Vision of an Icon
Ercole Spada's original 1960 design for a roadster version of a Zagato classic becomes reality.
Ercole Spada joined the Milanese coachbuilder Zagato in February of 1960 and set about designing Aston Martin’s DB4GT Zagato coupe. The car was introduced in October of that year at the London Motor Show, and because of its beauty and rarity, it has become the marque’s most prized model.
At the same time that he was conceiving the coupe, Spada, who was 23 at the time, made a few pencil renderings of a DB4GT roadster—or more specifically, an open racecar known in Italy as a barchetta. Today, 55 years later, a car based on that design is being built under the direction of Jonathan Ward—and Spada himself. It is called the Icon Aston Martin DB4GTZ Spada Roadster.
Ward is the founder and lead designer of Icon, a Chatsworth, Calif., company that produces, among other vehicles, concours-quality road-warrior apparatus based on the Toyota FJ40 and Ford Bronco. Ward’s operation also attracts clients who commission unique rolling stock. To one such client, an Aston Martin fan, Ward proposed a convertible version of the DB4GT Zagato; and so began a project that would exceed all expectations.
The Zagato name is connected to some of the most beautiful automobiles ever created. Founded in 1919 by Ugo Zagato, the coachbuilder has used aerodynamic theory and lightweight aluminum construction to create exquisite designs and hand-built bodies for one-offs or limited-series production models for virtually every Italian sports-car maker. Indeed, some of the most collectible Alfa Romeos, Lancias, and Maseratis are clad in Zagato’s aluminum finery.
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