We Got An Exclusive Look At The New Aston Martin Vanquish 25 By CALLUM
Love it or hate it, the “reimagined” genre of enthusiast automobiles seems like it’s here to stay. There are varying levels of success, with some falling into dodgy restomod territory. When a design is altered by a company or an individual not involved in the original creation, creative facelifts and artful reinterpretations are possible, but what if the original draughtsmen of an iconic design had the chance to create the machine that he wanted to the first time around? With the constraints and compromises required to manufacture, there’s always something left on the table. The chance to have a second go at it is rare, but in this case Ian Callum has revisited one of his most iconic creations, the first-generation Vanquish, and given it a new treatment that has the bonus of being endorsed by Aston Martin.
Just like its designer, the Vanquish needs no introduction, and is still one of the most recognizable and beloved creations to come out of Newport Pagnell in the 21st century. But for Callum, the venerable Vanquish always had more potential than it was perhaps allowed, and this reboot, the first project to break cover from CALLUM (the eponymous design agency that Ian Callum has been flat out with since announcing his move from JLR earlier this year), alongside a partnership with R-Reforged, aims to realize that potential. “I always felt it was unfair that the first incarnation of the car never really had a face lift,” Callum told me during my exclusive visit to the Warwickshire design workshop to view the car in the metal for the first time.
“It’s rare that a designer has the chance to retell the story of one of [his] own cars. I’ve wanted to do that for some time. Materials and technologies have advanced, allowing us to introduce these along with new ideas that weren’t feasible when the car was launched.” The completed car has undergone more than 100 design changes from the chassis up, and the view from the outside is something to behold if not more than a bit familiar.
The most obvious improvement is the altered stance that the car has from the original model thanks to larger wheels and a more bullish body that bring the design forward without leaving its early-2000s identity completely behind. Dig a bit further below the surface though, and the subtler tweaks add up to make the Vanquish 25 a compelling machine. From a revised front end that improves the aerodynamic function and houses a modern lighting setup, through to newly designed carbon fiber side strakes, new mirrors designed for the car rather than the “borrowed” ones that were fixed to the original, as well as complete one-piece window surrounds that had been a real bug-bear for Callum from the original design. The rear of the car follows on from the front with a facelift of its own, and is now shaped in carbon fibre with a bespoke rear diffuser and some pretty trick exhaust exits.
It all tots up to a something that can serve as an example of How It’s Done in the popular but still nascent re-imagination market, and it makes the original look, dare I say it, somewhat dated. The design updates don’t end with the body though, and continue in to a sumptuous interior featuring a modern offset tartan weave (a nod to Scotsman Callum’s heritage), an all-new center console that is truer to the original concept car, and, in a world-first, the instrument cluster has been designed by luxury British watchmaker Bremont. The car is also a two-seater-only, faithful to the original Vanquish concept, and the driving position has been altered so that one feels more like a part of it all as opposed to someone sitting on top of it all.
The cockpit really is a lovely place to be, an the beauty isn’t only leather deep. During the visit to the workshop, Design Engineer Adam Donfrancesco took the time to talk tech with me and explained some of the improvements and redesigns that have taken place under the supple coverings. “We wanted to remain faithful to the original GT concept and make improvements almost everywhere, but without turning this into an uncomfortable track toy that was no use on the road,” he tells me, “the changes we have made are all big improvements on the original, but not at a cost to usability.” Newer materials and technology have allowed the team to tighten up the chassis, fit new carbon ceramic brakes and increase engine power by a good 60 horses over the original 520bhp output of the Vantage’s V12 thanks in part to new equal-length headers and a carbon air box fed by new intakes), which along with the ergonomic improvements (including a thinner steering wheel) give the car a distinctly updated personality without straying from the GT principles of the original.
The Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by CALLUM is priced at £550,000, which, while not cheap, includes the cost of a sourced donor vehicle. Production will be limited to just 25 units. Those lucky enough to get their hands on one will own something very special indeed—a paragon of modern British GT styling and function that’s been lovingly updated and enhanced by the man who designed it the first time around. It will remain to be seen how it performs on the road, but with the team intent on remaining faithful to the original Vanquish concept it promises to be a potent car that mixes high-performance driving with an elegance of design that’s rarely matched.
If you’re the specs type, here’s the rundown on the Vanquish 25 in quick hits:
- Exclusive run of 25 cars, bespoke-built by CALLUM
- 60bhp engine upgrade with equal length primaries (headers), carbon air box, and new air intakes that are cut into the bonnet by hand and feature the CALLUM tartan design
- Revised external bodywork with carbon fiber bumpers, sills, side strakes, and new wing mirrors.
- The DLO trim has been remade into singular pieces of carbon instead of multiple, clunky rubber mouldings
- Tuned dampers, custom spring rates, and stiffer front and rear anti roll bars tighten up the suspension and chassis bracing.
- 398mm front and 360mm rear carbon ceramic brakes sit behind the new 20” forged APP Tech wheels, which wear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (265/35ZR20 in the front, 295/35ZR20 in the rear)
- The IDES (Integrated Diffuser Exhaust System) acts as diffuser while modernizing the look of the car’s rump
- Six-speeds are standard, but optional fully automatic torque converter gearboxes can be specced
- 3D-printed brake ducts produced in-house replace the original car’s fog lights
- New LED lighting units for the front and rear have been tooled up from scratch
- Bridge of Weir leather is used throughout the updated interior, and accented with CALLUM tartan
- GT Sport Seats in CALLUM tartan replace the original interior, while deleting the rear seats
- A removable Bremont pocket watch sits in the dash, and supplements the industry-first Bremont gauge cluster
- Mulberry custom two-piece luggage sets are included, with coordinating CALLUM tartan of course