Monterey Car Week is an annual highlight for classic-car lovers. There's a huge selection of beautiful, significant cars on display, many with decades of rich history behind them. Making a modern car stand out in such illustrious company is difficult, but this year Aston Martin was up to the task. Based on the Vanquish Zagato launched at Lake Como earlier this year, the Vanquish Zagato Volante has lost its top and become even more stunning in the process.

We've said this before, but 2016 has been a bumper year at Aston Martin. After launching the new twin-turbo DB11, CEO Andy Palmer pledged his commitment to old-fashioned three-pedal fun with a dogleg-manual V12 Vantage. Let's not forget the AM-RB 001 project with Red Bull, either. Something special is cooking in Gaydon, and limited edition supermodels like the Vanquish Zagato Volante are icing on the cake.

Although it's based on the regular Vanquish, Zagato has made extensive tweaks to the bodywork and engine on the Volante. Under the long, low hood is a reworked version of the AM29 6.0-liter V12, boosted from 565 hp (421 kW) to 592 hp (441 kW) for a 3.7 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).

In a world where the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta can top the ton in 3.1 seconds, that's not earth shatteringly fast. But to get hung up on the numbers is to miss the point with a piece of rolling sculpture like this. Roof dropped and exhaust singing, few experiences in the motoring world come close to driving a beautiful GT like the Zagato.

With that in mind, lets forget about performance for a moment and enjoy the Zagato's stunning looks. The relationship between Aston Martin and Zagato stretches back to the 1960 DB4 GT Zagato, a car now worth well over £10 million (US$14.6 mill). Since then, we've been treated to tie-ups from the Anglo-Italian alliance in 1986, 2002 and 2011, each of which was blessed with jaw-dropping looks. To say this car has good genes is a wild understatement.

Thanks to body panels made of one-piece carbon fiber, there are no unsightly cutlines along the bodywork, and the rear haunches flow into a bespoke rear deck. Below that, there's a new diffuser sitting proud of the heavily sculpted bumper, and the intricate bladed rear lights draw on the Aston Martin Vulcan for inspiration. To our eyes, they look like tiny rocket boosters.

"Just like the Coupe, we have emphasized the way surfaces change and intersect to create a muscular form. We've endeavored to create an elegant, flowing shape that really works to emphasize the car's sculpted rear haunches" says Aston Martin's EVP and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman.

Inside, changes to the Vanquish are less pronounced. Although there's herringbone carbon fiber trim, anodized bronze highlights and unique seats, the basic Aston Martin architecture has remained largely unchanged.

Just 99 examples of the Vanquish Zagato Volante will be built, with deliveries set to begin in 2017. Don't expect to be able to just buy one off the showroom floor, though. Both demand and the price are expected to be high, meaning most are likely to end up in the hands of lucky collectors.

Check out the Volante in our photo gallery, which includes some pictures of its equally breathtaking coupe companion.

Source: Aston Martin

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