Aston Martin is a manufacturer not alone in discovering that a market exists among the super-enthusiast, super-rich segment of the world car scene. In some ways, the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust started the ball rolling several decades ago by reproducing MG and Mini bodyshells affordably. More recently, both Jaguar and Land Rover entered the restoration scene, with brand-new replicas of both E-Type and original Range Rover models. Bentley has followed suit, albeit in a more exclusive vein.
Having popped behind-the-scenes at Jaguar Cars recently, doing the same at Aston Martin’s Newport Pagnell factory, followed by a brief trip up to Silverstone Circuit, seemed wonderfully logical. The brief that AM’s personnel have been working towards is a bespoke but perfect replication of a much loved and admired DB4 Zagato, by which just 19 examples constitute a ‘continuation’ series. The ‘secret’ lies in their optimised construction, to ensure that their track-only future usage (if any are utilised in that manner) is as close to perfection as it can be.
Although the production hall is just a well-lit and whitewashed renovation in its own right, to witness several of the smile inducing DB4Zs ending their hand-made production runs, with several other projects yet to materialise lingering beneath judiciously placed AM car covers, an atmosphere of intense British pride is much in evidence. It makes you wish for the £6m availability to be part of the prestigious process.
Bear in mind that the AM DBZ Centenary Collection subscription also entitles the owner to a spanking new DBS GT Zagato model, the first production versions of which are being eased off the lines at Aston’s more modern Gaydon facility (although customer deliveries will not commence until late-2020). However, just 20 miles away from Newport Pagnell is the hallowed tarmac of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, where the Stowe Circuit is ‘home’ currently to several of the hand-built DB4Zs…this is where smiles turn to appreciative tears, as the triple Weber-carburetted six-cylinder engines burst into life. A team of final inspection engineers tighten wheel-nuts, resolve teardrop leakages and ensure that zero glitches exist in their creations. The pursuit of perfection is total and uncompromising, which should not be a surprise at the price.
Each of the continuation models has required a remarkable 4,500 hours of meticulous, artisan talent. The original DB4Zs were built to compete against the Ferrari ‘works’ racing cars of the 1960s but, while this new series is definitely a pinnacle achievement, there is significantly more to come from Aston Martin and its Heritage Division HQ located just north of Milton Keynes. In fact, a small run of DB5 ‘Goldfinger’ models, complete with some of the movie star’s special features, is set to appear in the future.