Spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a slice of classic automotive exotica and you can be sure of many things: rarity, raw simplicity and individuality. Unfortunately for many, lying on the hard shoulder of the M25, spanner in driving-glove-clad hand, is another unavoidable ingredient.
But before you resign yourself to a life of brand-new Ferraris and Porsches, a dinky workshop five minutes from Hertford town centre believes it may have the solution. This is the agonisingly beautiful Evanta Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, which cleverly blends the best of old and new - and Pocket-lint was the first to see it.
The swoopy Zagato shape - around the same length as a VW Golf - draws your eyes along its impeccable proportions, lithely rendering most modern supercars dumpy and over fussy. But underneath, all the important bits are sourced from an immaculate 2001 DB7 Vantage.
This means that while you enjoy the classic styling of the £5m original you also benefit from a modern fuel-injected, ECU driven V12 - with less than 40,000 miles under its belt - ABS, traction control, tiptronic gearbox, air conditioning, six CD Sony multi changer and air bags. A full race roll cage is hidden within the impeccable interior, which is finished in luxurious Oxblood red leather.
Ex-armed policeman Ant Anstead, who cut his teeth building kit cars to make money for holidays, set up Evanta three years ago. "I got tired of getting stabbed," he tells us, "so I decided to do something different." Previously Anstead had created a one-off DB4 Zagato using a 1958 straight-six from a DBS and a hand-built chassis, but he felt there was a gap in the market for something with a modern twist.
The original 3.7-litre straight-six DB4 Zagatos were based on a DB4 GT and designed by Ercole Spada. They were lightened and honed by the Zagato factory in Italy before the car was unveiled in October 1960 at the London Motor Show. The sticker price was £5,470, or twice the cost of an average UK house.
"Aston only made 19 because they weren’t that popular and they were too expensive. As time has gone on the car has become more and more iconic and is now regarded as perhaps the best -looking GT car of all time," says Anstead. "It is Zagato’s finest creation."
If you are a fan of the DB7 look away now - the donor car has the bodywork removed before the wheelbase is sliced from 259cm to the correct Zagato 236cm. The one-piece Zagato body shell is hand formed from glass fibre with lightweight carbon fibre and Kevlar weave bonnet. Additional structural support is added to the DB7 chassis to further improve the handling. The car sits on bespoke AVO shocks and the brakes have been upgraded all round.
"The DB7 is a modern day supercar so all the benefits of modern day driving are harnessed in our car but on top of that we lose a lot of weight," he explains. The car is yet to be tested, but it has shed 500kg from the original 1622kg, which means the original 4.9sec 0-60mph time should be slashed dramatically.
The body is finished in correct Aston Martin Solent silver paint, which has a delicate hint of blue. Wheels are 16-inch dished wires with appropriate race tyres, the rear bodywork flared to accommodate the wider track of the DB7. Other neat touches are an off-the-peg central locking system converted to open the doors remotely, banishing the need for handles, and side repeaters nestled inside the wing vents.
"We wanted to make sure people could differentiate between old and new by putting modern details on the exterior – these things tick the boxes of automotive geeks," says Anstead.
Inside the dashboard is bespoke for this car, featuring a tiny Aston badge, and modern instruments sit inside a period cowling. The only let-down is the DB7 steering wheel that houses the tiptronic buttons.
But if you are starting to think chopping up DB7s - arguably future classics themselves - is sacrilegious then that is nothing compared to what Evanta is prepared to do. What if someone wanted their brand new £175,000 DBS chopped up and turned into a Fifties Zagato, we ask. "Absolutely, if the customer wants it - the sky’s the limit," says Anstead. "That’s what we are here for."
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