In celebration of its 110th anniversary Aston Martin has revealed its latest creation, the Valour – a spectacular, ultra-exclusive V12-engined, manual transmission special edition built to honour the marque’s long tradition of superlative front-engined sports cars and delight purists who crave undiluted and visceral driving experiences.
Speaking of its new special edition, Aston Martin Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll said: “Valour is a celebration of Aston Martin’s passion for driving and extraordinary heritage, but it is also emblematic of today’s vibrant and revitalised brand. A modern icon that fuses classic character with contemporary execution, Valour captures the essence of excitement and exclusivity that defines this storied automotive marque. A showcase for our world-class design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities, Valour is further proof of Aston Martin’s position as the driver’s champion and maker of the world’s most exciting, exclusive and desirable ultra-luxury high-performance cars’.
The marque says the Valour is aimed at those who relish a truly involving driving experience, with the Valour’s commitment to era-defining performance and stimulation is second to none. The only front-engined V12 sports car available with a manual transmission, its purist approach is unique in 2023 and a thrilling tribute to a golden era of driving. Certainly by the images shown, it looks to be stunning.
Inspired by the original V8 Vantage and magnificent Vantage-based RHAM/1 ‘Muncher’ Le Mans racer from 1980, it boasts the unbridled brawn so typical of Aston Martin’s ultimate sports cars. Machines like the 1990s twin supercharged V600 Vantage; for a time the world’s most powerful production car. Immaculate design and flawless execution echoes that of the exquisite One-77 supercar, while its intense driver-centric character connects Valour to the one-off Victor.
Benefitting from a unique powertrain calibration, Valour’s immense power and torque outputs are unrestrained, offering the driver full performance and utmost control in every gear. A mechanical limited-slip differential enhances the sense of direct analogue connection between car and driver, with the added support and reassurance of electronic traction and stability control systems. Valour’s Driving Modes – Sport, Sport+ and Track – have also been tuned to offer meticulously judged throttle response, torque management and sound character.
Underlining its dynamic credentials Valour has received a bespoke suspension, with adaptive dampers, springs and anti-roll bars all honed specifically to the car. Wheel alignment geometry has dedicated camber, castor and toe settings. These characteristics ensure Valour possesses distinct and clearly defined ride and handling qualities. A road car first and foremost, this means successfully striking a sporting balance of taut, precise vertical body control and resolute resistance to roll, while offering the compliance to shine on great driving roads.
With production limited to just 110 cars globally, Valour’s rarity ensures it will be amongst the most collectable of all Aston Martins. A mouth-watering end-of-an-era specification – which mates the epic 715PS/753Nm twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 to a bespoke six-speed manual transmission for the very first time – guarantees a truly absorbing experience and secures Valour’s place in the pantheon of all-time great driver’s cars.
Further honing its unique dynamic character, Valour’s custom body structure features front and rear shear panels, a rear suspension tower strut brace and fuel tank bracing. These elements maximise both torsional and lateral stiffness, providing the suspension with an optimised platform in order to deliver more precise body control and increased refinement. In addition, a new steering system removes unwanted sources of compliance to give the driver even greater sense of detailed feel, connection and immediacy.
With standard-fit Carbon Ceramic Brakes, Valour has ample stopping power courtesy of front discs measuring 410mm x 38mm and gripped by 6-piston calipers. At the rear 360mm x 32mm discs are paired with 4-piston calipers. Offering increased braking performance and a significant 23kg reduction in un-sprung mass versus steel brakes, these CCB discs are engineered to resist brake fade at temperatures up to 800 degrees, enabling the driver to explore Valour’s full performance potential with maximum confidence and precise control.
Completing Valour’s impressive hardware package are a set of beautiful 21” lightweight forged alloy ‘Honeycomb’ wheels, which are fitted with the very latest AML-specific Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tyres – 275/35 R21 front tyres and 325/30 R21 on the rear – for inspired handling and road-holding in wet or dry conditions.
Simon Newton, Aston Martin’s Director of Vehicle Performance, said: “Inspired by the iconic, muscle cars from our past, we have endowed Valour with an abundance of power and torque, while using modern technology and engineering to make that performance more exploitable and enjoyable. A big part of honouring that driver-pleasing character was mating our fabulous V12 engine to a manual transmission. It was a unique part of the brief and the end result is something truly unforgettable; a state-of-the-art driver’s car that thrives on being pushed to its limits and has the true heart and soul of a timeless analogue classic’.
