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Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Breaks Cover in West Hollywood /Review by Wallace Wyss/

True, you can critique a new design of  a car from pictures but, having seen a disparity between how it looks in pictures and what it looks like when you finally get a chance to see it up close and personal, I prefer to wait until I see it in person.

At a recent “cars ‘n coffee” informal car show off Sunset Strip in West Hollywood,  a rare Zagato bodied coupe made an appearance and I was able to do a walkaround and here’s my take:

Front: Grille cavity is big enough and car manages to hide any clue that it’s got “safety energy absorbing bumpers.”

The near horizontal chin spoiler is nicely integrated. The hood vens are well done, well integrated and don’t look “added on” as in many a lesser priced car.  I would rather they be chrome or stainless finished than the ubiquitous black paint. But the front turn signal lenses look exceedingly cheap, like the lid of a coffee ordered at McDonalds.

Side: The side view is pleasing but breaks no new ground. It is curious that the roof wraps around to the side so much, unnecessarily so in this writer’s opinion. The side venting is functional, having a hot air exhaust vent behind the front wheels but the side sculpturing is a little too much like a far less costly car, the Camaro. The trim on the side vent is tasteful and up to date, having a stainless steel look.

Rear: It is nice to see the choice of a single taillight per side in the rear, similar to Ferraris of the ‘Sixties (275GTB for example) but the little fins surrounding the LED  taillights are grotesque like a prop from a sci fi movie of the Fifties. Still they came out of the much praised Vulcan show car while the wing mirrors are closely related to the units developed for the One-77.  The rear undertray is dramatic the way it sweeps up from the side and then goes across, all in what we are presuming is carbon fiber.

Readily apparent from the rear is the “double bubble” roof. A Zagato trademark since the early 1950s, the roof humps originally arose from the need to accommodate racing helmets while still having a minimum impact on the aerodynamic profile.

Interior: I neglected to view the interior but studying pictures on the net, I am puzzled by the random patterns in the bucket seats and odd rectangular shape of the steering wheel (better hope that there’s not too many turns lock-to-lock). In their press release Aston says “ Herringbone carbon fibre is paired with shadow and anodized bronze and optional aniline leather to give the facia, vents and rotary dials a rich material quality. The Vanquish Zagato is also defined by the unique ‘Z’ quilt pattern stitch used on the seat and door sections, as well as the celebrated trademark Zagato ‘Z’ embossed on headrests and stitched into the centre console.”

On the open car, which I saw only in pictures, the decision to cover the rear panel covering the folded top  in leather matching the car interior is something I have to see in person; I would have rather have had body color.

There will be only 99 made and I don’t know how many will come to the U.S. It is rated at 592 hp. And can do 0-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

All in all, I’d award it a 95 point rating on a 100 point scale, it mostly being the front turn signal lenses and fluted taillights that hold me back from full applause.  I know it’s great promotional material to say “we’ve brought back a famous design house who created our great car of the past (in this case the DB4GTZ)” but I say that one has to be just as hard on refining the design that comes from outside as if it was an internal design, and no matter how famous the design house is. On this car those two details somehow mar the design with a cheaper look to them than compared to Aston’s other turn signal and taillight treatments.

I found a price at a site called Business Insider of $800,000 to $850,000 and are presuming that the more expensive of the two is the open car.


The Author:
Wallace Wyss is a fine artist who has been a guest lecturer at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His artwork will be featured at Concorso Italiano in Monterey Aug. 19th. Those who won’t be there can obtain a list of available prints by writing him at Photojournalistpro2@gmail.com

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