Following years of financial struggles throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Aston Martin finally found stability when it became part of Ford's ambitious Premier Automotive Group. In 1987, Ford of Europe vice president Walter Hayes fostered a relationship that eventually led to Ford Motor Company taking full control of Aston Martin, joining Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo. Thanks to Ford's influx of cash and engineering expertise, the rejuvenated Aston Martin finally had the resources to develop an all-new volume leader to slot beneath the hand-built, somewhat old-fashioned Virage. The first product of the new relationship was the gorgeous, thoroughly modern DB7. With styling by Ian Callum, the DB7 shared its underlying architecture with Jaguar, as well as other parts from Ford that kept costs in check without sacrificing the bespoke Aston Martin character; and the DB7 quickly became a best-seller. Eventually, the supercharged "AJ6" inline-six was supplemented with a suitably exotic, Cosworth-designed 6.0-liter V12, creating the V12 Vantage and putting Aston Martin squarely back on performance terms with Ferrari, Maserati, and Porsche.
In 2002 Aston Martin introduced the ultimate expression of its capabilities; the muscular and exotic V12 Vanquish. Based on the all-new bonded aluminum and composite "VH" platform, the Vanquish bore a family resemblance to the DB7, yet with the hard-edged aggression of a proper supercar. Pairing with the light and rigid structure was a 460 horsepower version of the Cosworth-tuned 6.0 liter V12 and six-speed hydraulically actuated manual gearbox. The Vanquish had svelte styling, Aston refinement, and 190 mph performance, putting the Ferrari 550 Maranello squarely in its sights. Like the DB7 before it, the Vanquish was a very significant model in Aston Martin's history. Not only was it the last model built in the storied Newport Pagnell works, but its sophisticated chassis evolved into the DB9, V8 Vantage, DBS, and other vital models in Aston's renaissance. Over seven years, Aston Martin built just 2,589 examples of the Vanquish, and the stellar performance and timeless styling made it an instant classics. Today, the Vanquish represents a remarkable value in the world of twelve-cylinder, 190 mph exotic supercars of the new millennium.
This striking 2003 Aston Martin Vanquish is a well-maintained example with just over 17,000 miles from new. Car number 791 is one of only 43 cars finished in the gorgeous shade of opalescent Pentland Green. The color gives a nod to Aston's of the past, but with subtle warm metallic highlights that beautifully accent the luscious Ian Callum-penned curves. Sold new in California, this Vanquish spent the majority of its life in dry western states, and the clean Carfax report verifies the low mileage and ownership chain. The body is crisp and straight, with factory appropriate fit and finish. On close inspection, some minor blemishes appear on the lower front bumper, and the right rear wheel shows some slight curb rash. The imperfections are not out of the ordinary for the car's age and mileage and do not detract from the otherwise lovely presentation.
Complementing the exterior color is the beautiful saddle tan/forest green interior. Rich and supple tan leather covers the seats, lower door cards, and center console. The upholstery is in excellent condition, and the sport seats show minor creasing consistent with the miles. This car is a pure two-seater (2+2 seating was an option) with a carpeted rear parcel shelf offering plenty of room for luggage to supplement the respectably-sized boot. Forest green leather features on the dash, wrapping around on the door panels and into the rear of the cabin. Some minor delaminating of the upper door panel leather is noted on both sides. Green carpets are excellent and complete the fantastic two-tone scheme. Original switches, buttons, and controls all appear in good order, as do the brushed stainless steel and aluminum alloy accents. Options and equipment include the factory AM/FM/Cassette/CD-Changer audio system with audiophile-quality Linn amplifier, power heated seats, and DVD-based navigation system. Also included are the original alloy-bound owner's manual, quick reference guide, and notepad.
Despite sharing its lineage with some more pedestrian Ford engines, the 6.0-liter Cosworth-fettled V12 is suitably exotic, with four valves per cylinder, drive-by-wire throttles, and 460 horsepower at 6,500 RPM. Good enough to propel the Vanquish to nearly 200 mph, it is also happy to podder around town or cruise effortlessly in proper Grand Touring fashion. The 6-speed hydraulically-operated manual gearbox was Aston's first such unit, and it can be used in full-auto mode or paddle-shifted for the full-on exotic car experience. This car's engine bay is quite well-presented, appearing well maintained and extremely clean, down to the hand-engraved engine tag and carbon-fiber chassis bracing. Included documentation shows all recall campaigns are completed, and the car is turn-key and ready for enjoyment.
The taut and muscular good looks of the Vanquish have aged gracefully over the nearly two decades since its introduction, and elements of the breathtaking design still influence today's Aston Martins. This wonderful example of Aston’s quintessentially British Grand Tourer, presented in beautiful colors and in turn-key condition, should not be missed.
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