Cars like the Aston Martin Speedster deserve to be lusted after
While we were recording our last podcast before the Coronavirus outbreak forced us all indoors, I got in to an argument with the Ed about a certain type of cars. We were talking about the Geneva motor show that didn’t happen, again because of COVID-19, and one of the cars that really grabbed my attention was the Aston Martin Speedster. Okay, it was nothing revolutionary from Aston Martin — there’s the the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2, the Lamborghini Aventador J and much before any of them, the Sterling Moss edition of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren — this is a format of car that has been done before. But somehow, I think they are immensely cool cars that rightfully deserve a place on our bedroom walls.
Sirish, on the other hand, disagrees. They do not excite him enough, he says. Most of these cars are based on production cars that already exist in these carmakers’ lineups and what they are is essentially a radical restyle sans a roof and windscreen. And sure, for the most part, the are. The Sterling Moss was a rehash of the extremely desirable SLR. The Aventador J, well, it is quite obviously based on the Aventador. The Ferrari Monza SP1 and Monza SP2 are probably the most radical in their styling, but are based on the 812 Superfast. The Speedster? It is based on the Vantage, but they have gone and shoved the V12 from the DB11 under the hood. So yes, there’s loony styling but there’s also more juice.
Sirish isn’t a fan of these limited edition cars — even of the Ferraris that he normally goes gaga over. He wants more power. Better underpinnings. And cars like the Monza don’t cut it for him. The fact that they will be built in limited numbers and stashed away in a climate controlled bubble seems to drive him up the wall even more.
And that is precisely where I disagree. Firstly, I think this roadster format of car is inherently exciting. For example, the Chiron Pur Sport didn’t really do any tingling because its, well, a Chiron that now handles better. But these cars? They’re like motorcycles on four wheels. The lack of a windscreen puts you closer to the elements than any convertible can, and the unless you’re wearing some sort of eye-protection (I recommend a full blown helmet), you’re either going to go blind or wrap it around a tree. The engines sound probably sound better — full disclaimer, this is an assumption since I haven’t ever seen any of these cars, forget sat in them. And there’s the fact that they hark back to racecars of the 50s and 60s give them so much street cred. And who said anything about them not being driven, there are plenty of nutty owners who like to use their cars and use them well.
Special editions are becoming something of a rage among carmakers these days. The first one I had seen growing up was the Lamborghini Murcielago-Reventon twins, where the Reventon was the rarer, more expensive one while it was based on the regular production Murcielago. There’s a reason why they have found favour with carmakers. It is easy money. These cars don’t require significant, or sometimes any, re-engineering and very often it is just a case of fresh (often, exotic) bodywork. And the premiums that can be charged for that sort of thing are crazy! And when it comes to the Speedster, that V12 engine in a Vantage chassis should do enough to turn up the wick, and your excitement levels, shouldn’t it?