Happy Anniversary, 007: 1988 Aston Martin V8 Zagato

James Bond is celebrating 50 years of cinematic existence since his 1962 debut in Dr. No and COTC is marking the occasion by spotlighting this unusual and rare Aston Martin Zagato.

Zagato has a long history with Aston Martin and Aston Martin has a long history with James Bond. But Aston was in trouble by the 1980s, as was Bond. Timothy Dalton did a great job in The Living Daylights, but by License to Kill and the fall of the U.S.S.R. the series was running out of steam. Aston Martin meanwhile, was struggling to provide a reliable and respectable supercar (or sedan for that matter, after the Lagonda debacle) to compete with the best.

So in 1986, they asked Zagato to re-body their aging V8 Vantage to reinvigorate the lineup and drum up some press coverage. The Italian coachbuilder had always been at the forefront of automotive design, celebrating and influencing trends of the moment throughout their decades of design experience.

Zagato delivered the goods, erasing the existing sheet metal in favor of a radical redesign that seems to be auditioning for the set of Blade Runner. Zagato immerses themselves in themes of the 1980s while still retaining a core Aston Martin identity. Especially brilliant is the 8-bit Tetris front end arrangement, where the rectangular headlights, turn indicators and fog lamps neatly abutt a reduced, simpliflied and modern interpretation of the Aston grille. The glass-to-glass canopy and side windows-within-a-window doubtless inspired Giugiaro's Subaru SVX.

This particular example looks perfect in Javelin Grey metallic over black leather interior. The seller says it has low miles and all service records. Although it made a splash at the 1986 Geneva motor show, with a flood of orders immediately taken, only 52 were built, and so they remain highly collectible and desirable today.

James Bond might never have driven this particular model, but it would have suited him just fine.

Available here on Car and Classic UK.

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