Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

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Dennis Cavallino
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Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door Dennis Cavallino » 22 mei 2012, 09:21

[YouTube]http://youtu.be/IJjDdjWnEt8[/YouTube]

Afbeelding

Afbeelding Afbeelding

With the possibility of this genuine Aston Martin Zagato being in new ownership after the annual Bonhams all-Aston sale this Saturday, it was too good an opportunity to miss a short, sharp ‘round the block in a Zag’ just 48 hours before the big day.

So, given the short time frame, let’s get straight on with the driving impressions – aided by the short video above. The car is the headlining lot in this year’s auction at Aston Martin Works, one of only four Sanction II DB4GT Zagatos ever made, and an honourable addition to the original 19. This feature is all about what it’s like to swing a leg under the wide-diameter, studded wood wheel and turn that key.

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the lightweight, cutaway and quaintly buttoned Zagato seats are uncomfortable. Not these, they are perfect for me, and the driving position is in the traditional David Brown Aston mould: the best of the period, no question.

The big wheel is there for a reason. I didn’t count how many turns from lock to lock, but there must be quite a few. No wonder even Jim Clark tied himself in knots grappling with the Essex Racing Team car at the Goodwood TT. But the upside is that the turning circle is good, and that you can ‘think’ the car through bends via your fingertips.

Clever being able to do that, I know, but true.

Afbeelding


As a ‘Sanction II’ car it’s benefited from all the experience of the master of DB4 improvement, Richard Williams, a Zagato-owner himself, and one tasked with managing the entire project in the late-80s.

The engineering improvements are apparent. This is one beautifully sorted car, so easy to drive with no vices apparent to me in albeit a short stint at the wheel. It rides bumps well, steers, stops and accelerates with precision.

Part of that is due to its inherently superior set-up (wider, lower-profile tyres, revised suspension geometry, very careful chassis alignment) and the rest is on account of its superb preparation.

With around 4,800 miles on the clock since 1991, it’s probably ‘nicely run in’, and Aston Martin Works has just carried out extensive service work on it prior to the sale. So, while the cabin has a nicely lived-in, comfy jacket feeling, the mechanicals are in top-notch condition.

Performance-wise, it feels quite a light car, so the addition of a wonderfully smooth and punchy 4.2-litre (my preferred capacity; I think going up to 4.7 litres spoils the character of these cars) makes it really fly at the slightest prod of the nicely weighted accelerator. And I love David Brown gearboxes when they are in fine fettle. This one is.



With coldish oil, a £1.2m - 1.5m estimate and the sale only hours away, I didn’t really want to stretch the engine much over 4,500rpm. With a nice bit of woofling from the big Webers and a crackly exhaust, it did sound magnificent.

Luggage space is only really the back shelf, as the boot is filled with both the big racing tank and spare wheel. Do we care? No, not really, as this is the perfect machine either for an early Sunday cobweb-clearer or an event such as the Ecosse Tour, where a couple of soft leather overnight bags will suffice.

You can debate the merits of the additional four DB4GTZs all day long, but there’s no denying - £4.5m savings aside – that the Sanction II cars are not only true Aston Zagatos, they are superbly engineered, very much in the spirit of the original cars Aston Martin built itself – and they are extremely good to drive.

Afbeelding

Meer info:

Of the many models in Aston Martin's 90-year history, and of the DB series of six-cylinder cars in particular, the DB4GT Zagato is arguably the best loved and most respected. The original collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato of Milan resulted in a production run of only 19 constructed between 1961 and 1963, although the factory did in fact set aside 23 chassis numbers. It is an indication of the affection felt for these beautiful cars is that all 19 are still in existence, many in the UK.

The DB4GT Zagato made its racing debut at the Goodwood Easter meeting in 1961 in the capable hands of Stirling Moss, who brought the car home in third place. Two months later two DB4GT Zagatos, registered '1 VEV' and '2 VEV' and destined to become the most famous of them all, were entered at Le Mans by John Ogier's Essex Racing Stable. Regrettably this attempt at a second Le Mans victory for Aston Martin ended in less than three hours, both cars retiring with gasket trouble. The Tourist Trophy at Goodwood in September of that year proved far more successful when the two cars, driven by Roy Salvadori, one Aston Martin's Le Mans-winning drivers of 1959, and the legendary Jim Clark came home third and fourth, scooping the Team Prize.

Almost 30 years later a factory-approved project was launched to revive this iconic model in collaboration with the original coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Zagato of Milan. The project was instigated in 1987 by the company's then joint chairmen, Victor Gauntlett and Peter Livanos, who commissioned the renowned Aston Martin specialist Richard Williams to up-rate four DB4 rolling chassis to DB4GT specification. Williams was involved with the running of Aston Martin's World Sportscar Team at the time and so the project was delayed for a year. When the Milton Keynes factory closed it was possible to devote the required attention to the four cars, which after completion were shipped to Italy to be fitted with Zagato's stunningly beautiful, hand crafted body. They were then returned to Williams, at that time the owner of one of the original 19, who fitted the interiors and completed the cars at his new premises in Cobham, Surrey.

