Image credits: © Aston Martin.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Bertone Jet 2

A 'custom-built' vehicle in a 'made-to-measure' suit by a great tailor based on a production vehicle of great prestige. This, very briefly, is the Bertone Jet 2 (the name is a tribute to the Aston Martin Jet created by Nuccio Bertone in 1961, based on the Aston Martin DB4 GT as a one-off). A Concept car developed from the Aston Martin Vanquish, the Bertone Jet 2 has the same mechanical lay out, the floorpan structure (the wheel base has been lengthened by 210 mm. to allow two rear seats to be added to the original version) and all the BIW elements 'under the skin' to limit investments and not alter the elements which are subject to homologation. Bertone Jet 2 expresses the concept of a modern 'custom-built' car. In other words a vehicle which, on the basis of a non-perceptible carry over nucleus, is characterized by a completely new body. In this sense the Bertone Jet 2 re-proposes, in modern terms, a product linked to the traditional history of Italian coachbuilders which dressed the most enchanting engines of the time in 'haute couture'.

In recent years, the public has determined a marked division of the market in niche products. This diversification in demand entails massive economic investments for the manufacturers. The Bertone Jet 2 is an example of how Bertone could help the manufacturers to diversify their own range by preparing 'custom-built' vehicles, exactly as they did in the fifties and sixties, with all the quality and safety standards of a modern automobile manufacturer. The proposal expressed by the Bertone Jet 2 has been made sustainable from the manufacturer's point of view, thanks to a maximum synergy with the components of the original model. From the engineering point of view, Bertone has respected all the structural limits of the original vehicle, the modification of which would have entailed high levels of investment (which would not have allowed to contain the price difference of the custom-built vehicle). At the same time, the finished vehicle is characterized by a specific identity which is so strong that it can be presented as a new model. To the hypothetical final customer, the decision to work with limited investments could translate into a reasonable price increase, to justify the possession of an exclusive object, a vehicle for a few refined connoisseurs.

The point of departure for the styling definition was the search of a Bertone identity with respect to the classic Aston Martin features. The car body, originating from sinuous lines and tight 'geometrical' features, is a synthesis of the two brand identities. The flowing shape follows a forward leaning belt line which rises towards the tail; a graphical treatment which enhances the physical power of the Bertone Jet 2 through flowing and natural phrasing. The idea of movement is resumed by a large transparent roof, which emphasizes the dynamism and the impetus of the vehicle. In the front part the classic Aston Martin grille remains, with additional air ducts to cool the disc brakes. The flush cover headlights propose an evolved graphic with respect to the original model. The rear view focuses on the vertical tailgate, the outline of which repeats the shape of the Aston Martin grille.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Bertone Jet 2
The Bertone Jet 2 presents the classic interior configuration of the 2+2 coupé, made possible by a sizeable increase in the wheelbase with respect to the original model. The real flexibility of use of the 'grand tourer' is expressed also by means of fitting solutions such as the two rear seats, which fold and store away in the floor, to make way for an exceptional loading space for a vehicle of this category. The finishing in matt pear-wood, satinized aluminium trim with upholstery in leather, embossed using an innovative procedure, are a tribute to the luxurious Italian motorboats of the fifties and sixties, but also an ironical wink to the hypothetical customer of this kind of vehicle, who is used to surround himself with precious materials.

Source - Aston Martin / Berton
Playing a huge role in returning Aston Martin, a classic British carmaker, to both financial success and technological sophistication, the Vanquish surely delivered. Like any proper Aston Martin, the Vanquish not only had drop-dead gorgeous styling, but also a certain spice with muscular fenders and a wide, squat stance. It is considered to be the most masculine of Aston's classic design. Loosely based on the Virage/V8 platform, the V12 Vanquish instead featured thoroughly modern technology.

Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin was originally called Bamford & Martin when the two had joined forces the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London. At this location they also serviced GWK and Calthorpe vehicles. Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton and the two men chose to make their own cars.

The first car dubbed Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. Martin and Bamford acquired premises at Henniker Place in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Unfortunately production couldn't begin due to the outbreak of World War I. Martin had joined the Admiralty, and Bamford joined the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company.

A grand tourer, the Aston Martin Vanquish was designed by Ian Callum and was manufactured by Aston Martin. Introduced in 2001 the Vanquish was Aston Martin's flagship vehicle. Appearing as the official James Bond car in the movie ‘Die Another Day' the Vanquish rose to worldwide recognition. In 2007 the Vanquish was taken out of production. The Aston Martin DBS V12 temporarily replaced it at the top of Aston's lineup, pending the 2010 replacement.

In the wake of a GT concept car, the Project Vantage concept car let to development of the Vanquish. The Vantage concept was introduced with a V-12 engine at the North American International Auto Show in January of 1998. In 2000 the production model was debuted and the series production began in 2001. It wasn't until 2005 that the car received any major updates when the Vanquish S model debuted at the 2004 Paris Auto Show. The S model came with more power, new wheels and slight styling revisions.

The Vanquish Ultimate Edition was introduced to celebrate the end of the Vanquish production run. Aston Martin announced that the final 40 cars built would have a new ‘Ultimate Black' exterior color, personalized sill plaques and upgraded interior. The Ultimate Edition was the first Vanquish available with a conventional stick-shift manual transmission. In July of 2007 production of the Aston Martin Vanquish was ended and coincided with the company's Newport Pagnell factory after 49 years of operation. The final car was the Vanquish S Ultimate Edition in black.
A high-performance coupe, the Aston Martin V12 was produced from 2002 until 2006. The original model was joined by the more powerful S Variant in 2005, and only the S model was available for the final year of production. The V12 Vanquish main body structure included aluminum sections bonded and riveted around a central carbon-fiber transmission tunnel. To keep the weight down Aston utilized carbon fiber A-pillars, all-aluminum suspension and aluminum body panels. Despite all of this, the Vanquish still weighed in at little more than 2 tons.

Designed at Ford Research in the U.S. was the V12 engine in the Vanquish. The Vanquish's V12 engine shares some of the components and design elements with the 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6. The engine even shares the same bore and stroke dimensions and for this reason many people incorrectly dismiss the V12 as just ‘two Duratecs linked together'. It is correct though that the AM V12 shares components with the ‘Duratec' engine design. The standard Vanquish's 6.0-liter V12 produced 460 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque.

The powertrain of the Vanquish was also quite innovative, with a high-performance 6.0-liter V12 engine that first made 460 hp, and later 520. To get that power to the rear wheels there was an automated-clutch, six-speed sequential-shift manual gearbox that utilized F1-style paddle shifters. The V12 Vanquish also came with 19-inch wheels with performance tires, power seats and a 10-speaker in-dash CD changer audio system. Also standard a navigation system, multi-level heated seats and Bluetooth connectivity on the 2006 V12 Vanquish S, as well as the Sports Dynamic suspension, steering and braking package.

The inside of the V12 was finished quite lushly in the best leather hides and offered a nice variety of color options. The center control stack was revised in 2006 to match the current, newer batch of Aston Martin's. Earlier on the Vanquish had borrowed much of its switchgear from the Ford family parts supply. There was quite a substantial amount of room inside the Vanquish when compared to other exotic sports cars and the Vanquish was available with a choice of 2+2 or strictly two-seat interiors.

Only 300 hand-built V12 Vanquish models were produced each year and each model is fully customizable to the customer's requirements.

By Jessica Donaldson

Concepts by Aston Martin

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