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Car Review

Aston Martin Valour review

810
Published: 02 Jul 2024
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Impossible to rationalise the price. Just savour the fact a V12 manual super-GT exists at all

Good stuff

Box-office looks, delicious manual shift, attention to detail… tweed seats anyone?

Bad stuff

A lot of money for a rebodied, re-gearboxed Vantage. And there’s now a rarer, lighter, faster version

Overview

What is it?

A 110th birthday pressie to Aston Martin, and the solution to a thorny problem of Aston’s own making. The Valour’s existence owes plenty to a previous one-off Aston for re-igniting the manual fuse: the magnificent Victor.

A bespoke commission from a mysterious Belgian buyer back in 2021, the Victor draped a Seventies Vantage-inspired body over the all-carbon skeleton and Cosworth-fettled vital organs of the One-77 supercar.

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That stunner was always hamstrung by its criminally laggy automated manual gearbox, so for Victor, Aston mercifully binned the actuators and paddles and supplied a six-speed manual centrepiece. We drove it. We adored it and thirsted for more. And we weren’t alone, which gave Aston Martin a first-world problem.

What to do when there’s an unruly queue of black card-waving clients rattling the factory gates, but you’ve solemnly promised Victor’s owner their car will remain unique? And besides, One-77 chassis hardly grow on trees. Neither do Cos-ified 836bhp V12s.

So, what’s the solution?

To rebody the limited-edition Aston Martin V12 Vantage from a couple of years ago – 333 units, all sold – in a Victor-like suit, and crucially swap in an equally dramatic manual gearbox.

The Valour sees the 5.2-litre biturbo V12 tuned to deliver 705bhp and 555lb ft: more than a Vantage or Speedster, less than a DBS. Aston doesn’t make any 0-62mph or top speed claims, because this isn’t a car about numbers. There’s no downforce ‘this’ or Nürburgring ‘that’ attached to the car. It’s a celebration of a rare recipe: big engine, manual gearbox.

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Certainly looks punchy…

You can see the Valour’s family resemblance to Victor from every, um, vantage point. The hooded, leering headlamps bookending a gargantuan whalefish grille. The upswept ducktail adorned with intricate multi-fin tail lights. The spiderweb wheels.

It’s not a classically elegant Aston Martin. It’s brutish and strange shape to trace your eyes across, with heavy-handed side skirts and a bizarrely lofty ground clearance. We love the clash of its slicked-back roof with the unapologetically butch details like the blistered extractor vent behind the front wheel. It’s like something David Attenborough would warn you about treading on in the Outback. “Beware the wrath of the red-lipped ridgeback white-spotted poison-frog of death.”

How much is it?

Over £1 million, we’re told. And of course, each of the 110 will be specced differently, so that price will only grow. For one as seen in our gallery, with bold lipstick, roundels on the doors, much glossy carbon and tweed seats, you’re unlikely to receive change from £1.5 mill.

That’s a lot for a rebodied Vantage.

It hasn’t put anyone off. Aston Martin says all examples were snapped up within two weeks of the car’s reveal, and it’s now working on 38 examples of an even lighter, more powerful, aero-honed version called the Valiant, which was apparently a commission from professional meme enthusiast and part-time F1 ace Fernando Alonso.

As ever, if you try to rationalise the price asked for a limited edition… it ain’t aimed at you. This is expensive because it’s rare. Because it’s the first time a twin-turbo V12 Aston has sported three pedals and a stick.

What's the verdict?

It feels like a worthy successor to the Vantage V600 of the 1990s: another heavyweight bruiser with more poke than was strictly advisable

Impossible to make a sensible case for, but laudable all the same just for existing, the Valour’s a very ‘Aston’ kind of Aston. After all, the DBX is vital for the bottom line and the Valkyrie is a technical showcase, but if you asked most folks on the street what is ‘an Aston’ chances are they’d say something with a huge Spitfire engine in the front, a swoopy coupe roofline, two seats, wide haunches and suave GT credentials.

The Valour’s in that wheelhouse. In fact, it feels like a worthy successor to the Vantage V600 of the 1990s: another twin-charged heavyweight bruiser with more poke than was strictly advisable, made in tiny numbers for collectors who prized its scarcity and the sense they were buying the last of a breed.

Hopefully, after the Valour and Valiant, Aston will continue to find space in its line-up for a car like this. Because even as technology advances and tastes change, it’ll never go out of fashion.

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