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Zagato celebrates 100 years with Aston Martin V12 twins

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

Italian design house Zagato is celebrating its centenary with bespoke versions of the Aston Martin Vantage V12.

Based on the 2011 V12 Vantage coupe and Roadster, the Zagato Heritage Twins come as a pair. A total of 38 will be sold to 19 customers, with the majority already spoken for.

The project is licensed by Aston Martin and production takes place at R-Reforged in the UK. Its Warwick facility also builds ex-Jaguar designer Ian Callum’s Aston Martin Vanquish 25 project – previewed in detail here.

60 years of Aston and Zagato

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

Zagato has a long history of modifying Aston Martins. Its first collaboration, the DB4 GT Zagato, debuted in 1960 and only 25 were made. Surviving examples now change hands for £10 million or more.

The Heritage Twins are awash with classic Zagato styling cues, including a gaping front grille and the coupe’s ‘double bubble’ roof.

All body panels are bespoke carbon fibre, while both cars wear 19-inch centre-lock APP Tech alloys and 100th anniversary gold ‘Z’ badges.

A new pop-up rear spoiler is claimed to ‘improve stability at high speeds whilst maintaining the clean surfaces and pure lines of the Zagato design.’ 

Lots of grunt in the front

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

Beneath their vented bonnets, the coupe and speedster twins use a reworked version of Aston’s 5.9-litre V12.

Quoted output is 608hp – 86hp more than the original car. Zagato hasn’t published performance figures, but these siblings won’t be slow. The standard V12 Vantage coupe hits 62mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 190mph.

Crucially, the ‘AM11’ engine from the DBS is naturally aspirated. That means no turbo lag and a stonking soundtrack. Google ‘Aston Martin V12 Vantage sound’ to see what we mean.

Lots of poke, very bespoke

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

These cars are anything but ‘standard’, of course, and there’s plenty of opportunity to tweak your Zagato Twins to your taste.

Buyers can meet with the designers at Aston Martin St Gallen in Switzerland, with options including an ‘infinity colour palette’. Want your supercars to match your shoes? Not a problem.

After choosing a specification (and presumably placing a hefty deposit), you can then watch both cars being hand-built at R-Reforged. 

Marella Rivolta Zagato, who co-runs the Milanese carrozzeria, specified the first twins, seen here. “When I was selecting the body colours, I looked for something that would simultaneously represent our 100-year heritage and our future,” she explained.

“The most symbolic colours are gold and platinum, which are precious metals. Gold, an emblem of purity and distinction, is in my mind a tribute to our first century. Platinum is resistant to corrosion and has great catalytic capabilities, which is what I wish for our next 100 years!”

Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

Company CEO and third-generation designer Andrea Zagato added: “The Aston Martin Vantage V12 Zagato Heritage Twins by R-Reforged are undoubtedly a highlight of our centenary celebrations. To own these collectible cars will be a very personal and emotional experience.”

This isn’t the first time Zagato Astons have been sold as a pair. Last year, the DBS Zagato – based on the current DBS Superleggera – was offered together with the DB4 GT continuation, a faithful reproduction of Zagato’s 1960 original. The price for the ‘DBZ Centenary Collection’? A cool £6 million.

The V12 Vantage Twins will likely be slightly more affordable, but you can still bank on spending well into seven figures. Just imagine the noise of them both firing up together…

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Aston Martin Works lends support to local NHS workers

Aston Martin Works

Aston Martin Works is helping the battle against coronavirus by offering NHS workers at Milton Keynes University Hospital emergency car repairs to help them stay mobile.

Boss Paul Spires said on Twitter: “We’re very aware that a lot of garages have closed down [and] a lot of those workers would probably have relied on friends and families to make sure their cars are safe and reliable.

“What we’re doing here at Aston Martin Works is opening up an emergency repair service. This is not for routine servicing – this is for cars that are potentially going to let those key workers down.”

Spires said that the technicians will be on hand to offer free telephone advice and support, while the workshop will be open for emergency repairs.

NHS workers at the local hospital are invited to telephone 01908 610620 or email worksservice@astonmartin.com.

The Milton Keynes University Hospital has around 550 beds and employs more than 4,000 staff. It sees and treats 400,000 patients each year, but 22 coronavirus patients have now died at the NHS Foundation Trust hospital.

Free advice for Alvis owners 

Alvis Factory Drawings

In a separate development, the Alvis Car Company is offering free advice from factory technicians during the COVID-19 lockdown. The plan is to help Alvis owners tackle jobs at home.

