These days, there are a bunch of street-legal cars that easily put yesterday’s race cars to shame. I love the fact that 500 horsepower is not a rare find anymore. The engineers that are wringing better performance out of production cars are doing the Lord’s work as far as I’m concerned. Big horsepower and high performance for all, I say. At some point, though, a car can’t just be all about lap times. You don’t live in a wind tunnel, and the fancy restaurant you’re going to on Saturday night isn’t on pit lane at Le Mans.
And unless you’re towing a boat, once you get to 500 hp, you’ve really got all the power a civilian could possibly need. So, now it’s time to give some more attention to aesthetics and styling. And nobody does styling like Aston Martin.
I got ahold of the new Vanquish for a few days and it’s nothing short of amazing. The interior and exterior are pure Aston Martin. Every body panel is made from carbon fiber, supposedly because the curves of the Vanquish couldn’t be stamped in aluminum. They’ve managed to hit that perfect sweet spot between looking tough while still having country club aspirations. With its 6.0L, 565 hp V12, routed through an exhaust that’s the right blend of raspy and refined, this car sounds as incredible as it looks.
I have a 2004 DB9, which I love. As great as that car is, though, some of the knobs are plastic and junky, seemingly from some old parts bin. On the Vanquish, everything on the inside is knurled aluminum and seems to be 100 percent purpose-built for this car. The designers didn’t miss a single beat.
The funny thing is that they managed to fix the few shortcomings that I felt my DB9 had. For example, I had Chip Foose extend the little chrome accent on the front fender that continues through on the door. The new Vanquish has that. I had the rear license plate lights moved so that they’re hidden and integrated into the rear decklid. Also on the Vanquish. And I thought the hood needed to be more beefy, so I had a scoop put on mine. Well, they didn’t put a scoop on the Vanquish, but the hood is definitely tougher.
Are there faster cars out there? Yes. A McLaren, for example, is state of the art. But which would you rather be seen driving through Monaco in? With all due deference to McLaren, I’ll take the Aston Martin. I can say without exaggeration that it is the most gorgeous new car on the market. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s one of the most best-looking cars of all time.
I’ve gone on a tour of the Aston Martin facility in Gayden. When you see what’s involved in building all of these cars by hand, honestly, the $300,000 sticker price seems like they’re not charging enough. When I turn on the evening news and see stories about ethnic cleansing and pedophile priests, it makes me really wonder what’s wrong with the human species. But when I think of that factory and the peak level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is put into every inch of an Aston Martin, it actually renews my faith in our society. I don’t think that’s too much to ask from a car.
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