I must confess that I have long been mystified by the various ‘hardcore’ iterations of the Porsche 911. I’m not sure I know the difference between a GT2 and GT3.
But then I’m not sure I need to know and I’m not sure how many actual Porsche buyers are that well versed in the more arcane hard-core branches of the 911 family tree. This thought popped up in my mind after interviewing one of the chief engineers on Aston’s new Vantage V12 project.
Aston has one basic aluminium chassis design that comes in two sizes. It also has two basic engines, a V8 and V12. The smaller Vantage uses the smaller V8 and the bigger DB-series uses the bigger V12.
Why, then, decide to go to all the effort of putting the big engine in the small chassis? Is this not a costly and time-consuming mix-n-match too far? Just how much difference will this chassis and engine combination make in real-world driving conditions when compared to Aston’s existing models?
When Paul Barratt explained to me the extent to which the Vantage chassis had to be modified to get the V12 to fit, I was amazed. The whole front end of the VH platform was re-worked and, in just one example of the engineering effort, the V12’s sump had to be re-designed and slimmed down by 15mm.
Maybe I’m right off beam, and all 1000 examples of the V12 Vantage will be snapped up because they really have a distinct character.
Personally though, I’d have stuck with Julian Wiltshire’s excellent re-styling work and gone for a couple of sequential mini turbos on the Vantage’s existing V8 unit, which surely would have resulted in both a cheaper and more distinctive end result.