Aston Martin V12 Zagato

The Aston Martin V12 Zagato was released in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. Designed in house and hand built by the craftsman in Milan, the V12 Zagato finalised a limited production run in 2012. Sharing its mechanical components with a V12 Vantage, the new Zagato was clad in a hand-crafted aluminium and carbon skin featuring elements seen on previous cars such as the ‘double bubble’ roof and short body overhangs.

The Zagato specific parts of this car take approx. 2000 hours to make, including around 100 hours for the paintwork. When unveiled, the Zagato was available in 5 colours, 4 of which are unique to Zagato; Carbon Black, Alloro Green, Alba Blue, Scintilla Silver and Diavolo Red. None of which describe the car you see here…..

Of a very limited run of 99 cars (this was actually the 9th car produced), this Zagato is completely unique, resplendent in it’s Sunburst Yellow paint. The eagle eyed amongst you may also notice the black Zagato badges, normally silver or red, and the black Aston Martin badges, agreed by the factory as a one off. For this car was bought by a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family, who wanted to know they would never see another car exactly the same as theirs. Unfortunately, it was never considered that the car was only produced with a 6 speed manual gearbox, and when the car arrived in Kuwait, there was a revelation that they only drove cars fitted with an automatic transmission. As a result, the car was left unused in the Royal Family collection until 2014, when it was returned to the Zagato Museum in Milan, Italy. It was at that point that our client became aware of it, and was able to add it to his own car collection.

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Upon arrival the car was a bit grubby. It had just been returned by Aston Martin who had arranged for the car to be put through its IVA test. This is like an extended MOT, necessary because the car had not been made for the UK, and never registered here, so in order to start that process it must be tested to ensure it conforms to our regulations. Given that the car is essentially brand new (it’s only showing 88 miles on the odometer), with a couple of adjustments for driving on the left, it passed with flying colours.

Once carefully washed, dried and back in the garage, the paint could be inspected closely. The first thing that strikes you about it, other than the colour, is how amazing flat it is, almost no orange peel texture to it whatsoever. This is very unusual, and tells you something about the amount of time and effort invested in it at the time of manufacture.

However, the flip side of that was that every panel, in multiple places, showed marks caused by the sanding process, known as DA marks, or ‘pig tails’ due to their curly pattern. In some places it was quite visible without direct light, in others no so much, but it was obvious this was detracting from the potential of this beautiful paint by limiting its gloss. There were also a few minor scratches around door handles and the like, but nothing dramatic.

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Aston Martin paint is a joy to work with, allowing for smooth and consistent correction of defects. The paint depth readings were very variable, testament to it’s hand painting and finishing process (rather than cars painted by machine that will be a lot more even). Using the Rupes DA polishing machines, a medium to firm approach was chosen and defects removed gradually, revealing a sublime depth of gloss and reflection rarely seen.

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As the photographs show, the paint started to become extremely ‘liquid like’, the mica particles in the paint making it look deep and lustrous, and coming sparkling under a direct light.

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This work took 2 days to complete, covering every inch of the car in exquisite detail. Each panel was wiped with alcohol to ensure any sign of polish residue had been removed, and that the true finish was being inspected. Satisfied that it was as good as possible, Swissvax Cleaner Fluid was used on the painted areas, before two coats of Swissvax Utopia was applied. Swissvax waxes are known for their signature wet look gloss, but the new Utopia wax seems to have taken this to another level.

The wheels were removed, cleaned, dried and protected before being refitted and torqued correctly using the 2 stage process described by Aston Martin. Whilst the wheels were removed, the brake callipers were cleaned and protected too. Due to the nature of carbon composite brakes, they produce very little dust compared to a conventional set up, but the wheels still get grubby from road dirt.

The satin finished carbon fibre, found on trim, front splitter, rear diffuser and wing mirrors were all treated using the Williams Ceramic Coat product, which works brilliantly on these non-gloss finishes. Finally attention was turned to the interior. The fact it’s not been used means it was in very good condition, just a bit dusty and the matts showing the presence of the chaps who carried out the IVA test. After a clean, the striking interior leather surfaces were covered with a dedicated leather protectant.

Finally there was time to take the car outside for some pictures, the dull weather and failing light doing nothing to extinguish the amazing glow of the Sunburst Yellow paint.

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This was a particularly satisfying car to work upon, and we look forward to caring for it as part of a Curation programme for this client.