3rd and Final Aston Martin Vulcan Arrives in the US, Chassis #19 of 24


The third and final Aston Martin Vulcan to be built for the U.S. market has officially landed, with Missouri’s St. Louis Motorcars delivering the track-only supercar to its lucky owner late last week.

This Vulcan is no. 19 of 24 to be built. It is finished in a patriotic scheme with a white exterior colour, red stripes and blue accents. The theme continues inside the cabin with red leather Recaro seats with a contrasting blue stripe running up the centre.

The Vulcan is powered by a 7.0-litre 800 horsepower V12 engine, which is mated to a six-speed X-Trac sequential racing transmission. The GT3-inspired track toy also features an FIA-compliant roll cage, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, lightweight forged alloy center locking wheels, four-way adjustable pushrod suspension and more.

The first Vulcan to arrive stateside was an orange example delivered by Aston Martin Cleveland. The Ohio Aston Martin dealership also delivered the purple Vulcan, which was auctioned by Mecum at its Monterey auction in California earlier this month.


World’s rarest city car? The Aston Martin Cygnet


In its rich 103-year history, Aston Martin has never built a car quite as divisive as the Cygnet. With a tiny 97bhp 1.33-litre engine, the small city car certainly lacked the headline figures normally associated with the manufacturer when it made its debut as an opinion-splitting concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

This stubby city runabout looked comically out of place on the Aston stand next to cars like the DBS and the V12 Vantage. But while it was controversial, it also offered something different, and it wasn’t much of a surprise when bosses confirmed the Cygnet for production in 2011. So why did Aston want to build a car with sales targets of just 4,000 a year?

Firstly, there were EU laws. Fleet emissions targets were introduced in 2012, and without a parent company to offer more eco-friendly cars to balance out the averages, it was up to Aston to reduce its CO2 figures across the model range. Basing a car on Toyota’s frugal iQ made sense.

Secondly, Aston wanted to attract a new group of customers to the brand, as well as offering existing owners something that was more suited to life in the city rather than speeding along the open road.

Unfortunately, the reality wasn’t quite that straightforward, and after two years in production, the Cygnet was quietly dropped from the model line-up. It never came close to the target of 4,000 orders. 

To some, the Cygnet is a piece of Aston history that doesn’t quite fit, but there are plenty who disagree. Many see the Cygnet as a future classic in the making, thanks to its uniqueness and rarity. Auto Express set out to find a Cygnet, uncover what makes it special and determine whether or not it really is a vital part of Aston Martin ownership. 

The search isn’t easy, as according to the DVLA vehicle database, just 141 Cygnets are registered in the UK; that makes it a rarer sight on the road than both the DB5 and DB6. When it came on sale in 2011, prices started at £30,995 – over twice as much as a similarly specced Toyota iQ. 

Workers at the brand’s Gaydon HQ in Warks spent 150 hours building each Cygnet – the DB9 only took 200 hours – and it’s the smallest, lightest Aston ever made. The interior is filled with hand-stitched leather, the roof lining is made from Alcantara and the entire car has Aston paintwork.

Aston Martin V8 supercar expected in 2022


Aston Martin’s new business plan is set to culminate in the company producing a V8-powered mid-engined supercar, company executives have revealed to Autocar.

Aston’s ‘second century plan’, colloquially described as “s*** or bust” by ebullient Aston CEO Andy Palmer, will result in the company releasing one new model every year until 2022, when the range will be complete and model replacement will begin anew.

The Aston Martin-badged mid-engined supercar is likely to generate the most interest among enthusiasts when it arrives in 2022 as the final car in the company’s plan.

Aston design boss Marek Reichman says the midengined car will be “more mainstream” than the limited-edition AM-RB 001 hypercar currently being developed jointly by Aston and Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer. It is understood that the car will sit above the Ferrari 488 GTB — or its contemporary equivalent — when it goes on sale.

“We do projects to learn from them,” said Reichman of the AM-RB 001, although the newly developed, electrically assisted 900bhp-plus V12 that will feature in the hypercar won’t make its way into the ‘mainstream’ supercar. That will instead be powered by a V8.

“All car designers want to design a mid-engined supercar,” said Reichmann. “It’s why you become a designer.” A smaller frontal area, lower nose and shorter overhangs, plus smaller wheels than those on Aston’s frontengined models, will all feature on the standout model.

