You don’t see many Aston Martins around. An Aston Martin with a Zagato body even less so, an Aston Martin V8 Volante Zagato with less than 400 km on the clock with Aston Martin Works upgrades, having already been restored on two occasions? Absolutely unique! Whilst this Aston Martin has hardly clocked up any mileage there is much to be told about this car.
The car was supplied to Mr Philips by the Stratford Aston Martin dealership in the UK on the 12th November 1989. Mr Philips appeared to be an important customer going by the accompanying paperwork in which it is clear that the factory had direct talks with said customer. The car was ordered in a Rolls-Royce Royal Blue finish with a blue piped Magnolia leather interior trim and blue mohair hood. As any proper red-blooded Aston Martin aficionado would do, he bought both the coupé as well as the Volante version of the new Aston Martin Zagato. He collected the car from Stratford, kept it in his heated garage for a few months after which he took it back to Stratford requesting they look after it and regularly turn the engine over. Until 2011 virtually nothing happened to the car, although it did change hands, none of the subsequent owners actually drove the car with the mileometer staying at 200 miles.
In 2011 sheikh Nasser Sabah El-Ahmad bought the car. Before being collected the car went to Aston Martin Works where it was fully restored and given many upgrades. And as the Brits tend to say Aston Martin Works fully went to town! It was a no holds bar operation. Although still in delivery miles it was decided to take the bodywork back to bare metal and respray it in a new colour; the off-white Bentley Magnolia. The steering was changed from RHD to LHD and the mileometer changed to a kilometre gauge with the correct mileage now set in kilometres. Not only was there a new odometer, but all other gauges were also changed to have white dials and chrome surrounds. The middle oil pressure meter was exchanged for a gear indicator suiting the new transmission, which we will come back to later on. Inside new colour coded 8-step electric adjustable Recaro bucket seats were installed. The steering wheel was reupholstered in blue leather together with new massive aluminium and wooden gear knob. Completing the external look are multi-piece Ronal rims bespoke made for Aston Martin. The total cost for the aforementioned restoration was a staggering £ 239.000,-
The car needed to be in perfect mechanical health as well. The fuel-injected 5.3-litre V8 engine was built out and every hose was preventatively replaced. The standard brakes were replaced with larger, wider Ap brakes with six pistons per brake calliper. The standard Chrysler Torque Flite 3-speed automatic was exchanged for a custom made six-speed automatic. The diff was changed to a stronger version with a different final gear reduction, better suited to the new box. The drive shafts and cooling of the gearbox and diff were replaced. As the car would be used in a warm climate, the sheikh instructed to improve the engine cooling system and increase the air-conditioning capacity and use a modern coolant. The original exhaust that had developed some superficial light corrosion was replaced with a new stainless steel one, making sure the tailpieces stuck out from under the bumper in the same way the originals did.
To bring the car even more up to date, the Zagato was fitted with Sat-Nav and given a third brake light. Road handling was improved upon with the Aston Martin Works Handling Package. The package includes new Koni shocks. A thicker anti-roll bar, different suspension bushes and a different wheel alignment. Whilst it never rains in Kuwait they still went ahead and preventatively changed all of the door and hood rubbers.
The Zagato was transformed from a new but stationary nearly 25-year-old car to a Zagato fully ready for a new life and future. Every upgrade was chosen with the utmost care by the experts at Aston Martin Works. The car is still as perfectly balanced as a standard Zagato and probably even better. With the car ready for new adventures, guess what happened next? The Zagato ended up in the sheikh’s collection still unused!
Early 2021 the car was sold to its last owner, a true enthusiast with a keen eye for detail. So what do you do to a fully Aston Martin Works restored Aston Martin V8 Volante Zagato? Right, you simply start all over again! The car was taken to one of Europe’s top restorers and taken apart. The bare metal received its original coat of Rolls-Royce Royal Dark Blue after extensive investigations to ensure there was a correct colour match with the original. They chemically analysed an old piece of paint that had remained on the inside of one of the doors and matched it precisely to an old Rolls-Royce sample chart, just to be 100% sure! Well, we cannot say anything other than that the final result has worked perfectly. The multi-facetted Ronal’s made way for the original wheels. They were fitted with new centers. Ordered with the help of those nice men at Stratford directly from Aston Martin they were also the very last set still on the shelf. The Aston Martin V8 Volante Zagato was now, bar the third brake light kept for safety reasons, back to its original appearance. This appearance is matched by very extensive service by an Aston Martin Specialist making this car more than ready-to-go. The total cost for this second restoration was a hefty € 40.000,-
The car still has not clocked up more than 400 kilometres and is in both mechanical and semblance wise pristine. Should you have missed the boat in 1989 (which would have been more than likely as the total build was sold out in record time), then, because of the most curious of circumstances, we can offer you this brand new example.
As you would expect with such an exceptional Aston Martin the paperwork is impeccable. The car has its original owner’s manual, invoices relating to the restorations, photos of the restorations. The Kuwait plates including a translation, the Aston Martin Works file with every seat and radio manual, mail exchanges with the previous owner and finally the original Aston Martin certificate and build sheet.
The car is ready for its next owner and it is up to them to decide how to continue this remarkable story. Will you preserve it in your collection or start enjoying this marvellous vehicle on the road? Whatever you decide to do this is a wonderful piece of Aston Martin history and a fantastic addition to your collection.