Indeed, the company’s Red Triangle parts division is still shipping genuine parts to owners around the world. Owners are invited to share images or videos with Alvis, and technicians are on-hand to offer free advice and support.

Alan Stote, Alvis director, said: “We took the decision to temporarily close our workshop, but understand that Alvis owners will want to be ready for when they can get motoring and with time on their hands, are considering doing jobs at home, some they may be tackling for the first time.

“We have assigned one of our experienced factory technicians, who has access to drawings, factory service manuals and parts catalogues, to respond to customer queries for pre- and post-war cars.

“We hope that this scheme might give owners the confidence to tackle new jobs. Sometimes just knowing somebody is there to ask is all that’s needed.”

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Roy Keane's Aston Martin DB7

Footballer’s one-off Aston Martin DB7 for sale

Roy Keane's Aston Martin DB7

An Aston Martin once owned by a famous footballer turned pundit is up for sale on Auto Trader. You could own Roy Keane’s custom-painted Aston Martin DB7 for £23,950.

Those in the know will remember ’Keano’ as the captain when Manchester United won the treble in 1998.

That’s the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. This DB7 was Keane’s treat to himself as a celebration of the historic wins, which the team hasn’t repeated since.

Roy Keane's Aston Martin DB7

The car is an Aston Martin DB7 3.2 automatic wearing a unique gold exterior paint. It’s one of just 588 gold cars listed for sale on Auto Trader. It’s been well used, too, coming with 60,000 miles on the clock.

Roy Keane's Aston Martin DB7

“Roy Keane bought this Aston Martin to celebrate Manchester United’s iconic treble win of 99, standing out as the best four-wheeled piece of memorabilia to mark a golden milestone in the club’s history,” an Auto Trader spokesperson said.

“But it’s quite a contrast to the footballer’s cars we see so often on Auto Trader today, with G-Wagens and Range Rovers being the go-to choice for most Premier League players.

Football fans browsing Auto Trader for some isolation respite may even see more famous cars on-site in the coming weeks.”

Roy Keane's Aston Martin DB7

The DB7 was a hot ticket car for footballers and celebrities. We recently covered an ex-Sir Elton John DB7 Volante for sale on Auto Trader.

It’s a shame that neither Sir Elton’s or Roy Keane’s cars are the Vantage V12 variety, with the silky 5.9-litre engine upgrade that came along in 1999.

Also up for grabs was a DB6 ‘loan car’ reportedly often in use by HRH Prince Charles. Of course, only when his own car was in for work.

Famous car designer challenges bored children to ‘Colour with Callum’

Colour with Callum Vanquish

As the country goes into lockdown, startup automotive design company Callum Designs has come up with a novel way to keep children entertained – and there are prizes up for grabs for the most talented junior designers…

The company, started by legendary designer Ian Callum, is currently most famous for the Vanquish 25 restomod.

Now, to relieve the boredom of school closures and social distancing, Callum has created some ready-to-colour black and white sketches of the car. Time to dig out the crayons… 

Colour with Callum Vanquish

ALSO SEE: A very modern classic: Ian Callum on his reborn Aston Martin Vanquish

It’s not just for fun, because this colouring-in exercise could have some much-needed calming benefits. Research shows that the simple act of colouring can relax the amygdala – fear centre of your brain – regardless of your age.

Callum is encouraging people to share their efforts on social media, with prizes to be won for the best efforts.

Just be sure to tag your work #ColourWithCallum.

ALSO SEE: James Bond’s Aston Martin Valhalla hypercar teased on Instagram

Colour with Callum Vanquish

From McLaren helping to develop ventilators, and Vauxhall offering to build them, to Callum helping children to relax, it’s amazing to see the ways in which British companies are doing their bit to ease the pain and worry of the coronavirus outbreak.

Callum launched the Vanquish 25 last year, as the realisation of Ian Callum’s original vision for his Aston Martin flagship.

It represents the modernisation of a car that Callum first began designing more than two decades ago.

Now, the World Car Awards-winning former Jaguar designer wants to see what new designs you can add to his iconic creation.

Over to you… click to download them below! 

Colour with Callum 2 Colour with Callum 3 Colour with Callum 1

Prince Charles’ Aston Martin DB6 ‘loan car’ is for sale

Aston Martin DB6 Prince Charles

Swedish hypercars and a barrage of new EVs not your thing? Is Geneva virtual reveal fatigue setting in? Here’s some welcome respite.

It’s an Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, once used regularly by Prince Charles when his Aston was being repaired. And it’s for sale.

The 1969 example was likely the courtesy wheels for the future king when his DB6 Volante was off the road. That car most recently served as wedding wheels for William and Kate.

