Image credits: © Aston Martin.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Roadster

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Roadster 2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Roadster 2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Roadster Roadster
Designer: Zagato
Chassis #: SCFAC13391B50PP19
Sold for $660,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
The Vanquish is one of Aston Martin's true hallmarks. Zagato is one of those hallmark coachbuilders that has managed to not only last, but become engrained into the consciences of those always seeking elite touring automobile designs. Combine the two together and decades of nostalgia and prominence become irresistible.

Over the course of its nearly 100 years of experience, Zagato has introduced a number of innovative features that have been an amalgamation of both form and function. Aston Martin has always had a reputation for much the same combining refinements with pure, raw performance. Its cars have been pieces of art in and of themselves, but they have also been fierce competitors on the track. Zagato and Aston Martin, having so much in common, had joined forces numerous times in the past. In 2004, they would come together again to create something unique, something that would help redefine the Aston Martin brand.

Working with Aston Martin, Victor Gauntlett and the Zagato brothers had created the Vantage that made its debut at the Geneva Auto Salon during the 1980s. The Vantage would return in the early part of the new millennium. However, a new and remarkable design was in the wings ready to make its appearance in 2004.

Nori Harada and Peter Hutchinson came together to create a special Aston Martin for the 74th Geneva Salon in 2004. Based upon a Vanquish coupe, the design would be truly unique as it would be a convertible Zagato Roadster, a 'true' convertible.

A buffet-free cabin, an integrated hardtop, the Zagato double-bubble hardened glass cover and a fully hidden cloth top would be just some of the aesthetic features of the Vanquish prototype.

Modern performance features, including electronic fuel injection, a six-speed manual transmission and a 6-liter DOHC V12 engine, producing more than 450hp at 6,800rpm would all come together to create one fantastic and evocative ride.

The inspiration of imagination would come in 2004 with chassis SCFAC13391B50PP19 and the Geneva Salon. This is that partnership coming alive once again.

The steep rake of the windshield, the aggressive haunch at the rear and all of the other audible clues that go along with the look as a result of the 'quiet' cabin all make for sensory overload.

Garnering praise by nearly all who had the opportunity to drive it, the Zagato Vanquish Roadster would remain exactly what it started out life as—a prototype. Despite the sensations caused by the exhaust note and the simple, and yet, aggressive lines, people would be ultimately left wanting as the car would never enter production as a result of Aston Martin's busy production schedule at the time. Therefore, Zagato's Roadster Prototype would remain an inspiration and cause for wonder of what might have been.

In what was perhaps one of the greatest teases, Zagato would continue to have the Aston Martin shown all around the world. This would include an appearance at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and a few other stops along the way.

At Pebble Beach, there would be an individual that would absolutely fall in love with the car and would stop at nothing to have it. Talks would go on and on with either side unwilling to yield. Yet, finally, the negotiations would be done and the car would be imported through a Massachusetts Aston Martin dealer and then on to its current owner.

Shown here and there, including an appearance at the 2013 Quail—A Motorsports Gathering, the Vanquish has remained a near and dear possession. However, as of 2015, and Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction, the one-off Vanquish would become available for sale.

Just eleven years on from its debut in Geneva and with just over 13,000 miles, the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Roadster Prototype would be a very special offering at the auction and this would result in a sale price, inclusive of buyer's premium, of $660,000.

By Jeremy McMullen

Aston Martin Vanquish Roadster

The latest creation resulting from the marque's historic alliance with Zagato, is a decidedly original interpretation of a classic.

Up front, the Vanquish Roadster retains the face of the coupe now associated with James Bond, but to the rear, this car is entirely new: it has a round light cluster and a tapered tail.

Designed to adapt to season, the Vanquish Roadster introduces a functional modular cover system. In winter, a hardtop becomes an integral part of the car. On warmer days, this hardtop is replaced by transparent hardened glass and a soft cover. Developed by Zagato's engineers, this soft cover is easily and simply mounted and, when not in use, is held in the luggage compartment. The hardened glass, with its curvy 'double bubble' form, emphasizes the relationship between the sold and void.

The interior trim is exclusive in its design and seaming. A luggage compartment immediately behind the seats can also be seen through the glass cover.

Zagato and Aston Martin: a strong alliance that goes back to the 60s with the legendary DB4 GTZ, continued in the 80s with the Vantage and Volante, and is now firmer than ever in the new millennium with the DB7 Zagato and American Roadster 1.

These are the cult cars of collectors and enthusiasts, always prime examples of the 'instant classic'.

At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Zagato is presenting the Roadster version of the Aston Martin Vanquish, partly leaving unchanged the original project. For the first time, this Milan workshop is not giving an entirely new look to the production model, but is offering an interesting variation of the Vanquish, introducing innovative, futuristic touches of style.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish RoadsterWhile the Aston Martin DB7 Zagato and AR1 were initially presented to customers in the form of a limited edition, immediately sold out, the Vanquish Roadster is a 'provocation' proposed by Zagato with the backing of Aston Martin itself.

Close cooperation between Nori Harada, Zagato's Automotive Chief Designer, and Peter Hutchinson, Design Manager at Aston Martin, has resulted in this new car introducing elements that are a sharp break with the Roadster segment.

