What is it?
Ultimately, there’s a bloke called Max Hoffman who’s to blame for this.
He’s the man who imported Porsches into America in the 1950s and who advised the factory that what was needed over there was a stripped-out, cut-down version of the 356 looking as racy as possible. In that moment, both the name and the cult of the Speedster was born. And there have been plenty since, whether they’ve been called it or not.
The roofless supercar speedster concept is more recent, dating back I guess to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss of 2009, but this is Aston Martin’s first unless, of course, you count the 2013 CC100 concept from which much of its style is clearly derived. This Speedster costs £765,000, just 88 will be built and a ‘handful’ remain available well over a year after its announcement. Sign of the times I guess.
I wish you could see it for real, because even the best pictures fail to do justice to the car’s visual impact. But the Speedster’s not just got presence: it’s beautiful, too.
The whole is stunning but it’s the details you really pick up on: the carbon wing vents, the gorgeous embroidered headrests, inner door skins that are a work of art by themselves, those clear panels in the double-bubble rear deck… I could go on, probably for the rest of this story, but you get the picture.
But what, exactly, is the Speedster? In mechanical terms, it’s what you get after a DBS and Aston Martin Vantage emerge from round the back of the bike sheds looking slightly smug, a touch red in the cheek and rearranging their outer garments. About a year’s worth of development later, out pops the Speedster. Genetically, it owes most of its structure aft of the A-pillar to the Vantage, while forward of that point is pure DBS, including its 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 engine.
The DBS also donates its suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes, but not its gearbox because that’s from the DB11. This is significant because the Vantage ’box isn’t strong enough to deal with the DBS’s monster torque, so while it has most of the power (690bhp versus 715bhp for the DBS), its torque is over 100lb ft shy of the uncorked DBS motor's.