I should be so lucky
From an early age my Christmas wish list contained an Aston Martin. Scale models, obviously – my family were not financial wizards. As time moved on and lascivious tastes deepened, the marque remained a written talisman alongside a diminutive Australian singer from a soap opera – neither sadly entering my world – I cannot have been good that year.
Other childhood plans also became dashed on the floor of reality. I would never become the train driving/ racing driving/ spaceman/ soldier of youthful imagining – think of the tax implications alone. Thus, when a bout of insomnia gripped tightly, my eyes drifted toward that long harboured love affair with the brand that has required many a fiscal rescue package, modern day Aston Martin. Spoiler alert: I think the affair is over.
Still drawn toward perhaps an affordable Gaydon wing, the Pre-Owned section lured me in. For around £35,000 one could entertain a Cygnet or two, or a teenage Vantage or Volante: tempting. Chase cutting, boy – to the top end! What other worldly delicacies await in the upper echelons of the second hand market?
Excluding the wonderfully restored 1964 DB5 at £1.2M, the next half dozen entrants contained the Zagato moniker alongside barely lesser telephone number price tags – and rather dubious looks. Having no clue to their existence, my eyes widened as the wee small hours slipped by in a blaze of somewhat childish big boys toys.
Mid-2018 saw Aston Martin launch a Zagato family consisting of 99 examples each, costing around half a million – Coupé, Volante and Shooting Brake. Just 28 Speedsters emanated from Warwickshire at around a million pounds Sterling. Of course, by the time of their Frankfurt show reveal, all had sold.
The Shooting Brake slotted in at just £650,000. The childhood spaceman inside your author almost leapt to the moon. This rocket ship for the road is a strict two seater, 2 + 0 in Aston terminology. Conceived as a “practical and entirely individual GT,” the traditional Zagato double-bubble roof with glass inserts allows light inside. Thank goodness, otherwise this could just end up as Major Tom’s tin can.
Initial looks are striking, there’s a semblance of Ferrari FF once past the enigmatic but these days, more piscine grille. Should those front fog lights be yellow, Aston would be facing questions from Worthing based speaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins. Damn, they look good. This particular example, number 31 out of those 99 is Lava Red with a Copper Tan interior. The previous owner must have been distracted though for just 101 miles have rolled under the tyres since the car’s first registration in March 2019. Did they actually look at the thing? Or care that they’d just lost over a hundred grand since purchasing?
Of course the car is replete with the six litre V12, just shy of 600bhp and can crack 201mph. The Hand of Drive being rearward. My childhood soldier would have screamed, yes! Today, the General within now snorts, big deal! Previous incarnations blending English with Ugo Zagato’s Italian style have left me somewhat puzzled.
Most, if not all Aston’s look good for a long time; why spoil the effect? Asking such a question no doubt betrays my financial status, only a General could afford this overtly extravagant theatre of war. Because of the Z-word, a few more horses are corralled beneath that aggressively curved bonnet, a silver streak on both sides and some fancy wood to the rear. Along with the Q bespoke atelier found deep within Gaydon – another source of extracting larger amounts of money from seemingly ever-eager customers.
Such a rarefied world was never for the train driver within me. Blissfully happy watching double 0 gauge model trains circulating the living room, my thoughts were toward the heroes of the footplate; the poor soul feeding the ravenous fire with coal, the driver watching the gauges, keeping the momentum and watching the time. Which brings me on to the wheels – there is more than a resemblance of an alloyed hour glass on each of the five spokes – and we all know that the sands of time run out, eventually. A portent for such expensive whims? Should my hard earned be splashed towards such frippery, I’d want wheels spitting fire or at least hissing steam on using their enormous effort.
As for the inner racing driver, surely Aston have me now? The vagaries of such largesse equate to a car happier hauling on open, freer tarmac. One feels it will handle the twisting sections of tarmac with disdainful presence if not quite fully eliciting Cheshire Cat grins. Plus, the dog or shopping in the back would be spilling everywhere; hardly conducive. Remaining inside, again, faith has it the fit and finish will blow one’s mind with the excellent craftspeople Gaydon employ. But the Z stitching that dominates the cocoon like cabin appears drawn by a child on E numbers. The carbon fibre trim somewhat degrading the tone. A racing driver wants little but a seat and wheel with as few distractions as possible.
The Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is nothing but a distraction.
And this continues exterior aft. The finned brake lights hark from a time when Robbie the Robot was popular. Certain that research makes these brighter therefore safer, one thinks they would be better suited on a vehicle several thousand feet in the sky. The boot opening could make a physiotherapist think twice, his chiropractor on speed dial. Once closed, those sharp creases could be in military twill. Fine for the General on parade, what use other than a dirt trap and vision detractor when the weather’s foul at night?
The monetarily successful can indulge such dreams but to what end? Part of the fun must be the specifying, the meetings to discuss options, shown the tactility of surfaces, being fussed over with drinks – made to feel special, childlike, even. Can the wealthy (or anyone else for that matter) return to such innocent times?
Probably not. The cold light of day revealing this is strictly business. And now that Kylie has had similar amounts of plastic surgery to this mountebank, the idea of my Christmas list is torn to shreds.
The hour is late – sleep and dreams are for wimps. But who are these Zagatos for? You might as well ask Santa.
 The fitted sound system from Danish brand, Bang & Olufsen