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2003 Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage Concept

The 2003 Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage Concept, unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, marked a significant milestone for Aston Martin, offering a glimpse into what would become one of its most successful models. Designed by Henrik Fisker, then the Director of Design at AML, the AMV8 Vantage concept showcased a sleek and modern two-seater sports car that set the stage for the brand's future direction.

The AMV8 Vantage concept introduced Aston Martin's innovative VH (vertical/horizontal) architecture. It featured a bonded-alloy platform composed of pressed alloy parts, castings, and extrusions. This platform was designed to provide a balance of rigidity and lightweight construction, serving as the foundation for future Aston Martin models, including the DB9 and the upcoming 2007 Vanquish.

At the heart of the concept was a Jaguar-derived 4.3-liter V8 engine, positioned in a front-mid configuration to achieve perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Anticipated to produce around 370 horsepower, the AMV8 Vantage promised exhilarating performance, with an estimated top speed exceeding 170 mph and a 0-60 acceleration time of around 5.0 seconds.

While the concept featured V12 Vanquish-style paddle shifters, the production V8 Vantage would later adopt a six-speed manual gearbox. Shortly afterward, the Prodrive-developed Sportshift with paddles was introduced.

Inside, the AMV8 Vantage boasts a luxurious interior, showcasing a blend of leather and aluminum accents. The cabin design prioritized bespoke craftsmanship, with instruments and switchgear inspired by exclusive watches and high-end audio equipment.

Despite its debut in Detroit, the AMV8 Vantage concept was constructed by DC Design of Mumbai, India, based on an early DB7 Vantage Volante platform. However, the concept retained the V12 engine, with its exterior design drawing inspiration from the muscular athleticism of Aston Martin's heritage.

Following its unveiling, the production V8 Vantage closely mirrored the concept, solidifying its status as a modern Aston Martin icon. Despite initial price estimations, the production model debuted with a higher price point, attracting eager customers and creating a substantial waiting list.

Today, the AMV8 Vantage concept is preserved by Aston Martin Lagonda under the care of the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, occasionally on display at the museum near Wallingford in Oxfordshire. This concept remains a testament to Aston Martin's commitment to innovation and craftsmanship, setting the stage for the brand's continued success in the automotive world.

Source & Images: Aston Martin