As the end draws near for combustion engine cars, we see what the final fossil fuel flourishes could look like. Aston Martin’s new V12 Vantage is a perfect example; the fact that this will be the last 12-cylinder Vantage will no doubt have helped convince some buyers that over a quarter of a million pounds was a price worth paying. It’s happening everywhere: Porsche put a GT3 engine in the Cayman, Lamborghini’s penultimate Huracan is rear-wheel drive and as powerful as a McLaren F1, BMW is making its first CSL in 20 years and Pagani has given itself worth developing an all-new 6.0-liter V12. While there’s still a chance manufacturers are going crazy with internal combustion – fantastic news.
Some have gone further in their celebration of gasoline power, exposing several hundred horsepower to the elements with supercar speedsters. How better to celebrate wonderful engines than without any protection from the outside? Anyone with experience of screenless sports cars from Caterham, Lotus and so on will tell you how much more visceral a real roadster is – so imagine the experience with three times the power. Ferrari made their Monzas, Bentley gave us the Bacalar, McLaren produced the Elva and Aston Martin entered the fray with the V12 Speedster.
The latter followed the pattern set by the Elva and the Monza, stripping a Vantage of a skeletal frame, then introducing a power-shedding load. In the case of the Speedster, that meant styling that echoed 2013’s CC100 concept – making the Vantage Roadster as visually exciting as an MX-5 in the process – and an engine from the DBS. All in 700hp. Without windshield or roof. Bonkers is just beginning to describe the V12 Speedster, but that was probably exactly the point – mid-decade cars like this probably won’t be viable.
Nor was it a hastily cobbled together, after-hours special. When we drove the prototype V12 Speedster, the praise was reserved for the damping, traction and brakes. “Think of it like a muscled naked motorcycle and you pretty much get it: it can go fast, but only in small bursts. On roads with sharp turns and frequent enough to reduce speed, the lack of protection definitely increases the feeling of speed and the feeling of connection. The verdict was unequivocal: “The Speedster is absolutely crazy, but also extremely desirable.”
All 88s were announced fairly early, even with a price approaching £800,000, and that seemed to be the Speedster – notably with the impending V12 Vantage too. But here’s one for sale, number 57 of 88, a UK supplied car about as close to new as it gets, with just 14 miles on it. Aston’s F1 Green satin has arguably never looked better than here, especially when paired with Sahara Tan on the interior. Also note how the lime green accents on the outside are matched by similar highlights for the inside, and don’t forget to check out the carbon Stilo headsets tucked into the leather-lined boot. As a car to go, there’s not much that can touch a V12 Speedster.
The Aston is listed with POA; it seems unlikely (impossible, really) that this will be offered for less than that original £765,000 RRP, given the rarity and sensational spec. But if your collection of speedster supercars is missing the last piece, or the Aston Martin wallet calls for a showstopper – or you just need something to spend that £184million on – there can’t be much better than the V12 Speedster .