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Aston Martin DB 4 GT Zagato (1960 - 1963)

our thanks to www.astonmartins.com


The London Motor Show, Earls Court of 1960 saw the introduction of probably the most beautiful cars of all time and certainly the greatest Aston Martin. Each DB4GT rolling chassis were sent over to the Zagato factory in Milan to be clothed in the lightweight body designed by the young Ercole Spada. The Zagato was given an even more powerful engine than the standard GT by using a higher 9.7:1 compression ratio. This was able to produce a quoted 314bhp. Needless to say that the performance was and still is very impressive with a top speed of 153mph and 0 to 60 acceleration in 6.1 seconds.

The Zagato is probably the most desirable Aston Martin but this wasn't always the case. The factory had plans to produce 25 cars and production started with the highest chassis number (DB4GT/0200/R), further cars had lower chassis numbers. But demand wasn't that strong and only 20 cars were completed; of those, two shared the same chassis number. The last two cars were sold off cheaply by the factory to the Aston Martin dealer, HWM, who in eventually managed to sell the unwanted cars. Now the Zagato is rated as the most beautiful of all Astons with a value around the 700,000 mark and maybe much more. The remaining unused chassis numbers were eventually 'recycled' in 1991 with the emergence of the Sanction 2 cars.

DB 4 GT Zagato sanction II and III (1991 - 2000)

During the late 1980's the classic car market was extremely buoyant and the original DB4GT Zagatos were the most desirable of the Aston Martin road cars. Indeed at auction in 1990, one changed hands for a staggering 1.7 million sterling. In 1987, the owners of Aston Martin, Peter Livanos and Victor Gauntlett decided to build four more cars using up the chassis numbers left unused from the earlier cars (0192, 0196, 0197 and 0198). After chassis had been completed in the workshops of Richard Williams (RSW), they headed out to Italy for the bodies to be added. These were constructed in the workshops of ex-Zagato employee Mario Galbiatti since Zagato themselves no longer had the facilities to do the work in-house. So as to ensure that the bodies of the Sanction 2 cars were identical to the original cars, Williams had his own car sent to Italy to be dismantled and used as a template. After delays due to Richard Williams involvement in the AMR1 Group C racing project, the four Sanction 2 cars were unveiled in July 1991at the premises of RSW in Cobham, Surrey.  

There a a few differences to the original model

  • Platform chassis based on DB4GT/0181/L with additional strengthening to improve torsional rigidity

  • a slightly larger capacity 4.2 litre engine (4212cc, 3.7 litre on the original) with 50DC01/SP Weber carburetors (replacing 45DCOE's) developing 352 bhp (up from 314)

  • Front suspension as in 1961 but with adjustable and thicker anti-roll bar

  • Rear suspension as in 1961 with improved location and adjustable

  • Modern Goodyear Eagle NCT tyres on 15 inch diameter, 6 inch wide rims (down from16inch by 5 inch)

The  stated cost of each recreated car (all pre-sold) was a massive 750,000 although in reality they may have actually cost around two thirds of that figure. One example passed through Brooks Geneva auction in March 1998 for a little under 310,000 plus buyers commission.

In no way can the Sanction 2 cars be seen as mere copies. They are absolutely accurate examples only separated by a period of 30 years from the first batch of cars.  At the time of their unveiling, Victor Gauntlett described them as 'works approved replicas' as the project was blessed by both AML and Zagato.  It must also be noted that a number of standard DB4 cars have been rebuilt with Zagato type bodies by such people as GTC engineering with Shapecraft, Goldsmith and Young, Aston Workshop, Desmond Smail, Stratton Motor Company and Fourways Engineering.

In 1992, RS Williams were given approval from AML to produce a further two cars from extra parts left over from the Sanction 2 project. The cars started out as standard DB4's in poor condition and were completed in 2000. Zagato has stated that it wants no further cars to be built so as not to spoil the market. These cars have been named by the AMOC as Sanction 3 cars.

Wheelbase 2362 mm 93 in  
Track front 1372 mm 54 in  
rear 1359 mm 53.5 in  
Length 4267 mm 168 in  
Width 1557 mm 61.3 in  
Height 1270 mm 50 in  
Kerb weight 1251 kg 2758 lb  
Weight distribution
Fuel capacity      
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore stroke 92.00mm 92.00mm
3.62 in 3.62 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 1
Displacement 3670 cc
(223.957 cu in)
Unitary capacity 611.67 cc/cylinder
Compression ratio 9.70:1
Fuel system 3 We carbs
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 318.4 PS (314.0 bhp) (234.1 kW)
@6000 rpm
Max. torque 377.0 Nm (278 lbft) (38.4 kgm)
@5400 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 85.6 bhp/litre
1.4 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 102.72 Nm/litre
0-50mph (80 km/h) 4.80s
0-60mph 6.10s
0-100mph 14.10s
0-Quarter-mile 14.50s 
Top speed 246 km/h
Power-to-weight 251 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Suspension Front I.CS.
Transmission 4M
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 3.31
Number made 19