Super Luxury Cars

This handsome green bean-colored Aston Martin V12 Zagato hides a secret

This Aston Martin hides a secret beneath its paint job that you'd only know about if you really know the company's history.

Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic
Bell Sport and Classic has been at it again. Last time AutomotiveMap told you about a Lamborghini LM002 they restored. Now it's an Aston Martin V12 Zagato, but that's not the full story.

The V12 Zagato is a one-of-a-kind. Under its green bean-colored paint job is a fully aluminum-bodied model. The cars traditionally were made from a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber.

But wait, there's more.

Aston Martin V12 Zagato

Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

It's also one of just two pre-production versions that were built to tour the world sitting at exclusive events, being drooled over by guests sipping champagne and planning to write checks for their own version.

The car was owned by Aston Martin until 2016 when it was slated to go to Zagato to be part of the design houses's display collection. However, an Aston Martin client stepped up and made the company any offer they couldn't refuse.

Before the owner took delivery, the car was give a full recommissioning.

The right-hand drive model was originally painted Titanium Grey. It was refinished in Aston Martin Racing Green and had its interior re-trimmed by hand. The upholstery features the quilted Zagato motif, which continues onto the door cars and a matching leather bag set.

Engineers gave the 5.9-liter V12 engine a thorough tune up, which may (wink, wink) have included them adjusting the engine to allow for more than its standard allotted 510 bhp.

Lift up the hood and you'll find a plaque that denotes the car's pre-production status.

None of the classic design elements were modified. It continues to wear its double-bubble roof and feature short body overhands.

Bell Sport and Classic is now selling the model. The price remains unlisted.

"We are very pleased to offer for sale this truly unique Aston Martin V12 Zagato," said Tim Kearns, Managing Director, Bell Sport and Classic. "All of the cars in the limited run of 64 are, of course, very special indeed but this outstanding example is one of only two pre-production cars and the only fully aluminium-bodied model ever made. It has been treated to a meticulous recommissioning by Aston Martin itself and would be a wonderful addition to any collection."

The model is sold with a good detailing its recommissioning.

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This 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5 is one of one.

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Three vintage Aston Martins will be part of the first Silverstone Auctions sale of the year on March 5-6, 2021. The three models represent some of the rarest Astons in the world. Let's take a closer look.

1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5

This car (seen above at the top of the page) is one of just 50 Series 5 DB4 saloons built prior to the arrival of the DB5, and it was one of the last ones off the line. The left-hand drive car retains its original engine and gearbox, and is finished in its original specification of Aegean Blue over White Gold.

The car is well-traveled. It was originally delivered new to California and comes to its new owner with an Aston Martin Assured Provenance document.

If it looks familiar, Bond fans, that's because it was a DB4 Series 5 Vantage that was used in filming "Goldfinger".

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Vantage

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Vantage

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

This is one of only 71 DB6 Mk2s that was equipped with the Vantage engine straight from the factory when new. Making it more rare is the fact that it is a right-hand drive saloon with a factory fitted manual gearbox. Those factors make it a one of one.

This chassis has been presented in multiple concours, had several successes with the Aston Martin Owners Club, and has undergone a significant engine overhaul by Aston Martin Works. It's finished in British Racing Green.

1969 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2

1969 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Lots of special attention courtesy of Aston Martin Works has made this 1969 DB6 a model worth taking a second look at for enthusiasts looking to invest. A history file of the car detailing all the work done includes notes regarding a full interior retrim, which was conducted at the same factory where the car was originally built.

The model was originally delivered new to Halesowen in October 1969. The car's original Celeste Blue metallic paint job was accompanied by a dark blue Connolly hide interior (bodywork is now finished in dark blue). It was supplied with the optional two front seat belts when new.

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The Mercedes-Benz GLA was redesigned for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLA was completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, taking it from a mundane tuna can-like hatchback to a zippy, more traditional small SUV. Everything about it fits into the modern Mercedes SUV lineup. It's a mini Merc. It's formulaic and perfectly fine but it's just not that nice compared to what else you can get for around $40,000 (starting price is just over $36,000)

Mercedes sells the GLA in three variants with another on the way. There's the traditional GLA 250 and GLA 250 4MATIC, and the AMG GLA 35. A more high-performance version of the model, the AMG GLA 45 is coming soon. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on most models. A variety of drive modes allow the driver to choose how much torque they want to allocate to what wheels and additional setup options for suspension and dynamics are available on pricier GLAs.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 The car's infotainment and driver information screens are housed together as one unit.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250

As tested, the GLA 250 was powered by the standard 2.0-liter turbo-four that is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. It delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV had trouble off the line during daily driving. The GLA's turbo lag added together with low-end gearing confusion to make the mundane drive from stop sign to stop sign in a neighborhood a comfortable creep followed by a robust burst of energy. Once out of the neighborhood and up to full speed on the highway, the powertrain performed far better, however, there was nothing elegant about it.

The model's steering is numb, which is typical for its class. It's steering circle isn't as tight as is optimal.

Any promise of a tranquil ride that you would think would be relatively standard with a Mercedes is not something the GLA possesses. However, for as much road noise that permeates the cabin, it's still less than the awful rattling the previous generation GLA allowed in. For that we can all be thankful.

The added height of the GLA gives the vehicle a more SUV-like seating position than its crossover predecessor. Ingress and egress is easy, as it should be with a model of these proportions. Head- and legroom for front passengers is fantastic for a vehicle of the GLA's size.

Seats in the GLA are not uncomfortable, and certainly not the worst that Mercedes offers.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes wins points for the GLA's tech, which is easy to use, responsive, and pleasing to the eye. The GLA comes standard with the Mercedes-Benz two screens, in one large housing. Its Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) operating system runs two 7.0-inch screens. The centrally located screen, which controls the infotainment system, reacts to touch and can also be operated by a touchpad controller on the center console. The list of standard equipment also includes four USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Buyers can upgrade their model to include a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, 12-speaker Burmester audio system, wireless device charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, head-up display, and navigation.

Mercedes gives every GLA a reasonable amount of active safety features. The list includes a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, vehicle exit warning, automatic emergency braking, driver drowsiness monitoring, and crosswind assist. To get the most desirable safety features, GLA buyers need to add on two packages, which drive up the price $2,800.

The SUV has ample space in the second row for adults.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The GLA's interior materials, cabin noise, and unrefined powertrain make it seem like a less-than premium SUV. The car's tech offerings give it a boost, but other models offer a longer list of standard and available safety technology.

Buyers who are savvy and looking to get the most bang for their buck will want to test drive similarly sized models like the 2020 Buick Encore GX, Jaguar E-Pace (it was refreshed for the 2021 model year with major changes), and Mazda CX-30 before committing to the GLA. They have interiors that are just as nice and offer price tags that are more wallet-friendly.

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