Vijay Pattni21 May 2012

Rare Aston Martin sells for £1.23m

Rather beautiful and rather rare Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato sells for record sum…

Beautiful, isn't it? Assuming you're looking at the green Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 'Sanction II' above, and not the FLASHY ADVERT for frilly underwear that seems to be all over TopGear.com today.

It's also just sold at auction for £1.23 million (the car, that is).

Not the most astronomical sum judging by recent auction history, but this is a rather interesting buy. Because despite that distinguished sounding ‘Sanction II' moniker, it is in fact, a replica. But a full, factory-approved replica.

See more pics of the rare AM DB4GT Zagato Sanction II

Of course, you'll remember that the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato was the first collaboration between AM and Zagato, built at the dawn of the 1960s, the result of which saw just 19 painfully exquisite production cars see the light of day. Stirling Moss even drove one. So did Jim Clark.

So nearly 30 years later, Aston decided to relaunch this beloved model in collaboration with Zagato, and in 1987 commissioned renown AM specialist Richard Williams to upgrade four existing DB4 rolling chassis to GT spec.

Williams duly obliged, building the cars with an uprated 4.2-litre engine (rather than the original's 3.7-litre six-pot) producing 352bhp, together with independent front suspension, discs all round, a limited slip diff and a live-rear axle.

After this, the four cars were packed off to Italy where Zagato fitted the hand-built body, returned the cars back to England and allowed Williams to finish the interiors. They were even given unused factory chassis codes reserved for the original 1960s DB4 Zagatos, and Williams reckons the new cars' provenance was such, ‘very, very few people' would be able to tell the difference.

Why the ‘Sanction II' name? Apparently, it's an early term for ‘Mark', and of course, avoids having to use the term ‘replica'. And anyway, you won't care, not with a 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds, a 0-100mph time of 12.2 seconds and a top speed of 153mph. Also, it looks fantastic.

The car that sold - chassis number 0198/R - was first owned by Tony Smith, who was a historic racer but also managed Phil Collins. It also had £12,000 worth of tuning and servicing too. Nice.

Elsewhere in the Bonham's sale, a Virage Volante drop-top once driven by the Prince of Wales sold for £122,000, while former undisputed heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis' old 1994 Aston Martin Virage sold for £18,290.

And in related news - as in, related by a stretch of the imagination - there is a very, very brief glimpse of the DB4's brother, the DB5, in the trailer for upcoming James Bond flick Skyfall, which you can see below. Tenuous? Us?

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