On the list of the greatest, not to mention the most valuable, British cars of all time, the 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato is way up near the top. Even taking into account all of the many excellent high-end grand touring cars that were made in the ’60s, the DB4 GT Zagato was exceptionally beautiful. The car became a topic of conversation for Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez and Andrea Zagato when the two were both serving as judges for the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance, and the pair concluded that a collaboration was in order to create a modern version of the timeless classic.

The result was the DB7 Zagato, a limited production car that debuted in 2002 and immediately sold out completely. The philosophy behind the car was slightly different this time around. The original car was built racing, as were most Zagato versions of cars in those days, but the DB7 Zagato was made for the road. But then, Aston Martin had some difficulty selling the original DB4 GT Zagato, and the mix of Italian styling and British luxury that was the new car had no such problems. This despite costing much more than any other Aston at the time.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato.

  • 1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato
  • Year:
    1994- 2003
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    435
  • Displacement:
    6.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    190 mph
  • Price:
    250000
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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The wheelbase was shorted by 2.7 inches, and the overall length by 8.3 inches.

Zagato doesn’t half-ass it when making a special version of any car, and the DB7 Zagato’s bodywork probably one of the most under-appreciated pieces of automotive design to have been made in the past couple of decades. The car is a bit smaller than the regular DB7, with Zagato trimming a bit of the fat as a part of the weight saving that went into the car. So the wheelbase was shorted by 2.7 inches, and the overall length by 8.3 inches. The hand-formed aluminum bodywork also contributed to the weight loss, which in the end made the car 130 pounds lighter than the regular DB7.

The grille is noticeably bigger on the Zagato, and the fastback now comes back to a supremely cool Kammback. There are much more pronounced “hips,” and new single round headlights. The DB4 GT Zagato might not have had the trademark Zagato “double bubble” roof, but the DB7 did. Not only that, but the double bubble design extended to the rear window. This is apparently extremely difficult to do, but it looks fantastic. The car was offered in any color that you wanted, but three special shades of gray, green and blue were developed specifically for this model, and Aston obviously suggested that you pick one of these.

Interior

1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Interior
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There is no getting away from the fact that Ford-era Aston Martin interiors are not the best looking in the company’s history. A lot of the details, such as the stalks and switches give every appearance of having come out of a parts bin and are made of aggressively cheap plastic. To make up for this, Aston Martin went the complete opposite direction with the upholstery, which is a special analine leather and is quilted on the seats, something that was far more rare in 2002. But the big difference between this and the interior of the regular DB7 is that the Zagato got rid of the back seat, a part of the process of making the car smaller and lighter.

Drivetrain

1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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The 6.0-liter V-12 in the Zagato came out of the DB7 GT and produced 435 horsepower. On top of this, the car was available only with a six-speed manual transmission with a dual-plate racing clutch. Despite this, Aston Martin didn’t repeat the naming convention of the DB4 GT Zagato, leaving out the “GT.” But this is understandable, as not only was the DB4 version difficult for Aston to sell, the purpose of the car really is different, and leaving out the “GT” helps demonstrate that the car is made for the street. What’s more, although the car had slightly more power and slightly less weight than the DB7 Vantage that it was based on, these differences weren’t enough that the 4.9-second 0-60 time was changed, and just 4 mph was added to the top speed, bringing it up to 190 mph.

Prices

1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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The price of the Zagato when new was $250,000, making it the most expensive car in the Aston stable by a sizable margin.

The price of the Zagato when new was $250,000, making it the most expensive car in the Aston stable by a sizable margin. And if they hadn’t been sold by Aston directly as “personal imports,” we no doubt would have heard the usual stories of dealers charging two or three times the MSRP for them. That’s because Aston Martin built only 99 units of the car.

And while this is obviously much more than the number of DB4 versions, and Aston would certainly beat this later with even more scarce and much more expensive One-77, the demand for the Zagato was still very high. Enough time has passed for the car to be considered old but not a classic yet, and for the more mainstream DB7 Vantage, that means the current pricing is down around what you’d pay for a well-equipped 3 Series. But the Zagato is obviously special, and as such it has actually picked up a bit of value, albeit only a little.

Really good examples are fetching about $260,000 at auction, and again, this isn’t much more than when new, but just for such an expensive car to avoid depreciation during this time frame is a massive accomplishment.

Competition

Bentley Continental GT

2005 Bentley Continental GT
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The Continental GT was launched the year after the Zagato, and at that time it was still a hugely exciting machine. Not only did it offer a much more luxurious and aesthetically pleasing cabin than the Aston, it was just slightly quicker as well. In those days, it hadn’t yet reached the point it has now, where you see them everywhere, and those who had grabbed up the early models were definitely turning heads with them.

Read our full review on the Bentley Continental GT here.

Spyker C12 Zagato

2008 Spyker C12 Zagato
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There were a few Zagato-styled cars to come along the years just after the DB7, but most were either mainstream passenger cars of very special one-offs. The next limited production sports car was the Spyker C12 Zagato. The car was powered by a VW-sourced W-12, and featured some seriously attention-grabbing bodywork. It was more powerful than the DB7 and could hit 60 mph more than a second faster. The downside was that only 24 were built, and the price was just shy of triple that of the DB7 Zagato.

Read our full review on the Spyker C12 Zagato here.

Conclusion

1994 - 2003 Aston-Martin DB7 Zagato High Resolution Exterior
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In the days when limited production vehicles often have production cycles that number around a couple dozen and have price tags that exceed $1 million, it’s sometimes nice to look back at the DB7 Zagato. Sure, 99 units still isn’t very much, and $250,000 is still a good chunk of change, but as special editions of high-end grand tourers go, this could almost be considered mainstream. And even if the regular DB7 started to look a bit bland once we all saw the DB9, the Zagato is still absolutely gorgeous.

  • Leave it
    • A regular DB7 is still impressive, and a hell of a lot cheaper
    • Smaller inside than the regular car
    • Ford interior
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