Following a decades-long hiatus, Aston Martin rekindled its partnership with Italian coachbuilder Zagato in the early 2000s as then-owner Ford Motor Company sought to reinvigorate interest in the British brand and boost sales. Using the already stunning DB7 as a starting point, Zagato had quite the challenge in creating an even more alluring limited-production grand tourer. The Italian design house did not disappoint with the resulting DB7 Zagato coupe and DB AR1 roadster now widely considered two of the most attractive Aston Martins ever made.
Although the coupes were only available in Asian and European markets, the roadster was produced specifically for the American market, hence the “AR1” designation, signifying “American Roadster 1.” First shown at the 2003 Los Angeles Auto Show, the DB AR1 remained true to the design of its coupe sibling, albeit in an exciting fully open format, namely with twin cowls behind the front seats echoing the “double bubble” roof of the coupe. The roadster body was constructed primarily from steel with select panels, primarily the bumpers and spoilers, crafted in aluminum for weight saving. Conceived with sunny climates in mind, the AR1 had no provision for a roof of any sort and was only equipped with a simple rain cover to protect the interior when parked.
The DB AR1 featured much of the same specifications at its closed Zagato sibling, including the 435-horsepower V-12 engine, an active sport exhaust with rear muffler bypass valves, twin AP Racing clutch, and Brembo four-piston disc brakes at all four corners. The active sport exhaust system provided a distinctive note, heightening the excitement of the required open-air driving. To produce a wider track, designers employed specially designed, offset 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama tires. The DB AR1 was well received by the US market with all 99 examples selling within weeks of its debut.
Presented in unique Seafoam Green over Fawn quilted leather, the rare example presented here is number 97 of 99 produced. A commemorative plaque displaying its production number is built into the rocker-panel sills. Truly breathtaking from any angle, this example shows just over 900 documented miles from new.
Standard luxurious appointments include electronically controlled sport seats, Becker AM/FM stereo system with six-disc CD changer and recently serviced air-conditioning. A copy of the car’s window sticker lists factory options of embroidered floormats, power folding mirrors, aluminum gearshift knob and switches, roadster wheels, first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.
Factory ownership, service, and warranty books, a trunk-mounted umbrella, and a copy of the window sticker are included, as is a handwritten notebook kept by the late Neil DeAtley detailing every wash and service performed during his near decade of ownership. DeAtley was a renowned collector and race team owner whose Trans Am team achieved championship status in the 1980s.
A truly rare find melding the best British pedigree with stunning Italian design, this DB AR1 Zagato presents an exciting opportunity for the Aston Martin enthusiasts to own among the most desirable models of the era from the British marque.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, kicking off the 2023 collector car auction calendar 26 January. View more and register to bid online at rmsothebys.com today.