Nowadays we’re simply festooned with all sorts of mid-engine Aston Martin news. Valkyrie this, Valkyrie that. But it’s not the first Aston with the engine in the proper spot, far from it. That belongs to the Aston Martin AMR1, a Group C race car with a fine carbon fiber chassis and and a 700-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 thumping behind the driver’s head.

While I admittedly didn’t know much about this car to start out with, luckily I had my esteemed colleague Raphael Orlove to both educate me and hurl cruel insults in my general direction. Though he is wise and learned, he is a monster who cannot be trusted with the fragilities of the human heart.

Though the AMR1 was never as successful as it should have been, what with its top finish being a fourth place at Brands Hatch, it’s arguable that it shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Aston Martin back in the 1980s wasn’t the maker of sleek carbon fiber supercars we all know and love today, but rather a much smaller workshop building quirky GT cars that were often confused for Mustangs. A wild Group C effort for Le Mans, then, was entirely out of the ordinary. A lot of interesting people also feature in its story, including Alain de Cadenet. Yes, that Alain de Cadenet, of Victory by Design fame:

The AMR1 is consistently a story of not what was, but what could have been. It may have even had a hand in the creation of the vaunted Saleen S7, though that is disputed.

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But disputes aren’t in the spirit of Group C-smas, are they?

No, only racing is. And laughter. Hahahahaha RACING.

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

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