The press release about the Project Vantage in 1998 contains a funny statement from then Aston Martin CEO Bob Dover. “We have no plans to put this technologically advanced grand tourer into production, but it has been designed to be hand-built for individual buyers, using the traditional craftsmanship that Aston Martin is so famous for.”
However, the response to the prototype was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic that the British carmaker decided to start series production. The final Aston Martin Vanquish looked amazingly similar to the Project Vantage. It differs only in detail: with a slightly different styled rear (exhausts, taillights), modified mirrors and larger front fog lamps. The interior of the Vanquish bears little resemblance to that of the Project Vantage.
Developed in conjunction with Ford Advanced Vehicle Technology, the study was powered by a new 450 hp 6.0-litre V12 (two Ford V6s together). Aston Martin exaggerated the performance figures quite a bit, because a sprint time of 4.0 seconds to 100 km/h even reached the later Vanquish S (2004 – 2007). Like the latter, the Project Vantage had a controversial transmission: a slow robotic manual gearbox with paddles behind the wheel.
Aston Martin had the Project Vantage auctioned by Bonhams in 2016. The fully working prototype had been largely neglected and could only be driven at walking pace. It is now for sale at Classicmobilia in Milton Keynes, England. We do not know whether it has been restored in the meantime, but the asking price is certainly not tender. Classicmobilia reportedly wants £1.25 million for the Project Vantage. In other words, almost 1.5 million euros.
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