Those immense performance capabilities and intense driving characteristics are vividly expressed in Valour’s broad stance and highly developed physique. Made entirely from carbon fibre the bodywork marries Aston Martin’s contemporary design language with instantly recognisable cues from the iconic 1970s V8 Vantage. The result is bold and unmistakable from any angle.
The clamshell bonnet features a large ‘horse shoe’ vent and twin NACA ducts to provide ample ventilation for the twin-turbocharged V12 that sits beneath. Aston Martin’s iconic grille shape has been evolved to enhance both form and function. Its central section is defined by aluminium strakes, while large carbon fibre intakes on either side feed the engine and brakes with cool air. They also frame the classically inspired round LED headlights, unique to Valour and which sit beneath rakish eyebrow-like grille with menacing effect.
Modern aerodynamic thinking has been effortlessly incorporated into the design, with expert management of the airflow optimising stability while achieving a uniquely assertive design. The prominent front splitter and front fender vents incorporated into Valour’s flanks work in harmony with the rear screen panel’s featuring vortex generating exoblades, and elegantly upswept Kamm tail and prominent diffuser to achieve aerodynamic balance.
The rear-end also features a dramatic tail-light graphic, with clusters of LED light blades (six on each side) echoing the ground-breaking Valkyrie hypercar. A full-width aluminium accent – milled from a solid billet and polished to a flawless finish – delineates the rear-end, separating the upper and lower sections to dramatic effect. Positioned between the deep elements of the rear diffuser is the centrepiece of Valour’s extraordinary rear design; a triple tailpipe exhaust system fabricated from lightweight stainless steel. With a wall thickness of less than 1mm this special tubing makes a 7kg weight saving versus a traditional system, yet emits a gloriously heavyweight soundtrack.
Valour’s celebration of Aston Martin’s heritage continues inside, with a timeless two-seater cockpit of uncommon simplicity and seductive tactility. Central to this is the manual transmission gear lever. With a choice of machined aluminium, titanium, carbon fibre or walnut for the gearknob, and an exposed shift mechanism to emphasise the mechanical connection, Valour majors on delivering the physical and emotional engagement that has been lost to progress.
Masterful use of materials has long been an Aston Martin hallmark, so it’s no surprise to find Valour’s interior shines with original and highly effective combinations from which customers can create their own unique specification. For example, traditional woollen tweed inspired by the seat coverings of Aston Martin’s 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 provide a wonderful contrast against the high-tech weave of carbon fibre used to form the shells of Valour’s lightweight performance seats, bespoke door cards, fascia air vents, upper centre console and transmission tunnel.
Further personalisation comes in the form of a flexible method of livery customisation. Separating Valour’s body into four areas – front, bonnet, sides and rear – clients may choose from an extensive array of hand-painted stripes and graphics designs, which can be applied in any one of 21 paint colours.
Should a customer wish to go beyond the standard palette of Valour options then they may engage the services of Q by Aston Martin to create a truly bespoke specification. Examples of this include design of a one-off livery, fully exposed 2×2 twill carbon fibre bodywork with a choice of red, blue or green tint, painted wheels, Mokume carbon fibre interior detailing or a choice of Johnsons of Elgin tweed and cashmere fabrics for the seats and headlining.
Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin’s Director of Design, said: “At Aston Martin our design is always progressive, but when it comes to celebrating a significant milestone – in this instance our 110th birthday – we allow ourselves a little latitude. Consequently, Valour is gloriously unapologetic; an old-school brute refined and reimagined through the lens of 2023. Making a return to a chiselled shape, moving away from the more sculptural forms that define current series production Aston Martin’s, with bold details and modern materials root in the present. We were keen to ensure its looks reflect the driving experience. The raw physicality of the shape should tell you all you need to know about the ferocious performance and analogue thrills of taming a 715PS manual transmission sports car, yet the clear use of the latest technology points to a car with modern manners and exceptional dynamic capabilities”.
Valour production is due to commence at Aston Martin’s Gaydon Headquarters in Q3 of 2023, with first deliveries scheduled to begin during Q4 2023. Poised to become one of the most coveted cars in Aston Martin’s unrivalled canon of iconic front-engined special series sports cars, Valour is a precious collector’s piece that demands to be driven.
Certainly one for the collection if you’ve got the funds. I do enjoy Aston’s new take on car design and the way its taking the business forward, long may it continue.