Aston Martin is deadly serious about building production versions of its V12-engined Vantage RS concept, as these spy pictures of early production versions at the Nurburgring prove. The car, which squeezes the DB9’s 6.0-litre, V12 engine into a V8 Vantage chassis, was revealed in experimental form last December as part of Aston’s launch of its new design studio at Gaydon.Aston insiders say the car — driven exclusively by Autocar last month — will be an ultra low-volume project, but decisions are still being made about exactly how many cars to make. There are two ideas: to build about 100 ‘extreme’ units, related closely to the V8-powered N24 lightweight racer and only just road-legal, or to make 300-400 better trimmed and equipped versions, with slightly more compliant suspension and a little less engine power than the 600bhp race-bred unit in the prototype we tested. The rarer option would be priced around £150,000; the more road-oriented option would cost between £135,000 and £140,000. Aston wants to have the Vantage RS on sale by the end of 2009, by which time new FIA GT race regulations may have been finalised to give the car a competition future as well. All in all, the fastest-ever Aston looking bound for a big future.