A MYSTERY millionaire has snapped up a £1.8m reproduction of the iconic Italian Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato supercar, built in County Durham.

More than 6,000 man hours over two years went into handcrafting the bespoke recreation at the Aston Workshop at Red Row, near Beamish.

In trademark Zagato green it has a 4.2 litre engine, top speed of 153mph and a leather, Wilton carpet and wood interior and was based on a donor DB4 first owned by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan of Persia.

The reproduction of a sporty classic once championed by motor racing legends Sir Stirling Moss and Jim Clark, and synonymous with Swinging 60s, will next week travel to its new owner in Switzerland.

Somerset County Gazette:

A collaboration between Italian coachbuilder Zagato and luxury British car brand Aston Martin, only 19 prototype DB4 GTs were made in the early 1960s. And the Aston Workshop’s custom built recreation is just as rare, with just one built every three years.

David Cummings, Aston Workshop’s consultant management coordinator, said: “Basically, we only build one of these cars every three years, so whilst ours are recreations of the original, they are as rare and sought after as a 1960s Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato.

“Those cars were based around an Aston Martin DB4, and we do the same. We get a donor DB4, giving our recreations real authenticity. We then handcraft and remake everything in our workshop to the original specifications, hence the two year build time.

“The accuracy of our recreation when compared to the original is second to none. It is why we have developed a global reputation for our restoration and custom build services and why we have clients who seek us out from across the world.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Whilst the buyer of this latest bespoke Aston Martin Zagato wishes to remain anonymous, the original owner of the DB4 donor car is no secret.

Mr Cummings said: “It has been built using an Aston Martin DB4 Saloon registered in Paris in 1959 and whose first owner was the fabulously wealthy HH Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan of Persia. So you can say the car has a serious, heavyweight provenance.”

An original Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato cost £5,470 – the equivalent of around £105,000 in today’s money. But whilst Aston Martin and Zagato are still continuing their 60 year collaboration with new limited edition marques, the prototypes rarely come on to the market.

Mr Cummings added: “When you consider that only 19 of the Zagato built cars ever left Italy, then you can understand why so few are ever offered for sale. Like ours, the originals were handmade and, as such, there were variations in the styling.

“Here at Aston Workshop we are familiar with the nuances and have chosen a balanced design using the best features from those 19 originals. What you get is an awe-inspiring car that pays homage to the original but which has been elevated in very subtle ways to meet current needs.”

The DB4 GT Zagato was originally built to take on Ferrari on the racetrack. But despite its stunningly sinuous shell, it continued to be outclassed by Ferrari. Its lack of racing success didn’t stop the now legendary DB4 GT Zagato with its stunningly elegant aerodynamic design and ultra-high performance, capturing the public’s imagination.

It is now one of the two most valuable and collectable cars in Aston Martin’s history, and its dynamic and fluid shape has continued to influence the company’s car designs to this day.

The Aston Workshop has been helping car enthusiasts with deep pockets to live their classic Aston Martin dream for the past 25 years. Set up by North East businessman Bob Fountain, the workshop makes bespoke versions of all Aston Martin’s classic and iconic DB cars as well as the V8.

The company – which services and repairs any model of modern Aston Martin car - also has a restoration division, and is currently working on a 1930s Aston Martin Lagonda alongside a pre-war Rolls Royce and a Bentley.

Mr Cummings describes the DB4 GT Zagato as being at the heart of the firm’s work. “It is definitely one of the things we are most proud of. It’s not just the value of the end car, it’s also about the beauty, the craftsmanship, the authenticity and the exclusivity of it.

“After two years, it will be sad to see it go, but at the same time it will free space up for the next project. Because we use a DB4 donor it means each car has a history all of its own. And what can be more unique than sitting behind the wheel of a car once driven by one of the world’s richest royals and that may well have conveyed kings, queens and world leaders.”