The new Vantage Zagato was first shown as a design at Geneva in 1985. All 50 copies were bought on the basis of drawings and a scale model. Three prototypes appeared a year later at Geneva in 1986.
The project was reminiscent of the lightweight DB4GT Zagato, a 1960s race car that was meant to challenge Ferrari at the top level of sports car racing. Like its classic counterpart, the modern V8 Vantage Zagato was reduced in overall size and received an updated aluminum body from Italy. Much like the DB4, the chassis was shortened and the rear seats removed.
One criticism of the design was the large hood bulge which was necessary to provide clearance for the Weber carburetors.
A Volante version made its debut at the 1987 Geneva Auto Show and was offered at an even more limited run of only 25, although a total of 37 were eventually made due to high demand.
Styling changes from the coupe include flip-up front headlight covers and the removal of the hood bulge, which was not required with the less powerful engine. Not all the Volantes had the flip-up light covers however.