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There’s an encouraging uptick in enthusiast cars hitting the market today, and the Aston Martin Valour might qualify if not for how the British brand is positioning its latest product. The Valour is easily one of the most striking new cars to surface over the past five years. However, a seven-figure price tag and (barely) three-digit production figure means nobody that would actually drive one will ever see one.

The Aston Martin Valour is the last of the V12s (No, really, they mean it this time)

The Valour is powered by a 5.2-liter V12, the same engine residing in the bay of the DBS Superleggera. Producing 705 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, it’s a ripper, though not as aggressive as the other Last V12 Aston Martin, the DBS 770 Ultimate. It also comes with a six-speed manual transmission, to accentuate its throwback nature.

And then there’s the styling. One look and it’s clear that the Valour is something special. From the retro round headlights and the aggressive, 70s-style chrome bar grille, this limited-run sports car is a true celebration of Aston Martin’s 110-year history. As such, they’re only selling 110. And the price tag? North of seven figures, though it’s not precisely clear exactly where it lands.

Cars like the Aston Martin Valour are a bigger sign of a growing industry problem

Aston Martin Valour close up front
Muscle car styling of the new Valour | Aston Martin

OK, so Aston Martin producing another million-dollar vehicle isn’t exactly new. But it’s what the Valour represents that is a real head-scratcher. A modern car with throwback looks isn’t exactly a rare sight. But most of those cars are aimed at an enthusiast market. And while Aston Martin enthusiasts tend to be high rollers, something rivaling a Porsche 911 feels like a more appropriate place for this car in the current market.

Instead, the British automaker aimed for exclusivity by selling just 110 of its newest product. And I say selling because, by the time the car’s announcement happened, it was already sold out. And that’s the other problem.

I get it. It’s a capitalistic world. Those that “have” are in a position of exclusivity that affords them behind-the-scenes access to things like the Valour. But the issue is that this car is supposed to represent a market that is so often ignored by automakers. By fitting a V12 and manual transmission, the Brits created a true driver’s car. And then sold it to people that will almost assuredly never let it leave its home zip code.

The brand’s own “marketing” materials say that the Valour is designed “with the intention to connect driver and machine again”. An admirable goal that rings hollow, given what they’ve actually done with it.

Another quote says, “Be afraid. Not of what’s to come. But of what we might lose.” Except that skyrocketing prices and exclusive allocations are exactly the kinds of things that are killing sports cars across the board.

Are high prices killing sports cars?

Aston Martin Valour straight-on from the back
The retro rear styling of the newest Aston Martin | Aston Martin

Dealer markups work because they know there aren’t many sports car options worth taking home. But they also continue to narrow the market and reduce the impact of seeing these great cars rolling around the streets. Manufacturers are now getting in on the game, and the Aston Martin Valour is just another example.

I’d contest that it’s a much better marketing tactic to have someone on the street see your newest car and wonder, “What the hell is that thing!?”, and then find out that it’s vaguely within their price range. Sure, exclusivity sells. But when you’re already a niche brand trying to navigate a competitive space, it feels counterintuitive.

Instead, the Aston Martin Valour, like the BMW 3.0 CSL from 2022, captures thousands of impressions on social media before being transformed into a bit of trivia. Ultimately, the thing becomes so niche that nobody but the most ardent gearheads will know (or care) that it exists. What a weird way to sell cars.

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