Yet another world auction record fell during the week when a 1991 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Sanction II Coupé was sold by Bonhams for GBP1.23 million (US$1.93). One of just four cars built 30 years after the first batch, the car was previously owned by singer Phil Collins' manager Tony Smith and had just 4,748 miles on the odometer.
The word "Sanction" is a throwback to early automotive history and has a slightly different meaning to the term "Mark" which has come into popular usage. "Mark II" would mean the second, improved, version of a model.
The term "Sanction II" does not necessarily indicate improved, just that a second batch had been sanctioned by the factory. It's not surprising that the term would fall from fashion, as such circumstances rarely occur these days.
In this particular instance, the DB4GT Zagato Sanction II Coupé was considerably improved over the initial version, though very belatedly.
The original collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato of Milan resulted in a production run of only 19 DB4GT Zagatos constructed between 1961 and 1963, although the factory had set aside 23 chassis numbers. An indication of the affection felt for these beautiful cars is that all 19 are still in existence, fifty years later.
Another indication of the retrospective appreciation of the model which was obviously not felt by the public at the time of the first release, is that the Aston Martin factory would produce the final four cars some three decades later.
"The quality and authenticity are outstanding and each of these four cars will bear the most detailed comparison with the first 19 built", said Aston Martin's joint chairmen at the time, Victor Gauntlett. In a statement at the time, Gauntlett said, "It is also important that Zagato have wholeheartedly approved the project. It was inevitable that all of us involved would, and indeed should, agonize over the decision to launch this project since the very word 'replica' has been degraded in recent years."
The four cars built in 1991 all sold for more than a million pounds. The original coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Zagato of Milan built and fitted the bodies, while the chassis and engine package was uprated to DB4GT specification by Aston Martin specialist Richard Williams.
The Sanction II cars included an engine built to 4.2-liter specification (the originals used 3.7-liter units); four-speed David Brown gearbox; limited-slip differential with 3.07:1 final drive ratio; all-disc, dual circuit braking; wishbone independent front suspension with co-axial spring/damper units and anti-roll bar; live rear axle with coil springs and double-acting telescopic dampers, located by parallel trailing links and a Watts linkage; rack-and-pinion steering; and a 35-gallon (159-liter) fuel tank.
With 352 bhp on tap (some 50 horsepower more than the 3.7-litre DB4GT) the Sanction II had a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds, topping 100 mph in 12.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 153 mph.