Aston Martin is celebrating the centenary of its oldest surviving car – ‘A3’ – by building a modern day tribute based on one of its most dynamic and exhilarating series production sports cars, the new Vantage Roadster.
It is 100 years since chassis No.3, now commonly known as ‘A3’, rolled gracefully out of the marque’s then production facility at Abingdon Road in Kensington, London. The third of five Aston Martin prototype cars constructed before series production started, the car was used extensively by co-founder of the business Lionel Martin.
Fitted with a 1.5 litre, 11 hp four cylinder side valve engine, ‘A3’ was often seen with a streamlined racing body and in its heyday took several light-car speed records including first place at the Essex Motor Club Kop Hill Climb in 1922, as well as lapping the famous Brooklands circuit at 84.5mph in 1923.
One hundred years on from its construction, ‘A3’ is the pride of the Aston Martin Heritage Trust’s (AMHT) collection, which acquired it courtesy of a generous donation at an auction in 2002. After its acquisition by the Trust, ‘A3’ was restored to be as close as possible to its original factory specification by Ecurie Bertelli, the pre-war Aston Martin specialist.
To commemorate the historic car’s major milestone, and in collaboration with their friends at the AMHT, Aston Martin HWM commissioned the bespoke division of the great British luxury car maker – Q by Aston Martin – to capture the spirit of ‘A3’ in the new Vantage Roadster.
This exceptional commission is being shown publicly for the first time later this month at an A3 centenary celebration event organized by the AMHT, with support from the Aston Martin Owners’ Club.
The AMHT’s ambitious celebration will take place on Saturday 26 June at the Dallas Burston Polo Club, Southam, Warwickshire. A number of hugely rare and highly prized Aston Martin models will be on show in a carefully curated timeline leading visitors on a guided tour through the fascinating era-themed car parks.
Aside from ‘A3’ itself – the star of the show, of course, fresh from a comprehensive restoration by pre-eminent pre-war Aston Martin specialists Ecurie Bertelli – the displays will include:
• Pre-war Aston Martin models
• Pre-war Lagonda vehicles
• Feltham era members of the DB2 family
• Newport Pagnell six cylinder cars, to include DB4, DB5, DB6 and DBS
• A V8 showcase covering the period 1968-2000 – Saloon, Volante, Vantage, Lagonda and Virage
• Aston Martin Tickford specials – Frazer Metro, Tickford Capri
• DB7 & V12 Vanquish
• Gaydon VH-era sports cars to include examples of DB9, Vantage, Rapide, and Vanquish, as well as appearances by rarities such as the One-77, Cygnet and Aston Martin Vulcan
• Current range – Vantage, DB11, DBS Superleggera, and DBX
As the world’s longest serving Aston Martin dealership it is perhaps fitting that HWM has the honour of commissioning the unique Vantage Roadster being unveiled today. Based in Walton on Thames, the business was established in 1938 and the business can today still be found in the same building it first occupied in 1948.
Using the unrivalled expertise of Q by Aston Martin, the ultimate personalisation service delivered by the marque, Aston Martin HWM and the AMHT have created a beautiful, bespoke sports car that combine heritage details with some of the very latest Aston Martin technology and engineering.
Carefully judged design features inside and out nod to ‘A3’s significance with highlights including a unique grille with bright aluminium surround and black square mesh portraying the retro finished look of ‘A3’. Aston Martin’s heritage badge, used at the time of launch of the ‘A3’, is also featured on the mesh.
Unique side fender panels fixed with a saddle leather strap take design inspiration from the exposed aluminium bonnet and bonnet strap seen on the 1921 car. The hand polished panel has been painstakingly finished by Ecurie Bertelli, the leading specialist in pre-war Aston Martin models. Adding to this design is the engraved ‘No 3’ as a representation of the stamping seen on the original. Additionally, the exclusive specification also features a set of bronze brake calipers, representing the bronze detailing on ‘A3’, whilst also complementing the bespoke 20-Inch Lightweight Forged Gloss Black wheels.
Inside, micro-perforated fluted seats along with the embroidered heritage Aston Martin script on the rear cubby lid – the same script used by Aston Martin in 1921 – further celebrates the centenary while lifting the Obsidian Black interior specification are the Chestnut Tan leather accents and Chestnut Tan Contrast stitching.
Taking inspiration from the brass features seen throughout the ‘A3’s interior, are the Vantage Roadster’s bespoke rotaries. These have been specially cast from brass to create a heritage ambience, while on the centre console is an embossed period correct heritage Aston Martin logo.
Simon Lane, Director of Q and Special Project Sales at Aston Martin, said: “It is only right that this great marque takes the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of its oldest surviving model and I am thrilled that my team, working with the AMHT and Aston Martin HWM, have been able to create this tasteful yet suitably exhilarating tribute to our historic forebear.”
Orders are now being taken for the ‘A3’ Vantage Roadster, strictly limited to three examples via Aston Martin HWM.