This is no ordinary Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. For one thing, it’s the original Vanquish which began its series production in 2001, not the far newer DB9-based Vanquish from 2012. Secondly, it’s gotten a thorough going-over from Callum, the newly formed Warwick-based design consultancy of Ian Callum and associates.
Mr. Callum was largely responsible for the design original Vanquish during the Ford-owned days of Aston Martin, and this project, called ‘Vanquish 25 by Callum’, emerged from a long-standing desire to give the car a proper facelift, a chance he never got during his tenure.
However, now that he’s operating largely as a free agent under his own banner fresh out from under the pressures of being design chief of Jaguar Land-Rover, the 18-year itch can now be scratched. Just 25 will be made, each expected to cost £550,000, though at least it includes the cost of a V12 Vanquish.
Without question, Callum is one of the most prolific individuals in the realm of automotive design; a man largely responsible for shaping our modern day visual lexicon of high-end British cars after a long stint at Ford Europe before heading Aston Martin’s design department.
It’s arguable whether this post was where his most recognisable contributions were made as he is also credited with Jaguar’s enviable look when it was AML’s sister company under the Blue Oval. Following its later acquisition by Tata, Callum continued his work, and the thoroughly sleeker designs of the entire JLR portfolio were the result of his and his team’s sensibilities.
With the Vanquish 25, you’ll notice next to no change made to the actual body. Rather, it’s the details where the attention has been lavished. Without corporate, design, or manufacturing constraints that impeded past ambitions, the car can now, theoretically, reach the height of its potential.
To achieve this, each sourced first-gen V12 Vanquish is dissembled and fully rebuilt before they incorporate the litany of changes ranging from the barely recognisable to the unapologetically overt. Some of which we agree with, some remain questionable.
Its front fascia surrounds are now fashioned from a carbon composite material, as are the window surrounds, vents, and most of the aero bits such as the front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser. New too are the front and rear LED lights.
As described earlier, very little of the exterior has been altered save for new 20-inch wheels, custom paintwork, and ostentatious exhaust exits. More pronounced is the work done to the chassis and suspension which adds a wider front and rear track, stiffer springs and dampers, new anti-roll bars and beefier bushings. Behind those wheels (and their too-obvious Michelin tyres) are carbon ceramic brakes, naturally.
The naturally aspirated 5.9-litre V12 has also been rebuilt and has had the majority of its key internals replaced by lighter, stronger components. New camshafts, extractor and exhaust system, coupled with an ECU remap pulls about 45kW more power than before, placing output just above 400kW.
Thankfully, the engine can now be attached to a 6-speed torque converter automatic as part of the rebuild. It is an option, though, and Callum admits most buyers will choose to remain with the far less well behaved automated manual transmission.
Inside, they've has done about all they can within the limitations of the donor car. The hulking kitchen sink of a centre stack remains, but is now made of carbon fibre and fitted with a comparatively petite infotainment screen that supports Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. In its centre is a bespoke Bremont timepiece that can actually demount and, presumably, worn.
The seats and much of the interior trimmings have been reworked by British firm Mulberry with high quality leather supplied from the Weir Leather Company. Particularly difficult was incorporating the unique tartan pattern, a theme that runs throughout the Vanquish 25.
Following the resolution of this project, which expects that all cars be delivered to their new owners by the end of 2020, Callum and his associates have other plans to rework similar cars, improving them while retaining their original vision.