Some of the best cars out there are what could loosely be called the road racers. Those GPs, GRMNs, GT3s, Editions and CSLs that retain the usability of base models but ramp up the attitude with some choice upgrades. They won’t quite thrill like dedicated race cars, but they will make every mile on road or track that bit more memorable. Handy given the premium typically attached to them.
The Vantage GT12 was a great example of the road racer creed. Aston customers wanted brand representation after seeing so many Superleggeras, Scuderias and GT3s on their exclusive track days; with a successful V12 racer to celebrate as well, a Vantage GT3 made total sense. More power, less weight, motorsport-inspired aero and a very limited production run – job jobbed. Once the ‘GT3’ name had been swapped for ‘GT12’ after Porsche complained, of course.
Consequently, that description undersells what was achieved for the ultimate Vantage. Engine modifications to boost power from 573hp to 600hp included magnesium inlet manifolds and a titanium exhaust, for example; the Aerodynamics Pack was so aggressive it took 20mph off the top speed, with a huge carbon splitter and diffuser; the weight loss was severe enough to include manually adjustable bucket seats. In an Aston! Buyers could even opt for magnesium wheels, a carbon roof and polycarbonate windows, as a sign of intent. Up to 100kg could be taken out of the Vantage, down to 1,565kg, and 62mph came up in just 3.7 seconds.
Applying those upgrades to a car already as good as the V12 Vantage S made for an incredible track-focused Aston. “A terrific driver’s car”, read one review. “It’s raucous and loud when you want it to be yet acceptable company when you don’t.” The perfect road racer compromise, basically, even with the Speedshift automated manual letting the side down a bit. “A wonderful, characterful machine, brimming with sense of occasion” raved another first drive. All one hundred GT12s found customers pretty quick, even at £250k before options. It was deemed such a good idea that the GT12 was soon followed up by a GT8 equivalent. With time being called on that era of V8 and V12 Vantage soon after, both GTs are already fondly remembered as modern classic Astons. Even if not everyone bought into the cosmetic overhaul.
This GT12 is a very, very special one. Interestingly, just 28 cars of the 100-unit production run were allocated for the UK, which already makes this rare. But it’s also Alloro Green, said to be the only UK, right-hand drive car in the colour. With yellow accents this GT12 plays nicely to Aston’s motorsport history, and having only accrued 2,000 miles in seven years it presents flawlessly as well. Given some of the specs configured for both GT8 and GT12 (remember white with orange? Black and red? Green with more green?) this feels like one of the more successful.
With one Aston enthusiast owner from new, the GT12 has clearly been loved, kept in climate-controlled storage and serviced by either a main dealer or the specialist now selling it. The asking price now is £329,950; given it was ordered new with £50k of options (taking the GT12 to £300k back in 2015) that doesn’t seem a crazy premium for such a rare Aston Martin. If still, quite clearly, a heck of a lot of money – a very nice, low mileage, ‘regular’ V12 S could be less than a third as much. But that won’t have the GT cachet, the rarity, or quite such a spectacular appearance. You only need look at the enduring popularity (and values) of the road racers to see why the limited-edition circuit special remains such a big deal. Bring on a GT12 with the twin-turbo engine…