Ford took the complete control of Aston Martin in 1994, having helped see the Jaguar based DB& into production. However, Aston’s hand built flagship vehicle at the time was the Virage/ V8 series, which had been in production since 1989. So, in the mid 90s and with the global economy to pick up Ford decided it needed to plan a new flagship Aston Martin model. Up until then, the company’s cars had been powerful but very traditional. Ford and Aston decided that it would go down a much more high tech route and build a new car dubbed Project Vantage around an aluminum chassis. Aston Martin received a great deal of engineering help form Lotus, which had just launched the Elise roadster, whose chassis was made of aluninium extrusions and stamped sheets variously glued, welded and riveted together. The new Aston Martin followed the same recipe, though the widescreen pillars were made of carbon fiber. Ian Callum, who styled the DB7, was also responsible for the Vanquish. But unlike feline sister car, the Vanquish was dramatic and not a little brutal, though some argued this was more in keeping with the brand. The Vanquish was first shown as a concept in 1998, before being launched in 2001.
A big, heavy beast, it was powered by a huge V12 engine, driving a new automated six speed manual gearbox. This transmission was often criticized for a lack of smoothness, so Aston eventually offered a factory conversion to a conventional manual gearbox. A modified and more powerful Vanquish S was launched in 2005 and the Vanquish Ultimate Edition marked the end of the car’s life in 2007.