Ian Callum’s DB7 design gave Aston Martin a volume-seller in 1994, and by the time the model spent almost a decade on the market, the company decided to shake things up by launching a 99-unit series of Zagato specials. These steel-bodied 2003–04 V12s remained the last Aston Martin Zagato coupés until 2011’s run of V12 Zagatos. However, when it came to American customers, Aston Martin ran into a problem with its Zagato specials.
The DB7 Zagatos may have reminded British, fellow European, and Southeast Asian collectors of the DB4 GT Zagatos of 1961—yet due to homologation problems triggered by their tuned 440-hp engines, Aston Martin could never offer these manual coupés in North America. That’s why the DB AR1 series came to be.
Similarly limited to 99 units but based on the standard DB7 Volante chassis, the DB “American Roadster 1” got the stock 420-hp, 6.0-liter V-12 connected to the Touchtronic automated manual transmission; essentially, it was a U.S.-only Zagato with no roof apart from a tonneau cover.
Currently for sale in the UK, this particular Islay Blue metallic car is the 31st of the 99 made and was originally delivered to a Mr. Dane Miller of Florida. DB AR1 s/n 31 was shipped back closer to where it was made in 2016, but the joke is on them if you buy it and drive it straight onto a boat to America. Yet whether it was in sunny Florida or rainy England, this AR1 spent most of its last 17 years stationary under a roof, since it’s now being offered with just 1392 original miles.
A rare opportunity to grab a limited edition in a great color combination, this AR1 is also an alternative to Aston Martin’s recently licensed and much more expensive Zagato derivatives. Vendor Historics Auctioneers’ starting bid stands at a little over $300,000. That’s a whole lot for an Aston Martin DB7, but perhaps it’s more reasonable for a roofless Zagato your friends at the club can’t claim to have.