Aston Martin

Aston Martin Vanquish: The Last of the Hand Built Astons


The Aston Martin Vanquish was Aston’s flagship grand tourer that was first released in 2001, and it marked the end of 49 years of hand made vehicle construction at the manufacturer’s factory in Newport Pagnell. Each Vanquish took over 385 man hours to construct and it was easy to see why with the hand built aluminium bodywork and opulent interior.

Aston Martin was initially questioned about the engine. Some thought it was the product of Ford. It was felt that the company had combined two Ford Duratec three litre engines. This proved to be incorrect, although there were some parts of that engine that were used. The 5.9 litre V12 engine, 460bhp that made up the Vanquish was definitely created differently from the Duratec.

Sadly the earlier Vanquish cars were subject to further criticism that centred around both the vehicles handling dynamics and the reliability and function of the paddle shift manual gearbox. Criticism targeted the fact that the gear changes lacked the smoothness and efficiency of similar paddle shift systems from Ferrari, and that when the Car was driven hard or enthusiastically the gearbox would all too easily fail.

Aston Martin didn’t work on the gearbox problem until the Ultimate Edition Vanquish that was produced in 2007. There were a total of forty cars in this line that finally resolved the paddle shift manual gearbox issue. In fact the company was so pleased with the new conventional manual stick shift gearbox they were willing to install them into previous Vanquish models.

While the Vanquish may have had some issues in the early days it was still a very popular vehicle. The dominance of the automobile on the road showcased the familiar Aston Martin trademarks. They began with the extended bonnet, which lead the eye to the unmistakeable front grille and the xenon headlights. The wheel arches protruded boldly and the side strakes completed the Aston Martin design.

In an attempt to address some of the handling criticisms directed at the Vanquish, Aston launched the Vanquish S in 2005, with a more powerful 520bhp engine that was capable of 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 204mph.

There were other changes in the Vanquish S model. What had once been a rather expensive option now came as a standard package. The Sports Dynamic Pack gave the automobile better stability in three areas; that of handling, steering and braking.

Car companies frequently discontinue certain models and this happened to the Vanquish in 2007. In its place Aston Martin gave the automobile community the DBS model. The manufacturing of the Aston Martin is now in Gayden in Warwickshire, and in 2010 there could be a Vanquish replacement.

About the Author

Ethan Melandri

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