Speedsters by their very nature and, some might say, even their name, tend to come with a slightly retro vibe, and the Aston Speedster is no different. The engineering may be cutting edge and the body materials almost entirely carbon-fibre, but the style itself evokes memories of an age when sportscars were simple, back to basics machines. Or at least the best ones were.
The clearest design inspiration for the Speedster is the CC100 concept produced by Aston Martin in 2013 to celebrate its centenary. Although unrelated under the skin, the high waist, roofless, screen-free approach has been carried over, as has the long bonnet, short tail, double bubble canopy behind the seats and the central spine running through the car.
Further back than that Aston Martin’s designers cite the 1950s DBR1 racing car which won Le Mans at its fourth attempt in 1959, also securing the World Sports Car Championship that year, the first internationally important title the brand was to claim. Even earlier than that, there are meant to be elements of the 1953 DB3S design language incorporated into its mid-section.
In terms of engineering, to achieve those classic long nose, short tail proportions, Aston’s engineers started the project with a brief to marry the front end of a DBS Superleggera with, from the A-pillars rearward, the structure and underpinnings of a Vantage.
This hybrid approach results in a car with a bespoke wheelbase somewhere between that of a DBS and Vantage with the V12 engine of the former married to the eight speed automatic gearbox of the latter, mounted in traditional Aston fashion between the rear wheels. There is however a small catch here: the Vantage uses the old ZF75HP gearbox while the DBS has the later, ZF90HP transmission, with a maximum torque handling capacity of 900Nm (666lb ft), rather than 750Nm (555lb ft). As a result the V12 has had to be reined in just a bit, its power dropping from 725PS (533kW) to 700PS (515kW) and torque by around 150Nm (111lb ft) to protect the Vantage box.
In terms of suspension and brakes, it’s all based on the DBS, which means relatively soft spring rates and carbon ceramic discs ensuring that even at the documented top speed of 193mph, there’s plenty of safe stopping power available.