James Bond might be tightly tied to Aston Martin, but the fictional spy is only one part of the British automaker’s history. That’s understandable, given that Aston Martin has been in business for over 100 years. And now, another part of its history is getting some recognition via a limited-edition Aston Martin Vantage Roadster.
The 1921 A3 is the brand’s oldest surviving car
Although Aston Martin was founded in 1913, it didn’t start regular car production for several years afterward. Before that, the automaker built and tested several prototypes. And in 2002, Aston Martin acquired the oldest surviving example: the 1921 ‘A3.’
Compared to what Aston Martin makes today, the 1921 A3, or ‘chassis No. 3,’ might not seem like much. However, for its time, it was a genuine performance car, The Drive explains. With an 11-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a “streamlined racing body,” it placed first in the 1922 Essex Motor Club Kop Hill Climb. And in 1923, it lapped the Brooklands circuit at 84.5 mph. Plus, company co-founder Lionel Martin regularly drove it.
After the A3 was donated to Aston Martin in 2002, pre-war Aston specialist Ecurie Bertelli restored it. And these days, it lives at the Aston Martin Museum in South Oxfordshire, UK. But it’s making a public appearance soon. And alongside it will be the limited-edition Aston Martin Vantage Roadster it inspired.
To honor the A3, the Q division is making a limited-edition Aston Martin Vantage Roadster
‘Q by Aston Martin,’ aka the Q division, is the automaker’s in-house customization service. Named after the Bond character, it’s Q that makes Astons like the one-off Victor and the V12 Speedster. And its latest creation, the Q by Aston Martin Vantage Roadster, was commissioned by the oldest Aston dealer to honor the A3.
The A3 nods on the limited-edition Vantage Roadster go beyond the matching black paint, MotorTrend explains. For example, the Roadster’s aluminum grille surround and fender inserts mirror the A3’s bare metal hood. The front fenders also have leather straps and ‘No.3’ engravings. And speaking of grilles, both cars have black mesh ones, as well as black wheels. Plus, the limited-edition Vantage Roadster’s grille has a bronze insert with the A3’s emblem, too.
That’s not the only bronze the Q by Aston Martin Vantage Roadster has, though. It also has bronze brake calipers and control knobs, as well as some bronze ‘Aston Martin’ decals written in vintage script. All of this echoes the bronze elements on the 1921 A3. And in another echo, the limited-edition Roadster has Obsidian Black leather upholstery with a few Chestnut Brown inserts. The stitching is also Chestnut Brown, Autoblog notes.
Mechanically, though, this limited-edition model is unchanged from the regular Aston Martin Vantage Roadster. That means it has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 503 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque linked to an eight-speed automatic. So, it’s significantly faster than the A3.
‘A3 Edition’ Aston Martin Vantage Roadster production is truly limited
As of this writing, Aston Martin hasn’t released pricing details for the A3-inspired Vantage Roadster. But it’s safe to say it’s more expensive than the $150,000 standard model.
Potential buyers will have to get in line fast, though. As the convertible is an homage to Aston’s third-ever vehicle, Q is only making three examples. And they’re all being sold through the commissioning dealer, HWM in Walton-on-Thames. To be fair, MT notes that Q could likely make an interested buyer a similar car. But then, it wouldn’t mark a centenary like this one.
Follow more updates from MotorBiscuit on our Facebook page.