Founded in 1919, Zagato are still sculpting beautiful autos today (Bentley GTZ, which I hope to see at the Geneva International Motor in a few weeks). But their most beautiful machines, in my opinion, came out in the ’50s and ’60s.

The Aston Martin DB4 is a classy machine – the precursor to the famous Bond-driven DB5. The DB4 GT is tweaked a little; it’s lighter, shorter and faster.

But the DB4GT Zagato was something else altogether. Back in the good old days, it was not at all uncommon for car manufacturers to build up a chassises and running gear and pass the bare car on to a coachbuilder to get a body.
Zagato, Frua, Pininfarina (of Ferrari fame), Ghia, Park Ward, Bertone are some names you may have come across. Of course cars are built quite differently now; very few manufacturers require the services of a coachbuilder today.

So Zagato tweaked the chassis, made up the most beautiful and incredibly lightweight body, and squeezed even more power from the engine to produce the DB4GTZ. If you can find one of these incredible cars for sale, be prepared to fork out upwards of £3,500,000.

But that’s not the end of the story:

In 1991, 4 unutilised chassis numbers were put to use. With the approval of Aston Martin, four DB4 chassis were appropriately uprated to GT specifications. The chassis were then sent to Zagato’s Milan workshop to be bodied. To familiarize the workforce with construction techniques of the 60′s, an original DB4 GT Zagato was sent along to be dismantled. These cars were known as the Sanction II cars. They were outwardly identical, but several changes were effected in the interest of better handling. Each of these cars sold for over $1,000,000.
- Wikipedia

So while I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a plain old DB4GTZ (or a bog-standard DB4, for that matter), the Sanction II would be my pick.