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  Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1960 - 1962
Numbers built:19
Introduced at:1960 London Motor Show
Designed by:Ercole Spada for Zagato
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 23, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAston Martin did not give up just yet and commissioned Zagato in Italy to put the British racing cars on a serious diet. This was very much the coachbuilder's speciality as they had proven time after time with their distinctly bodied Alfa Romeo and Lancia racing cars. The Milan based company had just hired a very young designer called Ercole Spada, who had been given the difficult task to replace Elio Zagato, who had been injured in an accident. He did remarkably well as the new shape he penned for the DB4 GT has gone into history as one of the all time greats. Sadly the Zagato engineers struggled to shed sufficient weight off the Aston. The engine was modified and the output was rather optimistically raised to 314 bhp. Late in 1961, the first DB4 GT Zagato was introduced in London, bearing the very high chassis number 200. Aston Martin probably figured this would help homologating the car; the subsequent DB4 GT Zagatos produced sported lower numbers.

Needless to say Ferrari had not been sitting on their hands and their latest racers produced a staggering 285 bhp and more importantly were 25% lighter than the new DB4 GT Zagato. Things got even worse for Aston when the first of the lightweight Jaguar E-Types was driven to a debut win. Nevertheless the privateers perservered and in 1961 the odd win and many podium finishes were scored. Aston Martin continued to develop the car's mechanicals and they experimented with magnesium gearbox cases on two of the Essex cars for Le Mans, which bore the famous license plates '1 VEV' and '2 VEV'. It all proved in vain and although the teams struggled on in 1962, the DB4 GT Zagato was never a success on the track. From 1962 onwards the World Championship was run for GT cars and this sparked Aston Martin to take up racing again. They produced the so called 'Project Cars', but they again struggled, now against the even more potent Ferrari 250 GTO.

Between 1959 and 1962 Aston Martin produced just under 100 DB4 GTs of which 19 were equipped with Zagato bodies. Despite never really making a mark on the racing track the DB4 GTs have become some of the most sought after Aston Martins, with prices approaching seven figures for the standard version. The lightweight and particularly the Zagato bodied cars are exceptionally valuable. This high value inspired Aston Martin's owners to build a series of replicas in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Using left over DB4 parts, the 'Sanction 2' cars were almost perfect copies of the originals or at least one of the originals as none of the hand-made Zagato bodies was identical.

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  Article Image gallery (190) Chassis (9) Specifications User Comments (5)