AM-RB 001 aside, Aston Martin last showed an interest in mid-engined cars in 2014, when it unveiled the DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo at Goodwood. The conceptual 800bhp mid-engined GT racer was created for the hugely popular Gran Turismo 6 computer game, with a crack Aston Martin design team spending six months creating the radical machine. The theoretical twin-turbo V12 was downloadable for gamers. As well as the virtual car, Aston Martin created a full-size 3D display model to emphasise that the DP-100 was far from being a frivolous project.

At the time, Reichman, who led the project, said: “Many of the design cues visible on DP-100 could feed into future sports cars we’ll launch in the offline world.”

The car’s styling referred clearly to the Aston Martin One-77supercar, to the CC100 anniversary car and even to Aston’s revolutionary midengined Bulldog concept of the early 1980s. The Bulldog was designed by the late William Towns and had the same sort of radically ‘waisted’ bodystyle.

With the AM-RB 001 project now firmly under way, the company will have the engineering and design know-how to extrapolate knowledge for its mid-engined supercar, which will also no doubt have some aesthetic similarities to both the AM-RB 001 and the DP-100 concept.

Ahead of that model’s arrival, the first car on the cards is the imminent DB11, a V12 grand tourer, which Palmer describes in Churchillian style as “the end of the beginning”. It will be followed next year by a new Vantage sports car, based on the same new aluminium architecture as the DB11 but shortened, and will use a Mercedes-AMG-sourced V8 engine. AMG’s parent company, Daimler, owns 5% of Aston Martin and contributes electrical and multimedia systems to the new DB11.

The DB11 and Vantage will be followed in 2019 by another familiar model name in the form of a new Vanquish. Like the DB11, it will be powered by a twin turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 engine, but it’s expected to pump out something approaching 800bhp and compete directly with the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta as Aston attempts to put more differentiation between its coupés in both design and purpose. Hitherto, its models have been accused of looking — and feeling — too similar.

The Vanquish, Vantage and DB11 will all be constructed at Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters, but the DBX SUV that will follow these, in late 2018 or early 2019, will be built at a new factory in St Athan, south Wales.

The next two cars launched after the DBX will both be Lagondas. First, in 2020, will be replacement for the slowselling Rapide saloon, which, along with internal combustion engines, will be offered with an electric powertrain sufficiently clean that Aston Martin will be able to continue to offer large capacity V12s.

“EVs are our compensation for V12s,” said Palmer. In the interim, a Rapide EV will become available and be used to develop the technology for the Lagonda saloon.

Another Lagonda — likely an SUV — will follow in 2021, ahead of the mid-engined supercar arriving in 2022.

Too often in its 103-year history, Aston has failed to return a profit, but Palmer intends to change that and propel the company into Ferrari-rivalling territory in terms of revenue, sales and, eventually, company value. Palmer has been encouraged by the response to Aston’s limited-edition ‘specials’, which it will continue to release at a rate of two or three per year. The Vulcan, Vantage GT8 and GT12 and Vanquish Zagato were all sold out by the time they were announced, and there are 400 buyers-inwaiting for the AM-RB 001 — a number far in excess of the 150 cars set to be made.

“I can only think of one other company that can [sell out special models] like that,” said Palmer, “and I think you know who I mean.”

Palmer says the plans are “raising the tempo” of new model development. “By early 2022 we’ll have seven cars, all with seven-year life spans,” he said. “And we’ll launch an all-new car every year: copy, repeat, copy, repeat. And you start to straighten out history. It’s not rocket science.”

Top-10 oldest new cars you can buy

Although most models are treated to a thorough refresh every few years, there are cars that haven’t been treated to a substantial update since they first went on sale.

Just because they aren’t the latest and greatest though, doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. There are some advantages to buying something that’s been around a while. For one, the car maker would have worked out all of the model’s foibles, but also with a long production cycle there should be a good supply of parts. With this in mind we scoured the new car price lists to find the ten best oldest models you can buy now.

1.Land Rover Defender


With production ceasing in the UK this year, the Defender just makes our cut. Although it has changed substantially over the decades, it’s visually, conceptually and philosophically close to the 90 and 110 it replaced in 1984. The pick-up version even shares a component with the 1948 version.

It’s crude and noisy by modern standards, but it’s the epitome of ruggedness, strength and capability. To acknowledge the car’s passing, Land Rover launched three special editions priced from £27,800 which will be available to buy from August – the last chance you’ll get to buy a current Defender in England. Although rumours are, there is an all-new Defender coming next year.

Launched in 1984.

Continue reading “Top-10 oldest new cars you can buy”

Aston Martin DB9 production ends


Production for the Aston Martin DB9 has ended after 13 years, clearing the way for the first customer examples of its successor, the DB11, to be built.

