Elite, high –performance British cars with no roofs and ultr-high price tahs seem to be all the rage these days.
McLaren, Bentley and now Aston Marin have all unveiled limited-production cars with seven figure – or very nearly seven figure – price tags and no roof whatsoever.
Aston Matin’s entry in this very narrow field, the V12 Speedster, was unveiled Wednesday morning in an online presentation. The Speedster was supposed to have been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, but the annual event was canceled this year due to fear about the coronavirus.
Only 88 V12 Speedster will be produced and they will have a starting price of $950,000 each. The cars are a product of Aston Marin’s ‘Q by Aston Martin’ customizations service. The division is named after the character Q in James Bond films who created clever gadgets and adds features like smoke screens and machine guns to cars – often Aston Martins – for Bond to use.
The Speedster is powered by a 700-horsepower turbocharged V12 engine mounted under the car’s long hood. The car can go from zero to 60 miles an hour in about 3.5 seconds, according to Aston Martin, and it has a top speed of 186 miles an hour.
The overall shape of the car is reminiscent of vintage racing cars. The driver and passengers sit in seats nested inside separate elongate oval openings in the Speedster’s body.
The Speedster was inspired by Aston Marin racing cars of the past, such as the 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 that won the Le Mans 24 hour race. One of the drivers of that car was Carroll Shelby, best known today for his namesake Ford-powered performance cars. When driving that, Shelby did, at least, have a windshield in front of him. The Speedster does not have a windshield.
The Speedster was conceived of only a year ago, according to Aston Martin, and it was made ready for production in that short time. ordinarily, cars take far longer to go from the drawing boarder to the factory floor. In this case, there were clearly far fewer practical considerations to worry about than it even an ordinary sports car.
The Speedster is, as Aston Martin calls it, ‘a living show car’.
The car’s body is made almost entirely from carbon fiber. The interior was designed to be as simple as possible. Instead of a glove compartment, there’s a removable leather satchel. There is some room for luggage under the raised areas behind the seats.
Buyers will, of course, be able to customize the V12 Speedster. For the presentation version, Aston-Martin designers pay homage to the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter plane, including numerous bright red tie straps and ‘Do Not Step’ markings on the central bar between the seats.
Aston Martin is currently accepting orders for the V12 Speedster, with the first cars expected to be delivered early next year.
Aston Marin was only recently rescued from dire financial trouble when Canadian Formula 1 team owner Lawrence Stroll purchased a large share of the company for $650 million. It’s not the first time in Aston Martin’s 106-year history that the brand has been pulled back from the brink.
Besides ultra-expensive cars like this more accessible sports cars like the DB11 and Vantage, Aston Martin’s future hopes also lie with the new DBX SUV, the company’s first SUV. It was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show In November.
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