2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

by | Dec 18, 2019

Photo Credit: Brian Henniker

2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

by | Dec 18, 2019

Photo Credit: Brian Henniker






Aston Martin




Gooding & Company


January 17 - 18, 2020

Aston Martin and Zagato have a productive relationship that stretches back to the 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. Their heritage is widely recognized, and a 1962 model was a nominee for Best of Show at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The two companies renewed their production relationship in 2003 with the special edition DB AR1 roadster. The car had been shown to potential owners at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the response was so positive the DB AR1 was put into production. Only 99 were created, and given what the initials stand for — American Roadster One — you can guess what the potential market and inspiration were.

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Zagato quickly followed the roadster direction by making this a decidedly two-person cockpit with no top available. The interior included quilted leather seats, and coordinating material was used on multiple surfaces. The interior aesthetic is cozy. You may feel nostalgic when you see the Becker stereo sound system, which features a six-CD changer.

Aston Martin based the roadster on its DB7 Vantage. The 6.0-liter fuel-injected 48-valve V-12 engine was bumped some 20 horsepower to 435, with torque up to 410 lb-ft. By way of its six-speed manual gearbox with a revised quick-shift linkage, the roadster can get to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds — impressive in the day. Keep going, and the DB7 Vantage will top out at 185 mph. The V-12 engine is also a visual attention-grabber and well worth a look beneath that bonnet.

Under all this is the DB-7 chassis with its double-wishbone, coil-spring independent suspensions front and rear. Steering is by rack and pinion, while Aston Martin used racing-style grooved Brembo disc brakes with 4-pot calipers at all corners. These are inside the 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, fitted with Yokohama tires.  

This car is a multi-functional vehicle. It is just as adept at high-speed cruising as it is curving down a backcountry road. Or, given its Zagato-sculpted body, you may want to stand back and admire it.

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