With scores of disappointed customers missing out on the DB7 Zagato, Aston Martin launched a Zagato-designed roadster specifically for the American market that had not officially received the DB7 Zagato. Unveiled on 2 January 2003 at the Los Angeles Motor Show, the DB American Roadster 1 (DB AR1) was, like the DB7 Zagato, also specified as a limited edition of only 99 vehicles.
It was based on a standard DB7 Vantage Volante platform; however, Zagato designed the bodywork purely as a two-seater, the rear seat area being used for additional storage. The DB AR1 was not a convertible version of the DB7 Zagato; it had a longer wheel base and was a genuine roadster, made without a roof and equipped only with rudimentary wet weather equipment.
It was a different design from the coupe, but shared some characteristics including the gaping grille and distinctive rear haunches. The roadster body was constructed from steel with front wings, sills, boot lid (with integral boot spoiler and front and rear bumpers panelled in aluminium for weight saving. Like the coupe design, the roadster featured a double contoured rear section
Dr Ulrich Bez (former CEO) explained before the car’s launch that a DB AR1 concept car was to be exhibited to US customers to judge reaction. The reaction was very positive. All 99 examples, chassis numbers 800001-800099, sold within three-week period after a tour of the United States following the Los Angeles Motor Show. Chassis number 800100 was retained by the factory. All DB AR1 were constructed and delivered to customers during 2003 and 2004. A small number were also sold in Europe to some special customers. One right-hand drive car, chassis number 800016, was constructed.
The DB AR1 had much the same specification as the DB7 Zagato including Brembo disc brakes with four-piston callipers front and rear and Vanquish-sourced brake servo, twin AP Racing clutch, quick-shift gear lever and 435 bhp V12 engine (420 bhp for the automatic version) and active sports exhaust system with rear muffler bypass valves. To produce a wider track, specially designed Yokohama shod 19-inch alloy wheels with offset were used.
The DB AR1 was intented as a runout model for the DB7 range, the final DB AR1 was begun on 19 January and left the Bloxham factory on 23 February 2004, bringing to an end both Aston Martin’s most successful car in sales terms up until that time and construction at Bloxham.
Source & copyright note: from the book ‘Power, Beauty and Soul’ written by the author David Downsey (obtained with permission). None of the text above may be used without the prior written permission of the rightful author, including copying, duplicating, printing, publishing (even on a website), reproducing, storing, or transmitting by any means what so ever.
Automatic: 420 bhp (313 kW) at 6000 rpm
Automatic: 542 Nm (400 ft·lb) (56.7 kgm) at 5000 rpm
Automatic: 165 mph (266 km/h)