Seven Favorite Aston Martins from the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed


The fine folks behind Goodwood understandably have a penchant for British cars, so it’s no surprise there was a large showing from some of the most visible Brit brands. Aston Martin was particularly exuberant, firing-up some seriously special cars for the occasion. Here are our favorite Astons that graced Lord March’s estate this year.

Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro

Apparently, the track-only, 800-hp, race-ready Vulcan wasn’t hardcore enough. A product of the newly-formed Aston Martin Racing (AMR) division, the AMR Pro package reworks some of the Vulcan’s aerodynamic bits.

Up front, the changes are relatively subtle — new louvered panels situated just above the front wheels, tuning vanes for the front splitter, lighter front engine cover (sheds 11 pounds), and new sharp canards on the front fascia. Around back, the car gains a new dual-plane wing, incorporating some extra Gurney flaps.

There’s no extra power, but when your car already packs 800 hp and makes close to 30 percent more downforce than the competition-spec Vantage GTE, who cares?

1972 Aston Martin DBS “Sotheby Special”

There aren’t many, but over the course of the 100 years of existence, Aston Martin has produced some real stylistic stinkers. Still, not even the arrow-straight Lagonda of the ‘70s or the Cygnet city car holds an ugly, dirty candle to the Sotheby Special.

We’ve written about this model before, when one was discovered languishing in a barn and summarily put up for sale. Initially, this was a one-off promotional model commissioned b the W.O. Wills tobacco company from Ogle Design, the firm behind the goofy Bond Bug and the admittedly handsome Reliant Scimitar.

The result was this strange design that was just as weird inside as it was out. The rear seats, or should we say “seat,” was a strange canted design that was suitable for just one passenger. Around back, an array of circular taillights gradually lit up upon braking, the amount illuminated depending on how hard the driver pressed the pedal.

Aside from the original car, three more were commissioned by private buyers for significant cost.

1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Arnolt Bertone Spyder

Put a gun to our head, and we’d probably pick this Arnolt-Aston Spyder out of the other Astons on this list. It’s an impeccable example of the short run of Bertone-bodied DB2/4s commissioned by S.H. Arnolt, a well-known car importer, dealer, and builder.

If the Arnolt name seems familiar, you might recall the later Arnolt-Bristol from the same era, each built on Bristol 404 chassis and powered by Bristol six-cylinder engines. The Arnolt-Astons followed the same line of logic, only these had much more valuable and performance-oriented bones than the relatively brutish Bristols.

Each car arrived wearing bodywork penned by Franco Scaglione, Bertone’s newest rising star at the time. Despite the stunning design and excellent drivetrain, only four official Arnolt-Astons were built, along with three subsequent cars a few years later.

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

As far as Astons go, it’s hard to find a more prestigious, desirable, and sought-after model than a real-deal DB4 GT Zagato. Historically, when Brits and Italians team up for cars, the results are usually spectacular, the DB4 GT Zagato included.

In 1960, Zagato was charged with reshaping and redesigning the popular DB4, resulting in a limited run of just 20 cars. As the years passed, demand rose, and Aston released an additional two runs for exceptionally wealthy enthusiasts.

Aston Martin DB11 V8

If you prefer German efficiency over Italian style, make sure you check out the new V-8 option for the DB11. That’s right – for the first time in 17 years, you can buy a “big” Aston with a V-8.

Better yet, it’s not the ancient 4.7-liter in the current Vantage V8. This is the M178, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 employed by Mercedes-AMG in its hottest cars. Output is the same as the Mercedes-AMG C63 S, with 503 hp and a mighty 516 lb-ft of torque. Power is ripped to the rear wheels through a ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission.

It’s less potent than the 600-hp, 5.2-liter twin-turbo V-12 available at the top end of the DB11 range, but it saves the buyer $17,000. Performance is still impressive — 0-60 mph arrives in a scant 4.0 seconds, and it wont stop advancing until it smacks into 187 mph.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro

We get it – you just can’t seem to scrounge together $2.3 million for a Vulcan. For you peasants without billions to spend, the Vantage AMR Pro is the next logical step from Aston. It’s the same mental track-only package, just presented in a dowdy Vantage body with a V-8 instead of the V-12.

All jokes aside, the Vantage AMR Pro is seriously capable. The excruciatingly beautiful Vantage body is widened, cut, and sculpted with a new front fascia and all manner of aerodynamic bits to ensure this is nearly as capable as the Vantage GTE. Power comes from the competiton-tune 4.7-liter V-8, pushing out 503 hp.

Whereas 23 Vulcans were made, only seven Vantage AMR Pros will exists. You’d better get in line.

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Bertone “Jet”

It’s incredibly difficult to improve on the design of ‘60s Aston Martins, but as Zagato and Bertone prove, it’s possible. We saw the fruits of Zagato’s efforts earlier, so here’s a look at Bertone’s attempt.

It’s no Arnolt-Aston, but the unique “Jet” coupe appears to be so perfectly proportional, it’s unbelievable. The delicious body lines were penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who later went on to design the De Tomaso Mangusta, BMW M1, and DeLorean DMC-12.

Underneath, it’s powered by the same powerful running gear as a DB4 GT, so performance was stellar for the time.

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