This Is The Difference 100 Years Makes At Aston Martin

The company is paying tribute to one of its oldest models with a limited-run release.

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Photo: Aston Martin

Aston Martin is celebrating its centennial with another version of a production car that nods to its history. The carmaker will honor both itself and its oldest surviving sports car, the A3, with a dressed-up Vantage Roadster.

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That sounds like a jab, but I promise I don’t mean it that way.

Aston Martin has proven it makes even cooler versions of its cars when it draws inspiration from its distant past, and this Vantage Roadster is no different. It’s really a great example of how far the company has come in one-hundred years:

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Photo: Aston Martin

Aston Martin gave a bit of background about the machine that inspired this new release, and even briefly referenced the location of the photoshoot for these two cars, Brooklands, which is itself steeped in motorsport history:

It is 100 years since chassis No.3, now commonly known as ‘A3’, rolled gracefully out of the marque’s then production facility at Abingdon Road in Kensington, London. The third of five Aston Martin prototype cars constructed before series production started, the car was used extensively by co-founder of the business Lionel Martin.

Fitted with a 1.5 litre, 11 hp four cylinder side valve engine, ‘A3’ was often seen with a streamlined racing body and in its heyday took several light-car speed records including first place at the Essex Motor Club Kop Hill Climb in 1922, as well as lapping the famous Brooklands circuit at 84.5mph in 1923.

I chuckled to myself when I read the horsepower figure from the four-cylinder engine in the original, 11 horsepower! Compare that to the 503 HP of the eight-cylinder in the modern roadster and marvel at how far we’ve come. Not so fast, though! That A3 was able to lap the Brooklands at 84 MPH with its meager horsepower, and that’s pretty respectable.

That’s possibly why the A3 Vantage Roadsters will get respectable trim upgrades and subtle accents throughout, like bronze brake calipers, brass rotary dials and a heritage badge:

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Photo: Aston Martin
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The wheels look like a proper throwback design, too.

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Photo: Aston Martin
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Image for article titled This Is The Difference 100 Years Makes At Aston Martin
Photo: Aston Martin

The paint is probably the highlight here for me, though. It looks about average in the shade but when the light hits it, it just shimmers and looks incredible:

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Image for article titled This Is The Difference 100 Years Makes At Aston Martin
Photo: Aston Martin

The British carmaker is asking its Q division to make just three of these A3 Vantage Roadsters. It could be a playful reference to the original Chassis No. 3, as Aston refers to it, but it’s probably the carmaker’s excuse to make as few of these as possible while making as much profit as possible. It’s a scarcity tactic.

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There’s also no word on pricing yet. It’s likely to be an eye-watering amount anyway and I kind of prefer not to know, so that I don’t sully my fondness for these rare roadsters.

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Photo: Aston Martin

DISCUSSION

By
BonaContention

84mph with 11hp would be impressive even if the car was made of gossamer thread and dreams.
The 11hp is likely the RAC hp figure, which was a number based purely on engine size, used for taxation purposes.
The ‘real’ hp is probably 40 or 50.