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Jack Hunt and the DB4 Zagato

The+%2767+Mustang+beside+Hunt+was+completely+dissembled+and+rebuilt+to+achieve+the+finished+product.+The+project+took+15+years+and+was+a+%22big+deal%22+for+Hunt%27s+team.
The '67 Mustang beside Hunt was completely dissembled and rebuilt to achieve the finished product. The project took 15 years and was a

The '67 Mustang beside Hunt was completely dissembled and rebuilt to achieve the finished product. The project took 15 years and was a "big deal" for Hunt's team.

The '67 Mustang beside Hunt was completely dissembled and rebuilt to achieve the finished product. The project took 15 years and was a "big deal" for Hunt's team.

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Our conversation was drawing to an end. I had exhausted all of my pre-written talking points and felt that he probably had something more important to do than entertain the questions of a high school student he had met just 20 minutes earlier. Before I brought the interview to a close, I had to ask the standard, obligatory car-guy question: If you could choose one dream car, what would it be? Jack Hunt paused for a moment, scanning the classic car encyclopedia that is his mind. “An Aston Martin DB4 Zagato,” he told me, and ten minutes later I knew everything he had to say about the car. To summarize, a DB4 Zagato is certainly special. Rare, fast, powerful, and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever made, this James Bond-esque whip is worthy of Hunt’s praise: “I just dig the shape.”

The DB4 Zagato, like all cars Hunt finds especially appealing, is a handmade artistic masterpiece. In a sense, it is more an extension of man than a machine because its design has such a prominent human quality to it, reflective of the designer, as opposed to the modern automobile that, according to Hunt, more resembles a “melting cube of butter” and is intended to be practical rather than aesthetically compelling.

Hunt’s fascination with the very human aspect of the DB4 Zagato accurately reflects his passion for his line of work, which is a very social, personal, and interactive one. Apparently, in order to survive in Hunt’s line of work, you have to be a people-person. Lucky for him, he thrives on this front, and loves the interactions he has with clients. This is precisely what keeps Hunt passionate and interested in his work after all these years (31 to be exact); while the current monotony of the auto industry may not be thrilling, he can at least depend on the social aspect of his work to keep him interested since client interactions come naturally and “just feel good.”

The DB4 Zagato is a highly specialized car, intended specifically for racing. As such, designer Ercole Spada took every measure to produce a car with the highest power-to-weight ratio possible (of course not at the expense of the car’s appearance). He opted for lightweight aluminum over steel, included no storage space, and omitted bumpers and other non-essential pieces all in the name of feather-light weight so that drivers could outpace their competitors on the racetrack.

Like the DB4 Zagato, Hunt and his company have found their niche within a vast industry landscape. Stores like Jack Hunt Auto are hard to come by these days, which is evident in the fact that many of Hunt’s clients are overseas; he was fresh off closing a deal on a ‘36 Chrysler with a man in New Zealand when we spoke. “There are very few people around that are doing this kind of stuff,” he told me, which is why people from all over the world seek out Jack Hunt Auto presumably just as racers sought out one of the 25 DB4 Zagatos ever made for its unique attributes.

The DB4 Zagato is a classic. Its iconic design, unveiled in 1960, helped establish some of the most central features still present in today’s Aston Martins. Tried and true, many pieces of the instantly recognizable style of the DB4 Zagato have endured years of dramatic design evolution in the auto industry.

In this respect, a fairly clear parallel between the DB4 Zagato and Hunt’s business emerges. Hunt continues to thrive in his field of choice despite a market that, more and more over time, prefers much less interesting machines built to serve one purpose: go from point A to point B. Today’s cars, Hunt said, are more like “a tool out of a toolbox” than the “personal experience” that can be found in classic cars. He wanted to make it clear to me that he did not want to appear resentful of this trend because it’s “just what it is;” he even approves of the shift toward cleaner running cars although it is often at the expense of artistic design and a more thrilling ride.

But when all’s said and done, among the rapid, profit-driven flow of the car industry, Hunt continues to work with what he knows best. He works with the same machines he has worked with for over 31 years, machines that seem to serve a higher purpose than the simple transportation today’s cars provide, machines that “fulfill something inside:” classic cars.

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