Musings on the Motoring World

Aston Martin Callum Vanquish 25 – A designer’s restomod

My parents used to say, “You don’t get second chances in an exam”. That much is true, you don’t get to go back and correct your work. However, if you work for a car company, second chances are plenty, it is usually called a voluntary recall. Though you will never see recalls for rectifying aesthetics because that will be going down a rabbit hole. That exclusion makes the Aston Martin Callum Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged an interesting exception.

What is the Aston Martin Callum Vanquish 25?

Aston Martin Callum Vanquish 25

The lengthy named Aston Martin Callum Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged is a “reimagined” version of the 2001 Aston Martin Vanquish. As you might have already guessed, “reimagined” is just a fancier word for a restomod. Though it is not the age of the donor car that makes R-Reforged handiwork remarkable. It is the person responsible for directing the restomod, Ian Callum, who designed it in the first place.

Callum, who had recently retired from penning gorgeous Jaguars and Land Rovers, improved upon the original’s exterior and interior details. While the Vanquish’s beefcake proportions have been maintained, some of the car’s finer details were enhanced. One of which is a single-piece carbon-fibre side window surround, a component that couldn’t be produced back in the 1990s.

While the exterior tweaks are subtle, it is the interior that cops the most noticeable aesthetic improvement. Though the interior of late-1990s Astons was as beautiful and well built as a wax statue in a sauna. So it wasn’t that hard to improve it in the first place.

A second chance with modern aesthetics

Without the limitations of Aston’s woeful parts bin selection, Callum was free to modernise the interior with better materials. With an interior retrimmed in Scottish Bridge of Weir leather, brushed and polish dark chrome detailing, and topped off with a removable clock from Bremont, the Callum Vanquish 25 looks as good as a modern Aston should. Not only that, but the seating position has also been improved with the fitment of lower and more ergonomic seats.

All in all, R-Reforged claims the Callum Vanquish 25 features over 350 engineering, material, and design changes. Some of these changes were not just aesthetics. According to R-Reforged, its engineers had clocked in over 32,000km of testing to fine-tune its handling. The result is tuned Bilstein dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars, a 60mm wider track, and a 10mm lower ride height.

As for the engine, airflow is improved via ducts that channel air from the bonnet vents into its carbon-fibre airbox. Couple that with software improvements and new camshafts, and the Vanquish’s 5.9-litre V12 produces 433kW, 45kW more than before. Customers will have a choice to pair the engine with a manual, semi-automatic shifter, or a good old torque converter.

Big numbers for the reborn Aston

Being essentially a restomod, R-Reforged do not plan to make many examples of the Callum Vanquish 25. As its name implies only 25 examples will be built. Whereas prices are reportedly to start at £450,000 for those with a donor car, or £550,000 for those without. As far as restomods go that is a high price to pay for a car that wasn’t exactly an icon.

A diamond in the rough

The original Vanquish was the last Aston Martin to roll out before Ulrich Bez’s ambitious modernisation plan transformed the company. Unfortunately, it never quite enjoyed the spotlight long enough as it was quickly overshadowed by Bez’s DB9 and V8 Vantage. Next to the two new Astons, the Vanquish looked brutish and ancient. Not to mention its hand-built nature meant it felt that way as well.

On the flip side, it isn’t every day that a designer would return to their handiwork to modernise it. Yes, most of the designers of today’s classic car icons are inconveniently dead, but that is beside the point. The Vanquish was never quite perfect to begin with, and to be given a second chance not just by anyone, but by the auteur of modern automotive design, is a tantalising recipe. It makes you wonder which designer should return to have a second crack at their creations. Looking at you Chris Bangle, you know the Z4 Coupe is not perfect.

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