This DB6 is what the Aston Martin Heritage Trust calls a ‘Works Demo’. At least, that’s what the green book entry for chassis 4107/R says. 

Aston Martin DB6 Prince Charles

ALSO SEE: Special Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Concorde takes flight

“It’s common to see ‘BH’ number plates on Works cars,” said the AM Heritage Trust registrar, Tim Cottingham.

“So it’s possible even probable that HRH would have driven the car at some point. You would never find proof, but it’s believable I would say.”

In period, the car made the rounds. In addition to its likely royal duties, it was a star of the marque’s press photography. With a Vantage engine and a five-speed gearbox, it spent a year working hard at HQ, in the service of celebrities, royals and the company itself.

Now, it’s been in the same family ownership since 1975, and its odometer currently shows 83,400 miles. It’s covered just 600 miles since a full restoration in the early 2000s, however.

Aston Martin DB6 Prince Charles

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That included a bodywork refurb, a respray in original Dubonnet Rosso, plus the installation of a handling kit. The engine was also overhauled, with the triple SU carbs refreshed and displacement enlarged to 4.2 litres.

So perhaps this Aston is a classic with the best of both worlds. A good bit of history accompanies a well-used car that’s not museum piece, but in good order and ready to be enjoyed.

Of course, being a Vantage, it would be an appropriate purchase in this, the 70th year since Aston first used the Vantage name.

The price? H&H Classics estimates it will make between £260,000 and £300,000 when offered for sale at the Imperial War Museum on March 18 2020.

Aston Martin Valkyrie: Le Mans racer may be delayed, not cancelled

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

It was previously reported that Aston Martin is shelving its Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar project. The news came uncomfortably soon after we witnessed two new prototypes of the road car taking their first steps, with Red Bull F1 aces Max Verstappen and Alex Albon. Fear not, however, as it’s now thought to be more of a delay, rather than a cancellation.

Reports from Autosport said the project is likely to be on hold for at least one year. In an official statement, Aston has confirmed that it will not start the season at Silverstone in 2020, or race at Le Mans in 2021.

Valkyrie delay: grey areas in the rules

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

The marque has stated that the decision to allow the racing Hypercar class to include LMDh IMSA prototypes has caused the delay. 

In a statement regarding the combination of the classes, the company said ‘Aston Martin Lagonda has postponed development of its World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar race entry, following the recent decision by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) to harmonise the Hypercar class with the so-called LMDh prototype category in the WEC from 2021 and the US-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022’.

It went on to say that it will ‘pause’ while it ‘considers whether to continue in any future prototype class’. The silver lining, however, is that the onus is now on the rule-makers to get the harmonization of the two classes right, and keep Aston in the loop. ‘Aston Martin remains open to working with both organisations to find a suitable pathway for any future participation.’

Following the initial announcement of the Valkyrie racing project, Aston went quiet. Delays to the confirmation of the rules aside, it was already on a tight schedule, given the car is due to line up at Silverstone in September.

Money woes and F1 buy-ins

Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valhalla

The recent buy-in to Aston by F1 mogul Lawrence Stroll is thought to be a factor here. His cash injection will at first lead to the Racing Point F1 team being rebranded as Aston Martin at the beginning of the 2021 season.

At that point, Aston will end its sponsorship of the Red Bull F1 team. Red Bull has, however, said the separation will not affect development of the Valkyrie. 

It was under Red Bull that Valkyrie designer and F1 design legend Adrian Newey first began conceptualising his vision of the ultimate road car. This was before any partnership with Aston Martin on the project, with the marque originally working on its own vision for a flagship hypercar.

Hypercars stumbling at the start

Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valhalla

With Aston out until proven otherwise, that leaves Toyota with its GR Super Sport alone at the head of the grid for the Silverstone Six Hours.

Peugeot should also be joining the fray before long, although it recently announced it was undecided on whether to develop under LMDh or Hypercar specifications.

Many other marques are rumoured to be toying with an entry, including McLaren and Ferrari. For now, though, this blow for Aston is also a major blow for the class.

New Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes get F1 drivers’ stamp of approval

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

If those who doubted Aston Martin would go through with the Valkyrie project hadn’t already eaten their words, they will now. Two new verification prototypes, VP2 and VP3, have joined VP1 in the physical testing program for the new hypercar.

And to get a second opinion on how the cars are coming along, Aston enlisted the help of Red Bull Racing’s finest F1 helmsmen, Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

The three prototypes took to Silverstone, with Verstappen and Albon getting their first taste of the hypercar. Chief test driver Chris Goodwin was also on hand to shake down the new prototypes, as were Aston Martin WEC drivers Darren Turner and Alex Lynn.

