2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupé Registration no. WK52 YFY Chassis no. SCFAC13373B500674
An entirely new Aston Martin for the 21st Century, the Vanquish debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2001, with deliveries commencing a few months later. The Vanquish took over from the Vantage V8, the Newport Pagnell factory undergoing an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment to accommodate it, gaining a new assembly line, paint shop, rolling road and water test facility.
Styled by Ian Callum, the man responsible for the DB7, the Vanquish was developed with assistance from Aston Martin's parent company Ford using constructional techniques more advanced than those of any then current road car. The monocoque tub was made of heat-cured bonded aluminium, braced by a central tunnel of carbon fibre to create a lightweight structure of exceptional rigidity, thus enabling the chassis engineers to develop suspension combining excellent handling and roadholding with unrivalled ride quality. As well as its superior strength/weight ratio compared to aluminium, the carbon fibre backbone also provided better insulation from transmission and exhaust heat in the cabin.
The all-independent suspension followed the accepted supercar norm and comprised double aluminium wishbones, coil springs, mono-tube damper and anti-roll bar front and rear. Four-wheel ventilated steel disc brakes gripped by four-piston callipers provided all the stopping power one needs, while ABS and traction control afforded maximum security in poor road conditions or 'on the limit'.
Aston Martin's first power unit of its type, the 6.0-litre, 48-valve, V12 engine developed 460bhp at 6,800rpm, with 400lb/ft of torque available at 5,500 revs. In its 'Stage 2' Vanquish specification it benefited from a 18kgs weight reduction, most of which was shed from the rotating masses to improve throttle response. A spin-off from Formula 1 technology, the state-of-the-art electronic engine management system provided 'drive by wire' throttle control and was linked to the six-speed manual gearbox's electro-hydraulic change mechanism, a 'first' for a production car. The gearchange was controlled by F1-style paddles and could be operated in either of two modes - fully manual and computer-controlled automatic - with a 'sport' setting available on both. The system allowed the driver to skip intermediate gears on down-changes without recourse to the clutch, while at the same time providing engine protection by means of a rev limiter. All emissions requirements worldwide were surpassed, including California's LEV (Low Emission Vehicle) standards.
Standard equipment inventory included almost everything the discerning connoisseur would wish for: Alpine stereo system, 6 CD changer, air conditioning, electrically adjustable seats, alarm/immobiliser, tyre pressure sensing, automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamp operation, automatic rear-view mirror dipping, trip computer, etc. The performance? 190mph and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
The Vanquish was built in two versions - two-seater and 2+2 - the rear seat space in the former being occupied by a shelf for golf bag or other luggage. A pleasing blend of up-to-the-minute technology and traditional materials, the interior was dominated by an imposing aluminium centre console extending from fascia to transmission tunnel. Connolly leather upholstery, Wilton carpeting and quilted Alcantara headlining emphasised the Aston Martin heritage, for despite its advanced specification, the Vanquish was built like all other Astons before it, one at a time, by hand. Production ceased in 2007, by which time the model had been upgraded as the Vanquish S and the UK list price had risen to over £183,000 (approximately 219,000 at today's rate of exchange). The Vanquish is yet another 'James Bond' Aston Martin, having featured in 'Die Another Day' starring Pierce Brosnan as the eponymous secret agent.
Since its acquisition by the vendor the Aston has been used sparingly, covering only some 2,500 miles over the course of the last 10 years, during which period it has been kept in a purpose-built dehumidified museum. Always maintained in first class order, the car is presented in commensurately excellent condition and is 'on the button'. Accompanying paperwork includes sundry service bills, a copy of the original V5, the current V5C Registration Certificate, and a fresh MoT.