A tuning firm aligned with Aston Martin has unveiled its vision of the 2001 Vanquish, only re-engineered and brought up to 2019 performance standards.
The Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by Callum is a new, improved version of what is unquestionably Aston Martin’s prettiest car of the 21st century. The project is the fruit of a collaboration between Sir Ian Callum, who actually designed the original himself, and Swiss tuning house R-Reforged, sister company to R-Motorsport, which runs Aston Martins in the DTM race series.
You’re effectively looking at a heavily vajazzled update of the peerlessly classy original. Featuring the likes of orange exhaust tips bearing ‘made you look’ lettering underneath, new and aerodynamically optimised carbon front and rear bumpers, a full blue leather interior bearing a reimagined ‘tartan-inspired’ design and a matching Mulberry luggage set in place of the 2001 rear seat option.
Presumably you don’t have to have the daft ‘order out of chaos’ script on the sills, which is to us the equivalent of sticking glittery ‘live, laugh, love’ graphics on your living room wall.
New carbon induction and exhaust systems join a light remap to extract another 60bhp out of the famously tuneful 5.9-litre V12. There’s also ‘carbon and leather engine dressing’ if that sort of thing floats your boat, and R-Reforged can also replace the utterly hateful automated manual transmission with a much more fitting six-speed torque converter automatic.
The 200mph coupe’s much-maligned brakes have been upgraded with genuine Aston Martin carbon ceramic items, while race-spec hub bearings have corrected the terrible pedal feel of the originals. Basically, everything that was a bit iffy about a car that everyone so wanted to love at the time but couldn’t, has been fixed.
Owners of the original can have their car upgraded or anyone can choose to have a car sourced for conversion. Just 25 will be put together with a starting price for the work of £550,000 plus taxes, although that does include the sourcing of the vehicle itself.
The exact style of the upgrades can be customised according to customer preference. If you don’t like the blue leather, choose something else. Not sure about the tacky graphics on the tyres? Leave them off.
At least the rubber itself is custom Michelin Pilot Sport stuff, selected after much cocking about at the French firm’s Ladoux test facility, working on compounds, sizes and setup. The tyres have, says R-Reforged, improved everything from grip to steering accuracy and noise levels, helping the car to feel lighter and more alive than the original.
As for the suspension, the goal was a supple and comfortable ride that retained agility without being harsh. The anti-roll bars have been stiffened, the dampers have been tuned, the springs are custom-built for this car and the ride over the 20-inch forged alloys is 10mm lower. It may at last finally drive as beautifully as it looks.