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

Verstappen spoke of his initial experience with the Valkyrie, saying “to be one of the first guys to drive an insane car like this was really exciting. It was amazing to get a first taste of it”.

“Of course it’s still in the development phase but you can already feel the pace, which compared to a normal car is… pretty different!”

Aston Martin plans on completing testing with eight verification prototypes to assess different facets of the program for the car.

Sadly, we expect one or more of the prototypes to be used in crash safety testing.

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

“This event has been an incredibly important step in Aston Martin Valkyrie’s story,” said Aston Martin high-performance development driver, Chris Goodwin.

“To have three cars now running will see the rate of physical development for this exceptional hypercar increase exponentially.

“Both Max and Alex were both really positive of the direction that we’re currently taking and could see that the ingredients for an exceptionally high-performing car are already there ready to be untapped.

“To have that second opinion and validation doesn’t mean the hard work is done already, but this is a great step on our journey”. 

Deliveries are targetted to begin in the second half of this year. That’ll make for just under a four-year turnaround, from the reveal of the initial design buck, to keys in customers hands. Not bad given the ambitiousness of the project.

You could sum up that ambitiousness with a passing reference to the Valkyrie’s Cosworth V12 and its five-figure rev limit. You can hear that being put to the test in the embedded raw Instagram video below, shared by Aston’s Director of Design, Miles Nurnberger, or Red Bull’s video above, of the F1 drivers having a go.

The goal for the Adrian Newey-designed hypercar was for it to be, literally, generations ahead of anything else in terms of performance. Initial claims were of lap times comparable to Formula 1, and downforce comparable to LMP1 Le Mans prototypes. 

In performance terms, Vertappen’s assessment that it’s “pretty different” could be something of an understatement. Alex Albon’s claim that “it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car,” is probably more like it. 

We now know the Aston will be putting its fastest foot forward in the Le Mans Hypercar class in the WEC, the replacement for LMP1. It’s likely no coincidence, then, that the Valkyrie’s first outings onto a real-world race track happen to be the track where it will get its competitive debut.

It’s due to line up on the grid of the 2020 Silverstone Six Hours in September for its first taste of racing, and our first taste of the eagerly-awaited Le Mans Hypercar class.

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James Bond’s Aston Martin Valhalla hypercar teased on Instagram

James Bond No Time To Die Aston Martin Valhalla

With two months to go until No Time To Die hits cinemas, we’ve got our first look at James Bond’s flagship ride.

Blowing the DB10 of Spectre into the weeds is the Aston Martin Valhalla, with a hybrid twin-turbo V6 mounted in the middle and Valkyrie-influenced aerodynamics. This is 007’s first hypercar.

‘Bring it back in one piece‘

James Bond No Time To Die Aston Martin Valhalla

The tease came courtesy of Aston Martin director of design Miles Nurnberger, who posted pictures of the Valhalla on his Instagram at an event at Silverstone. How do we know this is the Bond car? Well, the first clue for us was the company it was keeping.

Joining it at the circuit, as pictured on Nurnberger’s Instagram, were the DB5 – complete with Bond-specific plate – the classic DBS V8, and the new DBS Superleggera, as driven by the ‘new 007’ played by Lashana Lynch. Of the group, the Valhalla is the only car not seen in the movie trailer.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Straight from the movie set….. 👀7 —— #astonmartin #astonmartinvalhalla #valhalla #cardesign #design #luxury #instacars #carsofinstagram

A post shared by Miles (@milesnurnberger) on

Secondly, Nurnberger’s captions weren’t exactly subtle. “Straight from the movie set… 007”, and “Bring it back in one piece…” require little decryption or detective work.

Nurnburger also revealed that he got to drive “one of the DB5s from No Time To Die”, so there’s a definite Bond flavour to this event.

The only question that remains is what will the villains be driving, if Bond has a multi-million-pound prototype hypercar? Not even the Jaguar C-X75 from Spectre could hang with the Valhalla, we suspect. Plus, the Jag is a bit old hat now. We’ll leave you to wildly speculate.

We also wonder what gadgets the Valhalla will be packing. It’s a high tech thing in standard form. Quite where the machine guns are going to be packed in that shrink-wrapped body, we’re not sure. 

James Bond No Time To Die Aston Martin Valhalla

We expect to get a quick look at the Valhalla in action when the final trailer drops in the coming weeks, immediately prior to the film’s release. Until now, this is our first and only look at Bond’s craziest and most expensive company car to date.

