The speedster looked set to be making a proper comeback a few years ago. With ‘ordinary’ supercars adopting the sort of wild designs that would typically be reserved for their multi-million-pound counterparts (recently seen with the Sian-inspired Lamborghini Revuelto), it was becoming harder for ultra-wealthy car collectors to stand out from the crowd. Enter: the speedster.
Of course, the speedster has been around for yonks and it’s a design that, at the very least, has been kept alive by Porsche with its roofless GT3. Ferrari, however, created an appetite for the style among the oil barons of the world with the gorgeous SP1 and SP2 Monzas, which was swiftly followed by the clever – if somewhat samey – McLaren Elva a year later. Then, in 2020, Aston Martin joined the fray with the magnificent V12 Speedster, blessing our eyes in the process.
The V12 Speedster was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, this was the first time twelve-cylinder power would grace the marque’s new Vantage platform. Specifically, the 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 plucked from the DBS Superleggera in full 700hp, 555lb ft of torque guise. Frankly, that sounds utterly lethal when paired with the shorter, lighter Speedster. But when Mike drove one at the car’s launch, he noted that the V12 Speedster “has a much more laid-back power delivery than the rest of the company's sports car range.” That’s partly down to the Speedster featuring a more relaxed chassis setup, and partly due to a retune of the V12 – the same engine ex-CEO Tobias Moers labelled near-undriveable when he first experienced it.
Then, there’s the way it looks. Compared to the timeless Henry Fisker-designed Vantage, the new model was complicated, inelegant and brash. Aston has since tried to sort that out with a reworked front end, but the V12 Speedster was a sign that the company hadn’t completely lost its way. Aston said the design was inspired by the DBR1, which is more obvious in the spec we have here (and if you wear glasses covered in Vaseline), but there’s a functional elegance to the V12 Speedster that was a welcome return to form for the brand. From the split cockpit to the two small glass covers behind the front seats, this is Aston Martin at its finest.
Ultimately, the Speedster would serve as a precursor to the new V12 Vantage. Yes, it’s a shame that some of the Speedster’s superior style didn’t carry over, but the plus side is that the V12 Vantage isn’t restrained by a production cap. Just 88 examples of the V12 Speedster were produced, each costing a little over three-quarters of a million quid. Expensive by Vantage standards, yet half the cost of the McLaren Elva which, let’s not forget, had a production run nearly twice that of the Aston’s.
So, onto the car we have here. It goes hard on the DBR1 inspiration, carrying the same Racing Green paint with yellow highlights around the grille, down the flanks and on the separator between the two seats. The interior matches the exterior, with Forest Green seats and dashes of brown leather being the only colour in a sea of carbon fibre goodness. It’s expensive, of course. This one is priced at £949,950, so it’s gone up some 25% over the past year and a bit. Hard to think of a new-ish, million-pound car that has the same level of presence as this, however. I know where my money would go...
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