Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by Callum Is a $660K Revival of British Artistry

Ian Callum had grander visions for the Vanquish than the era allowed and now, we finally get to see what it should've been.

Charlie Magee—charliemagee.com

When 65-year-old Ian Callum left his role as the head of Jaguar design in June, he didn't do so with the intent of relaxing into retirement. Callum's stated intent to "explore other design projects" left us hanging, but not for long, because Callum has just revealed what one of these other projects is: the Aston Martin Vanquish 25.

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The Vanquish 25 isn't a new car—far from it, in fact. It's based on the 2001-2007 V-12 Vanquish, which in turn would've been the ultimate variant of the DB7, had Callum not felt the Vanquish was a shortcoming given its potential.

"It's rare that a designer has the chance to retell the story of one of their own cars. I've wanted to do that for some time," Callum said. "Materials and technologies have advanced, allowing us to introduce these along with new ideas that weren't feasible when the car was launched."

One idea made possible by the march of time and advance of technology is the Vanquish 25's one-piece, carbon fiber window surrounds, which weren't possible (at least, at the Vanquish's price point) in 2001. With better tech, a higher budget, and free reign over the Aston Martin-endorsed project, Callum got to add that to the Vanquish 25 along with countless other small tweaks that make this turn-of-the-millennium design almost look modern.

And it won't just look like a modern GT car; it'll move like one too. Vanquish 25s get retuned intakes and exhausts—complete with a diffuser-integrated resonator—and a healthy retune to bring an extra 60 horsepower out of their 5.9-liter V-12s, for a total of 580. It retains the original (and much-loathed) six-speed automated manual transmission, controlled with paddles, but at the buyer's request, this can be swapped out for a traditional torque-converter automatic.

Callum Design's director of engineering Adam Donfrancesco, who's also the engineering manager for Jaguar-Land Rover's high-performance SVO branch, oversaw updates to the Vanquish 25's chassis that make the car lower and wider for better handling, but at no cost to comfort. An engine valley brace and custom-tuned shocks, springs, sway bars, and steering ratio make the Vanquish 25 more maneuverable, but should it come time to bring the party to a halt, bigger ceramic brakes will do the job.

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Yet in a grand tourer, modernizing already-ample performance doesn't count as much as improvements to the Vanquish's interior, which has thankfully had its Ford parts bin components plucked out and chucked. Bridge of Weir Scottish leather, patterned in an '80s-tastic pattern Callum calls "abstract tartan," decorates the Vanquish 25's interior, with glossy carbon fiber as an accent on the center console, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Included, of course, is a matching set of Mulberry luggage and a Bremont watch designed to mirror the dash clock and instrument cluster.

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As you may expect, this thoroughly reworked, limited-run Aston Martin of which only 25 will be built costs a pretty penny. Specifically, $664,800 (or £550,000) apiece. If you have the Aston and you're asking where to make your deposit, Callum Design is accepting "expressions of interest" via its website. Better beat the oil sheikhs and newly minted Chinese billionaires if you want one for yourself.

Charlie Magee - charliemagee.com