Correction: Thursday, January 21, 2021, 1:31 p.m. ET: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the option to retrofit Vane grilles to existing Vantages was new; it’s new for Aston Martin Works in the U.K., but has actually be offered by Aston Martin North America since March 2020. The original Hunter grille design also remains the default option on all Vantages from the factory, whether Coupe or Roadster. These errors have been corrected below.
Do you have a problem with the factory grille of the Aston Martin Vantage? Personally, I think it looks fine, but apparently some Vantage owners are offended by it, and they’ve taken to revising the front view of their elegant British sports cars with aftermarket alternatives.
If you do happen to drive a Vantage, you can now sleep soundly, as the company is offering a solution. Aston Martin Works — the automaker’s historic U.K. home of sorts — announced last week that it’s offering a replacement grille it calls the Vane, which can be fitted to existing cars at its body shop. The manufacturer has actually been performing these retrofits in North America since March last year, an Aston Martin representative confirmed to us, though it’s a new service for the historic Works location in the town of Newport Pagnell.
The Vane grille’s design is smoother and more traditional, with classic horizontal chrome strakes and black vertical supports that contradict the edgy, cavernous maw of the Vantage’s original Hunter design.
The result sort of ends up being a cross between what the Vantage originally launched with and the DB11's grille. In February 2020, the carmaker announced the Vane face would be offered as an option for both the Vantage Coupe and Roadster, as an alternative to the Vulcan-inspired Hunter mouth, which remains the default look from the factory. I like the newer getup, though I think it’s more suited for the drop-top, and the Coupe and track-focused AMR version are better served by the aggressive Hunter aesthetic. Aston is not listing a price for the conversion; if you have to ask, and all that.
Folks will naturally compare the Vantage’s alternative look with the aftermarket replacement built by a company called Revenant. The Revenant approach — a design that takes a different bumper cover — is odd to me because it gives the car two stacked mouths of equal size. I’m not sure which to look at; I’m also not sure if I should perceive the middle mouth as a nose. It confuses me, and I don’t love it.
Ultimately, it’s just weird to see a carmaker offer an alternative face for its car, even a high-luxury marque like Aston Martin that does so much bespoke work for its clients. Usually, companies stick to their guns to the bitter end, meeting ever-growing criticism with emboldened indignation, propelling a vicious spiral made worse with every snarky tweet. Aston Martin didn’t do that though, and for that, I give them props. Which grille do you prefer?