Celebrating 20 years of the V12 vanquish – A modern classic
The highly desirable Aston Martin V12 Vanquish celebrated its twentieth anniversary in October 2021. This cutting-edge model was, at the time, the most advanced yet to wear an Aston Martin badge. Drive-by-wire throttle and F1-inspired paddle shift gearbox are among the technologies debuted on the now hugely collectable V12 Vanquish.
When presented for the first time in 2001, it was lauded for its sublime design, exceptional power and brutish performance, it instantly became Aston Martin’s flagship model.
Today, Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works said: ‘The original V12 Vanquish represented an important and timely development for our marque. It was, and is, a great super GT with all the character, style and power that is rightly expected of an Aston Martin sports car. Twenty years on from that debut, the V12 Vanquish remains a proud part of the marque’s heritage which we celebrate here at Newport Pagnell. It is an exceptional piece of our history, and a car that we can rightly look back on with considerable pride.’
V12 Vanquish design and body engineering
Elegant, classic body design for the two-door sports car, which was offered in 2+0 or 2+2 configurations, was shaped to reflect the pedigree, heritage and tradition of Aston Martin. It was seen as both bold and dynamic, with finely detailed features for the interior and the exterior.
Carefully considered design elements were incorporated to provide graphic evidence of the marque’s painstaking craftsmanship and quality.
Key features include a distinctive radiator grille and lower air intake, both hallmarks of the brand’s design language at the time, flanked by equally bold and distinctive auxiliary driving lamps and front direction turn indicators. The front wings and bonnet panels incorporate a series of finely detailed compound curves which sweep back to the steeply raked windscreen pillars and low curving roof line.
Deeply sculptured sill and door panels added visual appeal, while the prominent rear wheel arches with the short tail section and rear spoiler incorporated in the boot lid complement the classic overall proportions of the V12 Vanquish.
In all, it took eight full weeks to build each V12 Vanquish, and initially they set out to create around 300 of the cars each year. As demand soared, however, and waiting lists ran into years, that build figure grew closer to 500 cars per year. In total 2,589 V12 Vanquish, of all versions, were constructed during the six years that the car was in production.
V12 Vanquish S – Aston Martin’s fastest production sports car yet
At the time the fastest production model yet built by Aston Martin, the V12 Vanquish S made its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in September, 2004.
With a maximum speed in excess of 200 mph (321 km/h) and a 6.0‑litre V12 engine now developing 520 horsepower, the V12 Vanquish S was designed to deliver even greater performance, complemented by subtle suspension and steering changes and a number of interior and external style revisions.
At its launch the then Aston Martin Chairman and CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, said, simply, of the more muscular V12 Vanquish S: “It is the ultimate high-performance Aston Martin”.
The V12 Vanquish S received subtle but effective changes to complement its elegant muscular body. The famous Aston Martin grille gained a rounded and more open appearance for better cooling, with an aerodynamic splitter to improve high-speed stability. At the rear, the boot lid was redesigned to improve aerodynamics, reducing lift and improving balance and stability while also incorporating a high mounted stop lamp. These changes helped the V12 Vanquish S to achieve an impressive Cd figure of 0.32.
Further development of Aston Martin’s all alloy, quad-overhead camshaft, 48 valve, 6.0‑litre V12 engine generated a healthy increase in power from 460 bhp to 520 bhp (388kW) @ 7000 rpm and torque was boosted to 425 lb ft (577 Nm) @ 5800rpm.
V12 Vanquish S Ultimate marked the end of an era
In February 2007, Aston Martin announced what was – until the development of the marque’s successful and much imitated Continuation programme in 2017 – the end of new car production at Newport Pagnell.
This emotional ‘moment in time’ was celebrated through the creation of a strictly limited number of V12 Vanquish S Ultimate Edition sports cars.
Each of the forty cars was made available by special request to customers wishing to celebrate the last iteration of a clearly highly significant car in Aston Martin’s history.
A specific colour and trim combination marked out these hugely desirable cars. The coachwork was painted a unique metallic shade called ‘Ultimate Black’ while, inside, the cars were all trimmed in a semi-aniline leather with coarse stitching, leather headlining and black chrome finish interior fittings. Each car was also fitted with personalised sill plaques denoting its limited-edition number.
Paul Spires, added: “Here at Newport we rightly celebrate the heritage of this great British sports car marque, with particular emphasis on icons such as the DB5 which were almost all built in this seemingly sometimes sleepy corner of Buckinghamshire. However, to also be able to lay claim to a ‘modern classic’ such as the original V12 Vanquish is a great honour for us, and I’m sure that in time people will come to view these cars with the same reverence that is afforded to the early DB cars.’