Who Bought the Aston Martin Vanquish Tooling and Design Drawings for $26 Million?
A mystery buyer paid up big to be able to play with the previous-generation Vanquish as they see fit.
It's a mystery straight out of Agatha Christie...well, if she wrote about British supercars instead of murder, at least. As part of its drive to round up as much cash as possible ahead of its initial public offering earlier this year, Aston Martin sold off the tooling and designs to the outgoing Vanquish supercar for £20 million—which works out to about $26 million, at current exchange rates. But that begs the $26 million question: Who did Gaydon sell the secrets of the Vanquish to?
News of the sale, which occurred back in June of this year, was buried in the midst of the Aston Martin prospectus released ahead of the company's IPO on the London Stock Exchange at the beginning of October, but it only surfaced in the media earlier this week, when Automotive News brought it to light in a brief, unbylined story. But as AN made clear, while the prospectus was specific about the timing and amount of the sale of the design drawings and machine tooling of the front-engined, V12-powered gran turismo of a supercar, it gave no clue as to who would spend enough money to buy almost eight Aston Martin Valkyries for almost all the necessary bits to build one of the sexiest-looking two-seaters on sale in the last decade.
Of course, nature and journalists alike abhor a vacuum; as such, we at The Drive have already begun our intra-office debates about who might have shelled out the $26 million for the car. All the big automakers would seem to be out of the question; any billion-dollar automaker worth its salt wouldn't be caught dead building an exact replica of a competitor's car, let alone one based on an eight-year-old car. But what about a small car company that wants access to a solid sports car platform? After all, the old Vanquish used a variation of the same VH platform found beneath the likes of the DB9 and Rapide; while it may no longer be cutting-edge, it's still an excellent base to build a supercar on.
And keep in mind, whomever bought the tooling and designs (and, for the record, also scored a year and a half of consulting help from Aston Martin to work on the project) doesn't necessarily have to use the same 5.9-liter naturally aspirated V12 found under the Aston's hood; they could plug in any powertrain they like, assuming they can make it fit. Could Henrik Fisker—who designed the DB9 that led to this Vanquish, remember—be planning to use it for a new electric supercar with solid-state batteries? Is Dany Bahar's bespoke coachbuilder Ares planning on whipping up its own run of Aston-inspired designs? Or could it be some new player, one with grandiose plans to wedge Corvette ZR1 crate motors or Dodge Viper running gear or some other blasphemous-yet-delightful powertrain beneath that sultry body?
Here's hoping we'll find out soon. In the meantime, let us know who you think bought the Aston Martin Vanquish tooling and designs in the comments below.
Update, 10/25/18: Henrik Fisker has reached out to us, to inform The Drive that he wasn't the one to buy the Vanquish tooling and drawings. So scratch one name off the list.