Said by Williams to be so authentic that 'very, very few people' would be able to see the difference, the four Sanction II cars were given chassis numbers 'DB4GT/0192', 'DB4GT/0196', 'DB4GT/0197' and 'DB4GT/0198', which had been allocated to the original project by the factory in 1960 but never used. The factory decreed that these works-approved replicas were to be known as the 'Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II'. Sanction being a term from early motoring history, which fell out of fashion to be replaced by 'Mark'.

Williams, whose own Zagato at the time (chassis number '0181') was used both in England and Italy to ensure perfect authenticity, introduced various mechanical changes to improve the handling and performance even further, while modern Goodyear Eagle tyres were used instead of the original Avons, although on the same size wheel homologated by the factory for racing in the early 1960s.
Victor Gauntlett said: 'The quality and authenticity are outstanding and each of these four cars will bear the most detailed comparison with the first 19 built. It is also important that Zagato have wholeheartedly approved the project. It was inevitable that all of us involved would, and indeed should, agonise over the decision to launch this project since the very word 'replica' has been degraded in recent years.

'Finally, it was a question in our minds both of the unqualified support of our friends at Zagato and of the uncompromising level of quality that would go into the chassis and bodywork. Satisfied on these points, there was nothing to stop these four stunning motor cars being produced.'

All four Sanction II cars were launched at Protech House, Cobham on 22nd July 1991. Ex-BRM and McLaren Formula 1 driver Peter Gethin took one of them around Goodwood, where his driving school was based. 'It drove beautifully,' he said. 'The engine was wonderful and pulled from way down. The track was wet but the car was very controllable. It went as well as it looked - a pleasure to drive.' Gethin remarked that the Sanction II 'looked absolutely right' at Goodwood. 'I remember contemporary photographs of the original cars at the circuit and everything seemed in place, even in 1991.'

Specification highlights of the Sanction II cars include an engine built to 4.2-litre specification (the originals used 3.7-litre units); four-speed David Brown gearbox; limited-slip differential with 3.07:1 final drive ratio; all-disc, dual circuit braking; wishbone independent front suspension with co-axial spring/damper units and anti-roll bar; live rear axle with coil springs and double-acting telescopic dampers, located by parallel trailing links and a Watts linkage; rack-and-pinion steering; and a 35-gallon (159-litre) fuel tank. With 352bhp on tap (some 50 horsepower more than the 3.7-litre DB4GT) the Sanction II raced to 60mph in 5.5 seconds and reached the 'ton' in 12.2 on its way to a top speed of 153mph.

Chassis number '0198/R' was first owned by Tony Smith, manager of singer Phil Collins and an historic racer, who over the years has owned some of the world's greatest cars. The Aston passed to the current owner in Germany via Michael Brinkert and David Clark of Taylor & Crawley some 17 years ago. Now offered from long-term ownership and with only 4,748 miles showing on the odometer at the time of cataloguing, it is described as in good overall condition. The accompanying history file contains an expired MoT (July 1993 at 656 miles); AML certificate of authenticity signed by Victor Gauntlett; copy of a letter to VG from Gianni Zagato; assorted magazine articles (some featuring this actual car); copies of factory press releases; and blank German Fahrzeugbrief.

Furthermore, '0198/R' will be offered fresh from extensive re-commissioning at Aston Martin Works to include changing the cylinder head gasket, carburettor strip and clean, engine tune, fitting the latest RSW suspension uprights, and a full service at a cost in excess of £12,000, thereby ensuring that the fortunate new owner can drive it from the sale with confidence.

With only four Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction IIs made, '0198/R' represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire on of these fabulous cars, which will become increasingly collectible.

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Grahamexl
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Re: Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door Grahamexl » 16 sep 2019, 20:44

Hello Dennis,

Perhaps you can share some more details about Peter Gethin and specifically his driving school at Goodwood. I'm looking for the information to add to the resources list of driving schools for the section of my project Driving schools by racers. A couple of articles are from 2011, when Peter Gethin died. Are there any recent books about famous racers who launched driving/racing schools? I've been looking for racing schools in the USA and found a couple of forum topics discussions about Bondurant Racing School and ProAutoSports (listed on https://drivingschoolnear.me as well), but these are just talks, no valid resources on any of those.

John Graham
Laatst gewijzigd door Grahamexl op 16 sep 2019, 20:56, 2 keer totaal gewijzigd.

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Roy RS
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Re: Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door Roy RS » 16 sep 2019, 20:47

Grahamexl schreef:
16 sep 2019, 20:44
Hello Dennis,

Perhaps you can share some more details about Peter Gethin and specifically his driving school. I'm looking for the information to add to the bio resources.
I dont think Dennis is very active on the forums anymore
If you are gonna be an active forum member, dont forget to stell yourself neatjes for, people really tend to appreciate these things. :D

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JP
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Re: Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door JP » 16 sep 2019, 20:50

Why do you so angry to a new lid ?

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Grahamexl
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Re: Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door Grahamexl » 16 sep 2019, 21:00

Sorry, just thought perhaps I could find some helpful resources here.

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Eric Z
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Re: Rijverslag: Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato "Sanction II"

Bericht door Eric Z » 16 sep 2019, 21:07

Text seems to be copied from https://www.classicdriver.com/en/articl ... anction-ii, maybe you can try contacting the original author.

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