This Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante is unique in that it is the only right-hand-drive example to feature the 6.3-litre X Pack Vantage V8 engine. The upgrade was carried out at the Newport Pagnell factory when the car was only a few months old, and is fully documented in its history file.
This Volante Zagato was ordered via Stratton Motor Company (Norfolk) Ltd, with the first owner paying his £25,000 deposit on 1 July 1987. At that point, it was thought that chassis number 30031 would be ready in September 1988, but it took until November 1989 for it to be delivered. It was finished in Gladiator Red with a Parchment interior and Burgundy piping, plus Beige carpets.
The final invoice was issued on 18 October 1989 and shows that the Aston Martin Volante Zagato was very much in the ‘reassuringly expensive’ category, with a final on-the-road price of £190,549.
Having been first registered on 5 March 1990, the car was back at Aston Martin’s Service Department that July so that the standard 5.3-litre engine could be converted into 6.3-litre Vantage X Pack specification. The original factory invoice is included in the history file and shows the extent of the work, from replacing the fuel injection with Weber carburettors to installing a Vantage Zagato bonnet assembly and nose panel.
The front and rear suspension was also stripped out and upgraded with a specially prepared handling kit, while a large-bore exhaust system with straight-through rear pipes was fitted – a job that also involved modifying the rear valance. The conversion cost almost £20,000 in labour alone, not including the necessary parts, and is documented in the paperwork with a certificate signed by Aston Martin Chairman Victor Gauntlett and Service Manager Kingsley Riding-Felce.
The standard car was already fast, but the 6.3-litre X Pack conversion moves this particular example onto another level of performance. Now being offered for sale in ‘as new’ condition having covered only 1450 miles, this Aston Martin Volante Zagato retains its matching-numbers status and has just been extensively recommissioned at a cost of more than £20,000. Now offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub.
Aston Martin’s line of V8 models can trace it roots to 1969 and the launch of the William Towns-designed DBS V8. That car subsequently morphed into the V8 and progressed through various incarnations, all of which featured Tadek Marek’s enduring 5.3-litre V8 engine.
The styling was subtly tweaked along the way, while mechanical changes included a switch from fuel injection to less-troublesome Weber carburettors for the 1973 Series 3. After just about surviving a period of economic turmoil in the mid-1970s, Aston Martin took until 1978 to introduce the Series 4, which would be known as the ‘Oscar India’ model and lasted until the launch of the fuel-injected Series 5 in 1986.
A Vantage model was added in 1977 and offered supercar levels of performance in a luxuriously appointed, old-school British design. In fact, when Car magazine ran a 1984 group test, a Vantage proved to be faster from 0-100mph than the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Countach.
The X Pack variant was launched at the 1986 British Motor Show and included upgraded cylinder heads and internals, plus a quartet of Weber carburettors, helping to boost the power output to well over 400bhp. The ultimate specification, however, could be obtained by asking Aston Martin to enlarge the 5.3-litre Vantage X Pack to a monstrous 6.3 litres.
During the mid-1980s, the V8 model helped to rekindle the relationship between Aston Martin and legendary Italian design house Zagato, the two companies having first worked together on the iconic 1960 DB4 GT Zagato. The V8 Zagato was announced in 1985 and finally unveiled a year later, when its angular, muscular lines attracting a flurry of orders.
Zagato handcrafted the aluminium body panels in Italy and also redesigned the interior, and the brochure called the car ‘the supreme expression of the art of high performance’. It stated that only 50 would be built, but total production reached 52 coupés and 39 Volante convertibles between 1986 and 1990.