Designed In Milan, Created In Warwick: R-Reforged And The Aston Martin V12 Zagato ‘Twins’
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the world of products, the beholder is the one who pays for the product. But, for those who have made the business of beautiful design a successful endeavor—across multiple generations, no less—we start to approach something like a genuine tastemaker situation. The ability to define the eye of the consumer is a rare one, and Zagato has it.
As a longtime fan of Zagato’s century-long history, it was indeed a bit of a privilege to be given a direct line into Dr. Andrea Zagato, grandson of company founder Ugo Zagato, on the eve of the unveiling of another pair of Zagato-designed masterpieces, the Aston Martin Vantage V12 Zagato Heritage Twins (which we previously featured when the project was announced).
The cars are strikingly pretty, as one would expect of anything bearing the Aston Martin emblem upon its nose, let alone with a set of enhanced lines from Zagato. These have been developed outside of the workshops of Gaydon where Aston Martins are typically born these days, manufactured instead by the Aston-endorsed coach builders at R-Reforged.
This marks a new collaboration for Zagato and R-Reforged, and I ask Andrea how it came about. R-Reforged are no strangers to Aston Martin, being part of the ‘R-Universe’ under the collective banner of AF Racing, as well as of course collaborating on the very excellent Callum Vanquish, so did this make them an obvious choice, or was it something else?
Andrea tells me that to be able to put together cars bearing the Aston badge, but to do it with someone other than Aston Martin involved is a very great privilege, and one that could only have happened after nearly 60 years of trusted partnership, stretching back to the DB4 GTZ. R-Reforged, he says, fit the parameters of exactly the kind of partners that Zagato are looking to work with.
“We share the same philosophy, they are like a traditional coach builder,” he says when speaking of their approach to luxurious and exclusive sports car production and design. He is hopeful that the success of this venture may open the door for similar collaborations in the future, while also touching on the “great history” of collaborations with British manufacturers in Zagato’s past, reeling off the likes of AC, Bristol, Bentley, and others—to have another new venture based in England is something they are quite used to at Zagato.
But just what are they building? Two models, that can only be bought in pairs, produced as part of the centenary celebrations of the company. Just 19 pairs will be manufactured, stylized as “1919” to signify the birth year of the Zagato company. The first car is a re-working of the existing V12 Zagato, while the second is a Speedster version. “It is a collector’s item that represents the perfect garage” Andrea explains, “There should be no need to own anything else and the owner will be able to get up in the morning, look at the weather and decide whether to take the coupe or the roadster.” So, he envisages that the lucky owners should drive these machines then, despite their value and exclusivity? “Absolutely, they are inherently drivable cars, the origin of the gran turismo machine is the car that can be driven to work all week and then turn up to the track at the weekend.”
With the involvement of R-Reforged’s engineers, the drive will undoubtedly match up to the looks, seeing as the power train’s performance is up around 80 horses on the original V12 Zagato, with aluminum air intakes and titanium pipes ensuring the soundtrack is up to snuff. And with various tweaks to track and ride height, as well as specialist wheels and minute attention to detail throughout to maximize the power delivery to the road, they will offer more than just a rarity factor. Throughout the cars, which will be hand-built over 16 weeks at R-Reforged’s new facility in Warwick, there are some 500 new components compared to the original V12 Zagato, and plenty of tweaks to the setup to bring the models up to their exacting standards. From the fully carbon fiber skins down into the revised performance package, every aesthetic and mechanical detail has been carefully considered.
As you would expect from bespoke coach builders, customers are offered the opportunity to tailor the cars to their desire, and I’m interested to know from Andrea if there is a point at which they have to step in, but he seems confident that the history and legacy of the company will ensure like minded enthusiasts will be the owners. “We have, over 100 years, built up a following of collector clients, that are in tune with our philosophy,” he says, before coming out with a wonderful analogy that only an Italian could come up with; “It is like if you have a small restaurant, that you favor for its food. You go there because you like what they do, you make your choices from the menu, but you do not feel the need to go into the kitchen and instruct the chef.”
These cars are modern classics in every sense of the term, while also proudly representing 100 years of Zagato and the company’s burgeoning partnership with the talents at R-Reforged. Hand built in England, designed in Milan, and putting out 600hp from six liters of V12 internal combustion. That’s a strong recipe.