Aston Martin has revealed its 110th birthday present to itself - the Valour, jaw-dropping, 705 bhp V12 manual coupe heavily inspired by the one-off Victor. Just 110 examples will be built, expect each one to cost in excess of £1 million. Images by Tim Dunlop.
Rather excitingly or forebodingly, Aston Martin has defined the exclusive new model as having “A mouth-watering end-of-an-era specification” aimed at “purists who crave undiluted and visceral driving experiences.” Could this be the last V12 the company produces?
If so, the big engine is going out in style. The press release isn’t shy about harking back to the firm's illustrious past, in particular the early V8 Vantage, V600 Le Mans of the ‘90s and - it’s clear to see - the recent Victor commission.
Aston Martin Valour: Technical Features
But that's where the similarities end, at least with the Victor, because where that car was based upon a spare One-77 chassis with its 7.3-litre naturally aspirated V12, the Valour will use V12 Vantage underpinnings, meaning a 5.2-litre V12 boosted by twin-turbochargers. This will drive the rear wheels only via a bespoke manual transmission which also features a mechanical locking differential. The geometry, suspension and adaptive dampers will receive a custom setting, as will all the powertrain configurations. The power steering has also been re-calibrated to deliver more feedback, while carbon-ceramic brakes with six-piston callipers and 410mm front discs will help reign in the Valour’s 555 lb-ft of torque.
Meanwhile, the body panels are formed entirely from carbon fibre for a significant reduction in weight whilst also increasing torsional strength. Completing Valour’s hardware package are a set of 21” lightweight forged alloy ‘Honeycomb’ wheels, which are fitted with the very latest AML-specific Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tyres. Aston Martin claims the entire set-up of the car has been centred around delivering “a direct, analogue driving experience” that is a “road car first and foremost”.
Simon Newton, Aston Martin’s Director of Vehicle Performance, said: “Inspired by the iconic, muscle cars from our past, we have endowed Valour with an abundance of power and torque, while using modern technology and engineering to make that performance more exploitable and enjoyable. A big part of honouring that driver-pleasing character was mating our fabulous V12 engine to a manual transmission.”
Aston Martin Valour: Styling and Bespoke Customisation
Of the styling, Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin’s Director of Design, said: “Valour is gloriously unapologetic; an old-school brute refined and reimagined through the lens of 2023. Making a return to a chiselled shape, moving away from the more sculptural forms that define current series production Aston Martin’s, with bold details and modern materials rooted in the present. The raw physicality of the shape should tell you all you need to know about the ferocious performance and analogue thrills of taming a 715PS manual transmission sports car.”
Nurnberger and his team have made that gearbox the centrepiece of the car’s interior, with a choice of machined aluminium, titanium, carbon fibre or walnut for the gear knob, and an exposed shift mechanism to emphasise the mechanical connection and pull on the heart strings.
It is perhaps a little disappointing to see the Valour maintain the Vantage’s ageing dashboard architecture given the huge leap forwards made by the DB12, it will at least feature a re-trim in opulent materials with heavy involvement from the Q department. The show car features a unique woollen tweed inspired by the seat coverings of Aston Martin’s 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1, which contrast against lashings of carbon fibre used to form the shells of Valour’s lightweight performance seats, bespoke door cards, fascia air vents, upper centre console and transmission tunnel.
Aston Martin Valour: Price and Production
Valour production is due to commence at Aston Martin’s Gaydon Headquarters in Q3 of 2023, with first deliveries scheduled to begin during Q4. Each of the 110 cars is expected to cost well in excess of £1 million, before options and customisation. Don’t count on the Valour being the last collectors market Aston Martin, given how lucrative such spin-offs are, but there is a high likelihood this will be the last one to feature a V12 engine. That, and the fact that Aston Martin Lagonda itself is in the rudest of health in its storied 110 years, is surely a cause for celebration.