It’s coming up to a year since the Valhalla debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019. Affectionately nicknamed ‘son of Valkyrie’ by Aston Martin, the marque’s second mid-engined hypercar is limited to 500 units. First deliveries aren’t expected for another two years at least.

Bond boost: demand for Aston Martin drives leaps ahead of movie release

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

Track-day experiences allow paying customers to drive Lamborghinis, Ferraris and any number of other supercars. In the run-up to the release of new 007 film No Time To Die, however, punters seemingly have no time to drive anything other than Aston Martins.

That’s according to supercar experience company Trackdays, which says Aston Martin experiences showed a 25 percent surge in popularity in 2019.

They put this down to anticipation for James Bond’s 25th cinema outing, due on April 3 2020.

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

Trackdays’ Aston offerings range from Bond’s staple, the classic 1960s DB5, to the modern V8 Vantage sports car –the latter being one of the most popular experiences. The DB5’s spiritual successors, the DB9 and new DB11, have also proven their appeal.

“It’s no surprise to see an increase in bookings for Aston Martins as Brits get to experience the same behind-the-wheel thrills as the world’s most famous fictional secret agent driving some of his favourite cars,” said Dan Jones, operations manager at Trackdays.

“Think of Bond and fast cars spring to mind, more than likely an Aston Martin. So as the world prepares to welcome Bond back to the silver screen, it’s great to see that Aston Martin is flying the flag for British supercars.”

Aston Martin experience popularity jumps before release of No Time To Die

No Time To Die is set to feature a number of Aston Martins. Bond himself should be seen driving the classic DB5 and V8 Vantage, as well as the all-new Valhalla hypercar. In recent trailers, the ‘new 007’, played by Lashana Lynch, can be seen driving a DBS Superleggera.

Another big-hitting new car making its on-screen debut with Bond is the new Land Rover Defender. No Time To Die could thus be one of the biggest films of 2020 for car fans.

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Revealed: The cost of modifying cinema’s greatest cars

Bond Aston Martin DB5

James Bond’s Aston Martin is having something of a restoration at Q branch, in preparation for its performance in No Time To Die. But how much does it cost to outfit a DB5 with machine guns, an ejector seat and bulletproof glass?

Movie motor buff Mike Renaut has priced it the cost of making an Aston Martin DB5 mission-ready, as well as some other famous movie cars.

Budgeting for BondBond Aston Martin DB5

Although a DB5 will set you back £795,000 (at least), the modifications are surprisingly affordable. You can go from boulevard cruiser to bulletproof bruiser for less than £70,000.

Let’s open with the small stuff: the revolving number plates and smokescreen. They’ll set you back £500 (£400+£100). The first really big expense is the bulletproof glass. Based on a £60 per square foot, plus shaping, tooling and fitting, it’ll cost £7,000. 

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Now the really cool bits. An ejector seat, albeit a replica, will set you back £1,500. If you want it to work, it’ll be more like £20,000. A removable roof will be useful if the ejector is working, which will be a further £600.

The bulletproof rear shield is a £1,550 job, involving the fitment of a £550 police-spec riot shield. From back to front, and from defence to offence, the twin Browning machine guns will set you back £4,600.

Bond Aston Martin DB5

Finally, the rear tyre slashers. These, surprisingly, are the most expensive bit. Because the rear axle will need re-engineering, it adds up to £50,000.

So, there you have it. A breakdown of what Bond’s Aston ends up costing Q branch. Now add that to multiple replacement cars (and replacement mods) every time 007 destroys his long-serving classic…

Preparing other movie cars for battleFast & Furious Dodge Charger

Bond’s needs are different to those of, say, a California street racer. What makes Dominic Torretto’s The Fast and The Furious Dodge Charger so, well, fast and furious? Far from the minimum six-figure sum a DB5 will set you back, a Charger can be had for £30,000.

Mike research for Northgate Vehicle Hire reveals £45,000-worth of modifications, all in the name of performance. These include a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 for £20,000, drag tyres for £700, race suspension for £3,000 and nitrous injection for £1,500.

Italian Job Mini

From Race Wars to the streets of Turin, what about getting a Mini ready for the gruelling The Italian Job chase? Well, on top of the £7,000 that a classic Mini will cost, you’ll need £8,000 for modifications.

These include a strengthened boot floor for £750, a second fuel tank for £400, upgraded shock absorbers for £275, plus a three-point rollcage for £200. What we’re wondering is why a special roof paint job is estimated to cost £4,000.