This is believed to be both the fastest and most powerful example of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato in the world. This is thanks to the fact that after Rowan Atkinson of Mr Bean fame bought it secondhand in 1998 he sent it off to Aston Martin Works to have it converted into a race car to compete in the AMOC C2 Class “Mildly Modified” category.
Outside of the car community it isn’t widely known that Rowan Atkinson is an accomplished race car driver with decades of experience under his belt. Perhaps the only hint of it has been his exploits at the wheel of his Mini in the Mr Bean series, often engaged in a one-sided battle with a hapless Reliant Regal.
Fast Facts – Rowan Atkinson’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage
- Rowan Atkinson is best known for his Mr Bean character to the wider global audience, however British fans might know him best from his live stand-up comedy act or the Black Adder TV series that ran before the Mr Bean character became a global juggernaut.
- Atkinson has been an avid and widely respected race car driver for decades, piloting everything from a vintage Ford Falcon to the highly-modified V8 Vantage Zagato shown here.
- This car was bought by him in 1998, he immediately sent it off to Aston Martin Works to have it modified for racing. It’s now believed to be the fastest and most powerful example of this rare Aston in the world.
- The car was campaigned by Atkinson for a decade before it was sold. It’s now had some creature comforts re-added including a full interior and air-conditioning, but it retains its fire-breathing V8 engine.
Mr Bean’s Race Car
The fact that Rowan Atkinson once crashed a multi-million dollar McLaren F1 supercar and then had it rebuilt by McLaren with no expense spared is the stuff of automotive legend. Atkinson is a life-long car guy but he lives such a discreet personal life that many are unaware of it.
Above Video: Rowan Atkinson is a highly-regarded racing driver in his own right, in this episode of Top Gear he set the fastest lap on the board driving the “Reasonably Priced Car.”
Over the years he’s owned a stable of remarkable cars, including both road-legal vehicles and out-and-out race cars like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato you see here.
Atkinson’s most famous appearances behind the wheel are in the Mr Bean series of course, but he’s also made appearances on the British TV series Top Gear in which he took the “Reasonably Priced Car” out around the Top Gear test track for a timed lap.
His lap on the show 10 years ago set the fastest lap time on the board – an indication of his driving ability.
The “Atkinson” Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato
When Rowan Atkinson bought this V8 Vantage Zagato it was a 10 year old used car. Albeit an exceedingly rare 10 year old used car with a six figure price tag. For reasons that aren’t publicly known, Atkinson decided to turn it into a proper, professional-grade race car.
The original luxurious interior was stripped out to save weight, the engine, brakes, and suspension were all rebuilt, many body panels were swapped out for lightweight replacements, and the glass side windows were replaced with perspex to further save weight.
The completed car tipped the scales at 253 lbs (115 kilograms) lighter than stock, and it was considerably more powerful thanks to an engine rebuilt by Aston Martin Works to ‘Nimrod X/R’ specification that included Weber Alpha fuel injection.
This same engine is still in the car, it produces 482 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 412 lb ft of torque at 5,500 rpm whilst retaining its original 5,340cc swept capacity.
Atkinson raced the car for 10 years before selling it onward, the next owner opted to refit the interior and air conditioning to make it suitable for fast road use – but it still has the roll cage, high-performance brakes, suspension, and of course that Nimrod X/R-spec V8.
The car is now for sale courtesy of Dylan Miles, there’s no price listed however as the old saying goes, “if you have to ask….”
Click here to visit the listing if you’d like to read more or contact Dylan Miles with an enquiry about purchasing.
Images courtesy of Dylan Miles + BBC Top Gear
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
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