Project Vantage Description
Prototype build: 1997 – 1998
Chassis Number: AMVO3
Detroit 1998 gave an insight into the future course to be taken by Aston Martin when the car named 'Project Vantage' was shown at the International Auto Show.
This project was set up to explore new concepts, techniques and the use of new materials. Ian Callum, the design engineer for the DB7, while acknowledging the svelte design of the company saving car, wanted to move the public's perception of the company's products back towards the 'muscle car'. He told the Autocar magazine, "The DB7 was deliberately built to be a beautiful car, a more restrained shape than the big Astons in production. Having done that, I had to get more aggressive again with the Project, to stress out the car's extra potential without losing its Aston purity. We pulled its front wheels forward, gave the car a very high belt line an important Aston characteristic - and moved the wheels as far out in the arches as we could. I really wanted to give the feeling that it belonged to the ground, that despite its performance it was anchored there no matter what."
One of the interesting techniques was the use of aluminium extrusions, bonded and bolted together and strengthened with carbon fibre mouldings as the basic chassis platform. Another innovation was the introduction of the paddle gear change for the six speed gearbox which acted through an electro/mechanical system.
The suspension system had input from Ford's Advanced Vehicle Technology and had an active control system for the front and rear anti-roll bars. The AP braking system had 15 inch discs at the front and 14 inch units at the rear with six-pot callipers doing the arresting. This formidable system was needed to allow the driver to fully enjoy the new 6 litre all alloy V12, with two camshafts and 24 valves per bank. Power from the new engine was said to be in the region of 450 bhp with more to come should the need arise.
Design development extended to the use of an aluminium alloy sub-frame to carry the engine and suspension and the interior incorporated brushed aluminium replacing wood veneers and to fire up the engine there was a large red button set in the central console. All together an exciting concept with a suggested 200mph and 0-60mph time of 4 seconds.
Project Vantage has been retained by AML in the factory collection.