This is the 1998 Aston Martin Project Vantage concept car and prototype, first shown at the Detroit auto show in January 1998. It is an engineering and design proof of concept used to test the water for a high tech Aston Martin for the 21st century.
Using a prototype 6 litre V12 and 6 speed semi automatic transmission, aluminium honeycomb/Kevlar chassis, bespoke suspension and interior, it is a running prototype of what eventually became the Vanquish, albeit smaller all round and much lighter.
The car was shown in the USA in 1998 at the Detroit show, Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, and then toured the dealers to a rapturous reception. It returned to the uk and was sent to Lotus who dismantled it in order to productionise it, then threw the bits back together and handed it back to AM.
I bought the car from Aston Martin after it had languished for 18 years largely forgotten in storage, with stickers on it saying do not attach a battery, do not attempt to start.
After a year, and the services of Works and
a lot of specialists, the car was brought back to 1998 Motorshow spec, a running and driving prototype once again.
An invitation to the 2017 Concourse of Elegance at Hampton Court, also became the car’s first public outing since the rebuild. It was invited to the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 2019 AMOC Spring Concours celebrating the Vanquish, and finally shipped to the USA for The Quail in Monterey In August 2019. It spent a few months on show at the AMHT barn too, following a very hot and dusty Goodwood. And it won Best of Show in this years (virtual) Belgravia concours.
The first magazine article appeared in Classic and Sportscar,(September 2017 issue) shot at Goodwood, coincidentally it’s shakedown after the rebuild. It then appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Vantage Magazine, shot at a very wet Millbrook in February 2018, with Steve Behrens Vanquish V12 UNO highlighting the differences between concept and production car. Bob Dover and Ian Callum kindly recreated the 1998 publicity photo With me standing in for Jac Nasser. Bob Dover drive it back to base quite spiritedly and wondered why Aston ever sold it.
It’s been a Labour of love but it needed saving for posterity.