The Vanquish is a very interesting and important car in the history of the marque. Upon its introduction it arguably represented the largest technological leap ever for Aston Martin. It followed on from the enduring V8 powered models that had been the mainstay of AM production for 30 years. After more than 40 years of the steel platform chassis with hand beaten aluminium panels, the new Vanquish with its bonded alloy tub structure couldn’t have been more different. Also the Vanquish represented the last AM product from the iconic Tickford Works and as such enjoys the special aura that came as standard on the cars from Newport Pagnell.
The Project Vantage concept evolved from the DB7, also from the pen of Ian Callum, with an appearance of more power and aggression. Ford gave the go-ahead and the car was developed into the production Vanquish over the next three years. The V12 engine showcased in the Project Vantage saw active service first in the DB7 Vantage before it appeared in a developed form in the Vanquish.
The Vanquish was to have made its first public appearance in October 2000 at the British Motor Show but this was aborted at the 11th hour. Dr Ulrich Bez had joined AM in the summer of 2000 and put the formal launch back to March 2001 at Geneva, although some pictures and details were made available to the press in late 2000 to keep the car is the public eye.
Following a highly successful launch at Geneva, series production began in the summer of 2001. Demand was immense and at first the Newport Pagnell factory was producing cars at a rate far higher than had been seen for some decades.
However, the introduction of the DB9 with a similar V12 and a power output exceedingly close to the flagship model, the £65,000 price premium for the Vanquish became difficult to justify. Enter the Vanquish ‘S’ with 520bhp and a 200mph potential top speed. At the time of publication, it remains the most powerful version of the 5.9 litre V12 on a road going Aston. With tweaks to the aerodynamics, suspension, brakes, gearbox and steering, the S was both significantly more desirable and rarer than the standard car.
The last 50 Vanquishes were completed in a similar and sombre Ultimate Black coach work marking the end of manufacturing at the Tickford works. The final Vanquish and last ever car to be built at Newport Pagnell was finished on the 19th July 2007 and has been retained in the factory collection.