A decidedly original interpretation that combines the totally unique design of the rear with the introduction of a functional modular cover system.
A hard top for winter, developed to not appear as an add-on but as an integral part that also takes in the rear. On warmer days of the year, its place is taken by a transparent hardened glass and an easily used soft cover.

Developed by Zagato's engineers, this soft top is easily and simply mounted and, when not in use, is held in the luggage compartment without taking up much space.

The car has a round rear light cluster, a tapered tail to best feature the wheelbox and a completely new rear bumper. The hardened glass, with its curvy ‘double bubble' form, emphasises how unique and valued is this proposal, balancing in a different, almost extravagant way, the relationship between the solid and void.

Special care has been applied to the interior trim, made exclusive by the design and type of seaming introduced.
A luggage compartment immediately behind the seats can also be seen through the glass cover.

At the front, the Vanquish Roadster proposal retains the design of the coupe version famous for being James Bond's most recent car.

Source - Zagato / Aston Martin
Playing a huge role in returning Aston Martin, a classic British carmaker, to both financial success and technological sophistication, the Vanquish surely delivered. Like any proper Aston Martin, the Vanquish not only had drop-dead gorgeous styling, but also a certain spice with muscular fenders and a wide, squat stance. It is considered to be the most masculine of Aston's classic design. Loosely based on the Virage/V8 platform, the V12 Vanquish instead featured thoroughly modern technology.

Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin was originally called Bamford & Martin when the two had joined forces the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London. At this location they also serviced GWK and Calthorpe vehicles. Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton and the two men chose to make their own cars.

The first car dubbed Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. Martin and Bamford acquired premises at Henniker Place in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Unfortunately production couldn't begin due to the outbreak of World War I. Martin had joined the Admiralty, and Bamford joined the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company.

A grand tourer, the Aston Martin Vanquish was designed by Ian Callum and was manufactured by Aston Martin. Introduced in 2001 the Vanquish was Aston Martin's flagship vehicle. Appearing as the official James Bond car in the movie ‘Die Another Day' the Vanquish rose to worldwide recognition. In 2007 the Vanquish was taken out of production. The Aston Martin DBS V12 temporarily replaced it at the top of Aston's lineup, pending the 2010 replacement.

In the wake of a GT concept car, the Project Vantage concept car let to development of the Vanquish. The Vantage concept was introduced with a V-12 engine at the North American International Auto Show in January of 1998. In 2000 the production model was debuted and the series production began in 2001. It wasn't until 2005 that the car received any major updates when the Vanquish S model debuted at the 2004 Paris Auto Show. The S model came with more power, new wheels and slight styling revisions.

The Vanquish Ultimate Edition was introduced to celebrate the end of the Vanquish production run. Aston Martin announced that the final 40 cars built would have a new ‘Ultimate Black' exterior color, personalized sill plaques and upgraded interior. The Ultimate Edition was the first Vanquish available with a conventional stick-shift manual transmission. In July of 2007 production of the Aston Martin Vanquish was ended and coincided with the company's Newport Pagnell factory after 49 years of operation. The final car was the Vanquish S Ultimate Edition in black.
A high-performance coupe, the Aston Martin V12 was produced from 2002 until 2006. The original model was joined by the more powerful S Variant in 2005, and only the S model was available for the final year of production. The V12 Vanquish main body structure included aluminum sections bonded and riveted around a central carbon-fiber transmission tunnel. To keep the weight down Aston utilized carbon fiber A-pillars, all-aluminum suspension and aluminum body panels. Despite all of this, the Vanquish still weighed in at little more than 2 tons.

Designed at Ford Research in the U.S. was the V12 engine in the Vanquish. The Vanquish's V12 engine shares some of the components and design elements with the 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6. The engine even shares the same bore and stroke dimensions and for this reason many people incorrectly dismiss the V12 as just ‘two Duratecs linked together'. It is correct though that the AM V12 shares components with the ‘Duratec' engine design. The standard Vanquish's 6.0-liter V12 produced 460 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque.

The powertrain of the Vanquish was also quite innovative, with a high-performance 6.0-liter V12 engine that first made 460 hp, and later 520. To get that power to the rear wheels there was an automated-clutch, six-speed sequential-shift manual gearbox that utilized F1-style paddle shifters. The V12 Vanquish also came with 19-inch wheels with performance tires, power seats and a 10-speaker in-dash CD changer audio system. Also standard a navigation system, multi-level heated seats and Bluetooth connectivity on the 2006 V12 Vanquish S, as well as the Sports Dynamic suspension, steering and braking package.

The inside of the V12 was finished quite lushly in the best leather hides and offered a nice variety of color options. The center control stack was revised in 2006 to match the current, newer batch of Aston Martin's. Earlier on the Vanquish had borrowed much of its switchgear from the Ford family parts supply. There was quite a substantial amount of room inside the Vanquish when compared to other exotic sports cars and the Vanquish was available with a choice of 2+2 or strictly two-seat interiors.

Only 300 hand-built V12 Vanquish models were produced each year and each model is fully customizable to the customer's requirements.

By Jessica Donaldson

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