Like Marmite (the superior, British big brother to Vegemite) the styling of the new Aston Martin Vantage seems to have divided people into Love it or Hate it camps. We’re firm fans here but understand that there are some that want their Astons to be a bit more old school. Well, the limited edition Aston Martin V600 V12 Vantage not only temporarily resurrects the outgoing Vantage, it also harks back to the last of the classic British Bruiser Astons that were put out to pasture by the DB7.
The original Aston Martin V600 Vantage was not a sophisticated car despite the winged badge it wore and all the cowhide and leather adorning its interior. Put it this way, the styling buck for the Virage on which the Vantage was based was, no joke, carved out of mahogany. Which, really, is just one more reason to love Aston Martin but gives you an idea of how behind the times their engineering was before the current era.
Which leads us to the name. V600 refers to the power and torque output in good old-fashioned Imperial units; 600bhp and 600lb/ft of torque (that’s 447kW and 813Nm in modern money), which briefly made the Vantage V600 the most powerful car in the world. And how did Aston Martin achieve this astonishing figure from a low-tech V8? Simple, they perched two enormous Eaton Roots superchargers on top of the valve covers.
Of course, power is nothing without control and although 600bhp is German super saloon territory these days, mated to Aston’s chassis and suspension of the time, it was by all accounts terrifying. One contemporary road tests tell of it getting sideways over a cattle grid.
Thankfully Aston Martin is back to being an exemplar of British engineering so today’s tribute V600 is likely still a beast but a tamed one. Power is again pegged at the 600bhp level but comes from Aston’s naturally aspirated V12 breathing out through quad tailpipes and hidden under a very old-school bonnet bulge flanked by the coolest-looking vents ever.
Thankfully the rest of the car is bang up to date with front and rear double wishbone suspension, three-stage adaptive damping and a seven-speed gearbox. But, hallelujah, it’s a manual!
The Aston Martin V600 dubbed the ‘Triple V’, is apparently the result of a customer commission and limited to 14 in total – seven coupés and seven convertibles, made by the company’s wonderfully named ‘Q Branch’. Aston Martin is pretty upfront about the car, dubbing it a ‘muscle sportscar’ and the ‘ultimate analogue Vantage’. It might actually be the last car you can buy with the combination of a V12 and a manual gearbox. But if this is the last swansong for old-school Aston, then it’s a V for Victory.
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