The V8 Zagato model Aston Martin was a grand tourer of the 1980s. Just 52 examples of the coupe and 37 of the convertible were built between 1986 and 1990. The coupe was first unveiled at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show and orders were quickly taken despite only showing the drawing of the car. The decision to build the later convertible was controversial – all 52 coupes had already been purchased at the height of the supercar speculation market, and the convertibles were to remain more desirable than their predecessors.
The V8 Zagato, as the name suggests, was based on the Aston Martin V8, but with a body by the famed Zagato coachbuilder. The design was an angular modern interpretation of the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato of the 1960s. The squared-off grille was especially controversial.
The Zagato was powered by a 430 hp (321 kW) V8 engine with twin-choke Weber carburettors. The all-alloy car could hit 300 km/h (186 mph). It was a luxurious car, with a price tag of US$156,600 at the time but with the high rarity and being released at the supercar price boom of 1987 to 1990, by the end of the decade, the car was changing hands for £450,000. The later convertible sold for $171,000.
In 1998 a famous comedian, Rowan Atkinson, purchased the first right-hand drive car produced, chassis number 20013 and had it converted to Aston Martin Owners Club racing series C2 specification. Conversion was undertaken by Aston Martin Works Service and total rebuild cost was around 220,000 GBP. The famous Tadek Marek 5.3 V8 engine was reworked to produce an estimated 482 bhp (359 kW; 489 PS) carrying unique "580XR" designation. It retired racing in 2007 and Atkinson subsequently sold it at Aston Martin Bonhams auction in Newport Pagnell on 17 May 2008.