My name is Sjoerd van Bilsen.
I put a magnifying glass under some of the peculiarities of car models.
Or discuss with you some of the special items to be found on a car.
Welcome to Sjoerds Weetjes.
Maybe you remember a previous episode of Sjoerds Weetjes. The one which was dedicated to the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish with the manual transmission.
That car was a very special edition with a very rare specification.
But then the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish as such is truly special, with an interesting story behind it.
So i thought to myself; I have to share this car with you. The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.
If you ask me, it is special enough to just take a chair, sit beside it and look at it for hours.
The car is based on an aluminium chassis with aluminium body panels and has a 5,9 litre V12 engine.
That 5,9 litre V12 engine is coupled to a robotised transmission.
And the funny thing is; this car has a manual transmission. I have been searching for such a car for a long time, and I happen to stumble upon it for a second time, albeit at the same dealer.
But then this car has some interesting features; it has switches and buttons made by the Ford motor company. And the air vents in the interior are made by….Ford. And then there is the key lock at the door; in which you recognise a Ford product.
The door lock in which you put the key has this strange, unique form in which you can recognise the Ford signature.
But then this car originates from a period in which the Ford Motor company actually owned the Aston Martin brand. But currently, Aston Martin operates as an independent brand and has been brought to the stock exchange.
And just have a look at this; a make-up mirror for the ladies which actually functions as the fuel filler cap.
But back to the story; Aston Martin was owned by the Ford Motor company and was in financial difficulty. Nothing new, since financial troubles have plagued the company for quite a number of years.
But in order to survive; the company had to introduce new models. It already had an entry-level model in the form of the DB7, and a V8 model. The latter had to be replaced.
And since the V8 model acted as the top-of-the-brand model; the V12 Vanquish had to be positioned as the top model as well.
The V12 Vanquish was designed by Ian Callum. A well-known name who recently stepped down as styling director at Jaguar motorcars.
When the design director at Aston Martin passed away, the function was taken over by Ian Callum. That is because Jaguar were owned too at the time by the Ford motor company.
So Ian Callum got a double function; he acted as design director for both Aston Martin as well as Jaguar.
But in the end; Ian Callum decided to work for the Jaguar brand only and Henrik Fisker took over the job as design director.
Henrik Fisker was responsible for the design of a whole lot of new Aston Martins at the time; among them the DB9 and Rapide as well as the successor to the V12 Vanquish, which was the DBS.
The V12 Vanquish started its life as a concept car; with the name Project Vanquish. That concept car was shown to the public on the occasion of the Detroit Motor Show in 1997.
The lines which characterize the final production model were already clearly visible in that concept car. But then the design of the car as such was almost final.
The idea was to show the final production model on the occasion of the British Motor Show in Birmingham in 2000.
But the general public did not see the car in the flesh at that Motorshow. Instead; the car was shown in a closed room to potential customers. The first of whom signed a contract to buy the car.
But the introduction to the public was postponed by six months. So the V12 Vanquish was officially first shown to the general public on the occasion of the Geneva Motor Show in march 2001.
You might ask yourself the question; why was this? Well, as I mentioned earlier the V12 Vanquish had some parts of the Ford Motor Company fitted to it.
The amount of Ford parts fitted to the interior was simply too big. And some potential customers complained about this.
So the interior designers of the V12 Vanquish model had to do some extra work on the design of the interior and get rid of some of the Ford parts, replacing them with more upmarket items.
So why did Aston Martin use Ford components for their cars on such a grand scale?
The reason is that Aston Martin was and always has been a company which had financial difficulties……
And the Ford Motor company simply said to Aston Martin; you have to be able to carry the burden of your financial troubles by yourself.
So in order to save money; Aston Martin decided to use parts from another company. And in this case; since Ford was the owner, the most logical step was to use Ford components.
But the problem is that Ford as such is regarded as a volume maker of cars. They produced some 400,000 units of their cars annually and that puts them in a totally different position.
But then an Aston Martin; a hand built car, is of a different calibre. Of a different stature, and with a different brand image.
You have to understand that those who spend some 330,000 Euros on a new car are not paying that amount of money for a Ford key or a dashboard which has been primarily made from Ford components.
But for the engineering of the car; Aston Martin were responsible themselves. In a financial way…..
The problem is that Aston Martin could not endlessly shop around the warehouses of Ford looking for inexpensive parts for their new car.
But insiders at Aston Martin were surprised at the amount of components which were technologically very interesting for Aston Martin and which were not used by Ford themselves.
Lotus Cars; a small manufacturer of British sportscars, were asked to help develop the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. Lotus Cars are renowned for the quality of their engineering expertise.
Aston Martin called in the help of three parties to develop the V12 Vanquish. Those three parties were Lotus Cars, TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) and parent company Ford.
Aston Martin were simply not able to develop the new V12 Vanquish by themselves, hence the reason for calling in help from those three parties.
The three parties were asked to share their knowledge and to come up with a proposal. Finally, Lotus was chosen as the preferred development party.
The 5,9 litre V12 engine of the Vanquish was developed by Cosworth. And they gave some extra power to that engine. The engine is placed in the front, near the front axle.
The engine is basically the same as used in the Aston Martin DB7 GT. It is a V12 engine, weighing 198 kilos, which is 18 kilos lighter than the powerplant in the DB7 GT.
The amount of horsepower was increased to 455 horsepower.
That power was transmitted to the rear wheels by means of a robotised gearbox.
The model which I am standing next to is the Vanquish S; which has another 65 horsepower added to its engine output.
With those engine performance figures; an acceleration from 0-100 kilometres per hour is achieved in less than 4 seconds. The top speed is 305 km/hour.
But the Vanquish S model has an even higher top speed of 322 km/hour.
Ian Callum designed only one body form and that was the coupe, which I show you today. But the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is available in two variants……
There is a two seater model; called 2+0 and a two plus two seater; called 2+2.
But two seats in the back? Well, you might refer to them as standing places for two chihuahua dogs…..that is because there is hardly any leg room.
But then, just in case you went out eating with three persons, and you might want to drop them off in a place not too far away……
Even though it is probably not very comfortable, you can still find some room in the rear compartment and it is always better than to sit illegally in the rear of a pure two seater car.
As the camera man is filming the rear lights; I am thinking of something else….
Aston Martin wanted to use the rear lights of the Ford Kuga. But that was heavily criticized. Another reason why the car came later onto the market then was planned.
So this is it; the fabulous Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.
You will see here the dashboard with the manual transmission. For more on that; please watch an earlier episode of Sjoerds’ Weetjes.
Normally; there wouldn’t be a gear stick but a flat panel and the operating buttons for the automatic transmission can be found on top of the dashboard. As well as the gear switches behind the steering wheel and the clutch pedal.
In the period from 2001 until 2007; 2,589 units of the V12 Vanquish were built.
The production number is the total for the two versions; the Vanquish and Vanquish S. Of the latter; just more than 1,000 units were produced.
So a little more than 1,400 units of the total production number consists of the regular Vanquish model.
There is one thing that I almost forgot to mention. The platform for this car is modular, meaning that a convertible version could have been developed and made.
A version with a removable T-Targa roof might have been possible as well, but it simply never came.
The Italian design house Zagato presented a version with two power domes at the rear, which was an open version but never got beyond the concept car phase. So the V12 Vanquish was only ever available as a Coupe.
I am going to search for a chair……and just admire the lines of this car.
And admire those wide hips and that very almost colossal design from the hand of Ian Callum.
You should actually just listen to the sound of that V12 engine.