Aston Martin tweeted an image of the last nine DB9s, showing them at the end of the Gaydon production line wearing badges labelling each as a ‘last of nine’. The cars were finished by the brand’s Q customisation department.

Built at Gaydon since its inception in 2003, the DB9 was an all-new model that helped spawn the underpinnings for the following DBS, Vanquish and Rapide. A similar trend is expected with the DB11, but Aston claims that that car’s structure is even more versatile, suggesting each future model could be significantly different, despite their shared underpinnings.

Production of the DB11 and its new twin-turbocharged V12 engine will commence next month. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has pledged to personally inspect the first 1000 cars, with each gaining a plaque to signify his approval. Pre-production cars have already gained such badges, as shown below.


First customer deliveries of the DB11 are expected to arrive shortly before Christmas.

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing reveal AM-RB 001 hypercar


Do not adjust your set: this is not just another digital concept for an upcoming Gran Turismo game. This car. dubbed the AM-RB 001, is the product of a collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing – and deliveries begin in 2018. The catch? Well, it’ll set you back between £2m and £3m.

There’s plenty on hand to help help justify that price tag, however.  This lightweight, mid-engined two-seater is powered by a new high-revving naturally aspirated V12, no doubt ticking a box for many a potential owner. 

If you’re hoping it’s as quick as it looks, then you’re also in luck. Precise technical details have yet to be announced, but Aston states a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, and suggests that the car is ‘sub 1000kg’. Either way you cut it, the car’s bespoke V12 is likely to be ferociously powerful – so the AM-RB 001 should have little trouble dispatching the 0-62mph sprint in under 3.0sec, and be capable of exceeding 200mph with ease. 

That’s seriously quick – especially considering that it’s naturally aspirated.

Oh, it gets better. If you’re looking for something to really light up your weekends then you’ll be able to opt for a track-only version of the AM-RB 001. Little has been stated about the flagship variant yet, outside of the fact that it will offer performance ‘in line with that of today’s LMP1 Le Mans sports prototypes.’


Consequently, you can expect the top-end version to deliver a sub-2.5sec 0-62mph time – and there’s no doubt that it’ll be capable of generating some serious high G, both in the corners and under braking.

Andy Palmer, boss of Aston, said: ‘As the project gathers pace its clear the end result will be a truly history-making hypercar that sets incredible new benchmarks for packaging, efficiency and performance and an achievement that elevates Aston Martin to the very highest level.’  

What else is key to this car’s performance?

Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, has played a significant part in the project. Underpinning the AM-RB 001 is a carbonfibre structure that rides on a Newey-designed suspension system, which is reputed to deliver comfort befitting of a road car while being capable of enduring heavy aerodynamic loads. 

‘The synergy between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin is clear,’ said Newey. ‘I knew Red Bull Racing had the ability to handle the pure performance aspects, but Aston Martin’s experience of making beautiful, fast and comfortable GT cars is of great benefit to the project. 

‘I’ve always been adamant that the AM-RB 001 should be a true road car that’s also capable of extreme performance on track, and this means it really has to be a car of two characters. That’s the secret we’re trying to put into this car – the technology that allows it to be docile and comfortable, but with immense outright capabilities.’

Similarly, the 001’s as-yet unspecified transmission was penned by Newey and latterly developed by Red Bull. Newey’s underfloor aerodynamic design also generated much of the downforce required for the car, allowing Aston designer Marek Reichman relatively free reign on the exterior – resulting in the dramatic-looking car you see today. 

Newey added: ‘from the age of six I have had two goals in life – to be involved in the design of racing cars, and to be involved in the design of a supercar. Whilst the former ambition went on to form my career to date, the latter has always bubbled away, resulting in countless sketches and doodles over the years. 

‘The opportunity to now develop and realise those ideas whilst working with Marek and his colleagues from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting.’

So Aston’s only going to build a handful, right?

Surprisingly, no. Up to 175 AM-RB 001s will be made, with production taking place at Aston’s Gaydon plant. The company says that the production run will include between 99-150 road cars and prototypes, and 25 track-only models.

We’d hazard a guess that all of them have already been accounted for. If you’re one of the lucky few, however, you’re going to have to wait until 2018 to get your hands on one…

2018 Aston Martin-Red Bull AM-RB 001 Revealed 

It might look like a still from a video game, but what you see here is the nearly finished design of the forthcoming AM-RB 001, the joint collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing. Its makers aim to claim the title of fastest street- legal car in the world—by a considerable margin—when it arrives, probably late next year. It could create a whole new category of car in need of a fresh prefix, over and beyond super-, mega-, and even hypercars.

