It’s a dream come true for petrolheads who love both understated style and complete control: Aston Martin offers a factory conversion service to ditch the Vanquish’s semi-automatic gearbox for a stick.

One of the hallowed clichés of motoring journalism, right up there with the sound of Ferrari V12’s and symphonies, is the Aston Martin as a British commando in a Savile

Row suit, elegant, understated, and ready to kick ass at short notice. And no modern Aston embodies the bespoke thug aesthetic more than the Vanquish, sadly out of production for almost three years now.


The one serious flaw of the big V was the gearbox, a pedal-operated semi-automatic. The Vanquish was introduced in 2001, decades ago on the scurried evolutionary timeline of supercars, and getting the feel of such gearboxes right was not properly worked out back then. It was only for the last 40 cars produced, for the Vanquish S Ultimate Editions, that a proper manual was made available.

However, if you think of manual gearboxes as tools of self-expression in the manner of manual cameras, Aston Martin offers a solution, albeit a rather expensive

one. The company will take your Vanquish, rip out the flappy pedals, and install a proper stick. The price? $17,000 for pre-2006 cars, $21,000 for post-2006 cars. Plus value added tax of 17.5%.


Yes, it’s the price of a new car, but think of the possibilities. The best-looking British car since the DB5, with one layer of abstraction less. A wish for plenty of petrol, plenty of driving skills, plenty of winding roads and grand tours.

Photo Credit: Ed Callow, CarSpotter, Sjoerd ten Kate (1, 2), Twinkie420. Hat tip to Patrick Parsons.