When Aston Martin's Project Vantage Concept debut at the Detroit Auto Show back in 1998, it seemed a wildly different animal than the Astons that had come before. Landing somewhere between the smooth-skinned DB7 and the blocky Virage in looks, it was aggressive, modern — and sexy as hell. Any fears that the style would be left behind for production were proven unwarranted; the production car looked every bit as cool as the concept, whether tooling down Rodeo Drive or firing missiles at an ice palace in a Bond film.
By 2020 standards, though, the original Vanquish is more than a bit outdated. Aston Martin's Ford-owned era was hardly a high-water mark for fit and finish, especially when it came to interior trim. And the automated six-speed manual gearbox was a far cry from the refined dual-clutch shifters found in modern-day exotics.
For most cars, people would simply make like Elsa and let it go. But former Aston Martin and Jaguar designer Ian Callum isn't like most people — and he has enough of a pool of interested buyers to warrant taking a crack at redoing his 20-year-old supercar for a whole new decade.
The resulting car is formally known as the Aston Martin CALLUM Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged, although most of us (including builder R-Reforged, which specializes in high-end limited-edition vehicles) will simply refer to it as the Vanquish25. To improve handling, the Vanquish25 cars have been lowered by 0.4 inches, run with a track that's up to 2.4 inches wider, pack new bushings and stiffer anti-roll bars, and use new Michelin Pilot Sport tires designed to serve up plenty of grip without being quite as firm-riding as many modern sports cars and gran turismos. Power from the 5.9-liter V12 is up to 580 horsepower, with buyers able to choose between the original semi-automatic gearbox, a six-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed stick.
Outside, the changes are subtle: a slight reshaping of the front fascia, a revised hood, and so forth. The bigger alterations lie in the cabin, where Callum & co. have thoroughly refreshed the look for the third decade of the 21st Century. Bridge of Weir leather abounds, with an available tartan pattern that's reportedly set to become a hallmark of Ian Callum's reimagined vehicles. Carbon fiber trim stretches across much of the rest of the insides, including the 8.0-inch infotainment display that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And none other than Bremont served up an assist by designing the gauges, along with a removable pocket watch that slots in at the top of the dash.
Just 25 examples of this reborn Vanquish will be made, each offering buyers the chance to confab with Callum himself (either virtually or in person) on their particular spec. Price? As they say, if you have to ask...