It’s an extraordinary-looking thing, with a tiny passenger compartment and a motorsport-style “keel” running beneath the car, and the 001’s aerodynamic mission is demonstrated by the fact that the face it presents to the wind is as much gap as it is bodywork. According to Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, approximately 100 copies will be built—the final figure is still being decided—with two variants, one being fully street legal and one being track only. We’ll have to wait until later for the full shock-and-awe statistics, but the critical one comes with confirmation from the man who led Red Bull’s side of the project, chief technical officer Adrian Newey, that the track version aims to be as fast as an LMP1-class Le Mans endurance racer.
“The one that is going to be LMP1-levels of performance will be the track-only car,” Newey told us. “Then we’ll make a road version of that. Many parts will be common, but obviously it will have an interior in it and won’t have quite the big wings of the track car. There will be differences, but the cars will be closely related.”
To put that into perspective, that means that around a circuit like Silverstone in the U.K., which a McLaren P1 or a Porsche 918 would lap in around two minutes, the AM-RB 001 will have to be 20 seconds quicker. The LMP1 Porsche 919 hybrid that set fastest lap during the race there this April clocked 1.40.303. All of which bears on an ongoing debate about how to define the “fastest” car. The obvious answer is to measure top speed: The fastest car is the one that goes fastest, right? Another looks to lap times at one track or another, seeking to incorporate roadholding, braking, and accelerative performance into the definition.

The AM-RB 001’s engine will be a naturally aspirated V-12 mounted behind the teardrop passenger compartment and will drive the rear wheels only, possibly in conjunction with a Formula 1-style hybrid system.

“The honest truth is that we are evaluating a whole load of potential solutions,” Newey says. “I have a personal favorite, but I can’t talk about that, I’m afraid. What I can say is that central to the concept is that the car should be small, light, and efficient. And if I look at things like the current fad for dual-clutch gearboxes in this type of car, they typically weigh around 150 kilograms [330 pounds] and are very bulky. That makes that type of gearbox a complete non-starter, because it doesn’t fit with the concept of the car. We’re evaluating some different ideas in simulation. We hope to draw a conclusion in the next month or so.”
Even if there is an electrical side to the powertrain, it won’t be as aggressive as those in actual LMP1 race cars.

“It’s very difficult to put a power-to-weight ratio to a LMP1 because they have a very high level of electrical power that lasts for a small period of time,” Newey explains. “We’ve heard figures as high as 1100 horsepower or even 1200 in terms of their initial acceleration on a straight, but that fades as the battery runs out of charge. They might be getting to the end with just 300 or 400 horsepower. If [this car] has an electrical contribution, it will be a much smaller percentage of the internal-combustion engine’s output. So the power-to-weight ratio will be above the average for an LMP1 car, but lower initially.”

Although the passenger compartment looks barely big enough for one occupant, we’re assured it will actually fit two full-size men.
“I came up with the package and shape that involved the seating position and the cabin size prior to starting the relationship with Aston Martin,” Newey says. “We had a meeting where we presented the design to [Aston CEO] Andy Palmer and Marek, and I think there was a big ‘how are we going to fit in that?’ moment.”
Reichman continues the story: “We made a test buck, with the test being that I’m six feet four inches and I had to sit next to Andy, and you know what Andy looks like,” in reference to Palmer’s stout proportions. “There’s a photograph from very early on, it must have been 16 months ago, of me and Andy sitting in the original packaging buck. That concept has been the basis for this car.”
Newey says AM-RB 001 will have active aerodynamic elements to trim itself for high speed as well as significant downforce to enhance cornering grip. It will have electronic driver-assist technology such as traction and stability control because “at this level of performance, we have to.” These will be fully switchable, though, for any owner who wants to take full control without the assists.
Although aiming to make the fastest car in the world, at least by the lap-time definition, Newey insists that the project hasn’t been motivated by numbers, in the process throwing some shade at the Bugatti Chiron.

“We’re talking about the driving experience, not just about the statistics. It’s about how you feel in the car, the pleasure you take from driving it, feeling involved in it,” he says. “If we take the example of the manufacturer that’s chased the very high level of top speed, then it’s arguably not a terribly involving car to drive. We want to produce a car that puts a smile on your face every time.”
So, does the AM-RB 001 alone sate Newey’s long-term desire to design road cars, or does he imagine others to come?
“That’s a very good question. I think I would be interested if this works well and is well received, in developing from that into something that’s slightly more mainstream, something that can be enjoyed by more people.”