this V8 Zagato Volante was sent to Aston Martin Works Newport Pagnell where it was thoroughly inspected and serviced. New spark plugs were fitted, the engine, gearbox and differential oil was drained and replaced, and the brakes were bled and the fluids replaced. The cooling system was drained, the pressure tested and refilled, the air filters were replaced, as were the fuel filter and centre and rear exhaust mounting rubbers. The work totalled £5,800, which also included upgrading the air-conditioning system to the required legal modern specification.
This Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante is now fully UK registered and accompanied by its build sheet, warranty form, owner’s manual and certificate of origin. An ultra-rare manual European-specification example that’s covered fewer than 2,900km from new, chassis 30029 is a veritable time-warp example.
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