Courtesy of RM Sotheby's
Immediately recognizable as not only an Aston Martin, but one with Zagato coachwork, the V12 Zagato is clothed in lightweight hand-rolled aluminum and carbon-fiber body panels. Underneath the gorgeous coachwork was Aston Martin’s highest-specification Vantage drivetrain to date: the company’s competition-proven 5,935-cc 4-cam V12 engine that produced 510 bhp, mated to a 6-speed manual transaxle. With its massive acceleration to a top speed of 190 mph, the Aston’s performance was put to the test at the 2011 Nürburgring 24 Hours, where the two factory race-prepped cars known as Zig and Zag finished 5th and 6th in the SP8 class. One of the most compelling Aston Martins we have seen thus far in the 21st century, the V12 Zagato combines the best of British hand-craftsmanship with Italian design.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Years Produced:2012–13
Number Produced:61
SCM Valuation:Median to date, $877,968 (this car); high sale, this car
Tune Up Cost:A 10,000-mile fixed-price service with HR Owen costs £913/$1,200
Chassis Number Location:Plaque on dashboard, visible through windscreen
Engine Number Location:Under left exhaust manifold and on brass plate under hood
Club Info:Aston Martin Owners Club
Alternatives:2011–14 McLaren 12C/650S, 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC, 2013–15 LaFerrari

This car, Lot 148, sold for $877,968, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s auction at Battersea Evolution in London, England, on September 7, 2016.

Following huge interest generated by the prototype shown at Villa d’Este in 2011, which marked Aston Martin’s second Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes, the company announced it would build a limited run of 150 at its headquarters in Gaydon.

Starting delivery in the second half of 2012, the V12 Zagato was priced at around £330,000 (then about $530k).

A team that included veterans of the One-77 project engineered the car.

The car features a “retuned” version of the regular V12 Vantage’s double-wishbone suspension. The handcrafted Marek Reichman-designed aluminum body is similar to the Vantage at the front, but there are differences in the roof and rear section, and it carries a 120-liter endurance-racing fuel tank.

The automated 7-speed of the regular V12 Vantage was replaced with a proper manual 6-speeder, which keen drivers prefer. Thanks to Aston Martin’s Q division, buyers could specify just about any color, finish and trim they wanted, and each one took 2,000 hours to build.

Only 61 built

Partly due to the cost of construction, only 61 were built instead of the projected 150, making it rarer than Aston’s hypercar, the One-77. This is number 26, and it’s believed to be the first V12 Zagato offered at public auction, so it was interesting where it was going to end up — especially against a background of modern warp-speed machines that are catching the moment.

Unlike the bump in values of previous generations of supercars, which can be explained by demographics, this car is only four years old. The successful 30- and 40-somethings who had Testarossa and Diablo pictures on the bedroom wall as kids bought the real things as soon as they could afford them, which lifted values, and also explains why the Countach was so popular five years ago — and maybe why the market is today flooded with 25th anniversary cars.

However, even the youngest collectors, including dotcom millionaires, likely won’t have had the V12 Zagato as a teenage pin-up. I’ll confess to having little knowledge about modern supercars, so I asked around the trade and spoke to people who do.

Ticking all the boxes

Davide de Giorgi, sales manager at Kent dealer Samuel Laurence, said, “It’s all about low-production numbers, low mileage, brand and color combination — and extras available to order.

“Aston is the one really collectible English car, and by that I mean that it’s possible to have a collection of 10 or 15 different ones that all look good and cool to the average guy. This is what bored city boys want. This spiraled with the last classic car craze — the last 10 years or so — and Newport Pagnell played it very well by making all the right moves to fuel this desire. They supported the classics (good for cash flow) and started making very-low-production special models. Last but not least, they brought Zagato back into the picture.”

So this car ticks all those boxes: rarity, low numbers, low mileage and a unique color combination.

It is finished in Alba Blue over optional contrasting red leather with matching Chancellor Red carpeting, plus red brake calipers.

Since delivery to its German owner in April 2013, it’s been regularly serviced at Aston Martin Kronberg, an Aston Martin main agent near Frankfurt, and has accumulated only 4,200 km (2,600 miles).

RM Sotheby’s had estimated the car at something near double its original list price of £330k, and in fact its final price with premium was almost exactly that — £655,200.

Max Girardo, RM Sotheby’s former auctioneer who recently set up his high-end car brokerage and dealership in London (, had just sold AM V12 Zagato Number 20 for less than this car fetched.

“It was a good price,” Girardo said. “The market for modern supercars is good at the moment; there is a lot of demand for limited-production cars, so the price is a fair reflection of the current market trends.”

A modern Aston Martin collectible

The V12 Zagato is really the modern take on the DB4GT, with a tweaked chassis and subtly different body. And if you extrapolate, the numbers do line up — kind of.

I’ll do this in pounds, as the dollar rates still look skewed from what we’re used to. A used V12 Vantage, launched in 2005 but which until mid 2016 could only be had with a 7-speed automatic, can be bought for £80,000–£135,000. The list price of the current 7-speed manual (though still remotely automated) V12 Vantage S is £138,000, about a fifth of this car’s price.

Now, wind back production by 55 years: DB4s currently cost £400k–£500k in excellent condition, but the specialist DB4GT is just over £2m (yes, I know the last one was £2.4m, but that was a blip), so that’s about the same multiple.

Of course, a DB4GT Zagato would be much, much more, but there were only 19 originals. With 61 V12 Zagatos built, production is up near the 75 factory DB4GTs.

Although the dollar buys a lot more pounds than it did before sterling tanked following the U.K. public’s vote in June to leave the European Union (in a bit more than two years’ time, let’s not forget), this car’s ownership stayed in Europe.

RM Sotheby’s specialist Don Rose, who consigned this Aston, said, “There was keen interest from American buyers, but ultimately the car was sold back to the Continent.”

What’s all this telling us? RM Sotheby’s estimate was about right, and these modern Zagatos are, like all Aston Martins, truly collectible cars, wherever the money originates. With a nod to the future, this one may even prove to be well bought.

I will henceforth regard them in a different light. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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