Just in case you thought there might be a polite pause in the rolling snowball that is Aston Martin, its chief engineer popped up at the Festival of Speed to remind us that it's still frantically busy turning Andy Palmer's business strategy into reality.
While there are umpteen trunks and tributaries to that plan, Matt Becker confirmed to Road and Track that one of the most idiosyncratic elements is already at the testing phase. The idea of fitting the latest Vantage with a proper manual gearbox was endorsed by Palmer from the outset - but it was considered of secondary importance to the car's initial development.
When PH sat in a well-used test mule almost two years ago, the engineers conceded that the idea had not yet made it off the page; back then they were still learning how to get the best from the Mercedes-AMG V8 with the eight-speed automatic it came attached to. Now it seems the working three-pedal prototypes are up and running, and due to make it to production, "this time next year".
Unsurprisingly, the fusing of a (six, seven?) speed manual gearbox with the twin-turbocharged, 510hp V8 has not proven entirely straightforward. "The 4.0-litre AMG engine doesn't come with a manual anywhere else. So, actually, to integrate a manual into it is not without it's challenges," Becker remarked. "The software doesn't exist so you have to create your own software. The driveline system doesn't exist so you have to create your own."
If that sounds like rather a lot of work for what will surely be a niche item (within a fairly niche segment), then you're not wrong. But it's indicative at least of the firm's impressive sense of self. Palmer wants Aston to be innovative and forward-thinking, sure, although plainly not in a way which severs it from a rich heritage of heroic driver's cars.
The Vantage, of course, is a case in point - the previous car could be had with a manual gearbox until very near its death, and its 14-unit resurrection (the 600hp V12-engined V600) can only be had with three pedals. Moreover, what better way is there for Aston to differentiate its version of the AMG V8 than by retrofitting the century-old bit of kit that Mercedes is fast ushering to the door?
If nothing else, the experience of the car ought to be completely different. "It reminds you that you have to know how to drive," Becker told R&T. Here's to that.