Part 3 : Living with the V12

You can imagine that the night before the D day, this terrible delivery day, I didn’t really much sleep, wondering if all this was true, if we were really going to have an Aston Martin V12 Vantage in my family, if all this wasn’t just a bad joke. I really never wanted to believe it, too much scared to be disappointed if for any reasons we couldn’t get the car. We got to the dealership and it was there, waiting for us. This is when I stopped fearing and let all the adrenaline I had contained flow into my blood.

There it was. Our Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

IMG_0009

It was too beautiful to cry, so I promised myself not to, and enjoyed this very special moment. My father entered the showroom to sign the final purchase contract while I stayed outside and started to turn around the car. It was a beast I needed to get knowing. So I looked at her, savoring each and every one of its curves, paying attention to every of its details. I have to say, it was even better than in my dreams. With its Jet Black exterior, it was even better looking than a Carbon Black I have to admit, thanks to the side chrome bars. The 21 inch diamant polished rims were absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t find any detail that I didn’t love. The car was not perfect of course, but I loved to look at these imperfections, trying to question her about how these had happened. The black leather interior had everything I wanted : the carbon fibre bucket seats and the piano black center console. With only 3’000 kilometers, it was almost new.

IMG_0035 IMG_0024

My father was told all the explanations about the car, and suddenly, I was in the passenger seat, in his Aston Martin V12 Vantage, in my favorite car, that he owned ! There are no words to describe what I felt at this moment, but ultimate joy might be what gets the closest although being too weak. The first highway entrance was just sublime, enjoying the V12’s immense torque, the massive manual gearbox, and this very special interior atmosphere. Looking throughout the side mirrors, I felt really special, because of this amazing view you have of the beautiful curves from the bodywork designed by Henrik Fisker. When we got back at home it felt even more special to see it in the garage, thinking it would not leave, that it would stay there. The next morning I wasn’t sure if it was a dream, so I had to check out, and the one as well, and since then I do it almost every day, because it brings a smile like no other on my face.

Owning a sports car makes you feel lucky. Owning your dream car makes you the happiest man on the planet.

IMG_0027 IMG_0025

IMG_0034

My father tried to learn how to drive the car by himself, but I have to admit it was a bit like trying to tame a lion with bare hands. As my father had never owned a real sports car, the 517 horsepower V12 was quite intimidating, so he decided to take the course given by Aston Martin at their local track in Great Britain to understand and to know how to drive the V12 Vantage in the appropriate manner. This course was very helpful I have to say, and helped him a lot to avoid basic errors, and less fearing the impressive power and torque from the V12. The difference in confidence he had before and after this course was immense.

Getting to drive the V12 Vantage is an experience itself. A deep plunge in a world of speed, luxury, and passion. First of all, look at the Emotional Control Unit or ECU, which is the key, and already you can feel that you are going into something special. With Piano Black and sapphire, you unlock the V12 Vantage and you press the special door handle. Then you grab the Aston Martin’s driver door, which will open in a savant mixture between normal and elytra. You step inside the carbon fibre bucket seats, which will make you feel very confident by their amazing lateral support. Finally step on the brake and the clutch pedals, and introduce the ECU inside the center console until it disappears completely. Watch the V12’s dashboard come to life and display the usual Power, Beauty, Soul message and wait for the engine to wake up in a very nice and subtle roar.

IMG_0030 IMG_0020

IMG_0014

The V12 Vantage capabilities are immense. It can be a very soft grand cruiser when you just put it in sixth gear on highways, it lets you have a nice conversation without the need to raise the voice, enjoying the subtle purring of its engine. It can turn itself to a fast grand tourer on german highways enjoying the stability of its chassis at high speeds, enjoying the smoothness and amazing reach of the V12. And finally it can be a sharp edge sports car when pushing it to its limits on some twisty mountain roads letting the engine climb up to its 7’000 rpm rev, and making the carbon ceramic brakes work hard.

The V12 Vantage has different moods more than different characters.

 

IMG_0017

It is really amazing the polyvalence of this car. It has almost the same behavior than a DB9 or a DBS when you are not pushing it, but changes to a sharper more precise feeling when asking for it, thanks to its shorter wheelbase. It is not an easy car to place as the engine is quite heavy, and of course it doesn’t have the dynamism of a Ferrari F430, but it has more charm, and is way more desirable in my opinion, thanks to the amazing V12 sound, and the manual gearbox. This manual stick planted in the middle of the car is probably one of the best elements of the car, it gives it a very intimidating feeling at first approach, but gives so much pleasure while driving !!!

IMG_0010 IMG_0031

We had the opportunity to go to several events with it now and I have to say people appreciate the V12 Vantage, mostly because it is an Aston Martin, although most people do not spot that it is one of the 1200 V12s produced by the Gaydon factory. I always try to motivate my father to take out for a spin as soon as there is some nice weather, with what Jeremy Clarkson said, so that this car will not be consigned to history books. the best souvenir for the moment is our two day road-trip to the legendary Formula One track of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. We left our house on the sunday morning with a 7 hour road trip waiting for us throughout Switzerland, France, Germany, and Belgium, and thanks to the Autobahns we were able to spare one hour. We only stopped for refueling and eating, and we made some amazing meetings like a group of motorbikes which followed us and chased us on the german highway. Cruising along at 240 km/h is really superb, and the car lets you feel like you’re only doing half the real speed.

IMG_0019 IMG_0016

We arrived at our hotel, and while my father was taking some rest, I got directly to the track to impregnate myself from this magical place. The second morning, Monday, we got to the track joining the rest of the Aston Martins for this track day fun and put the car under severe conditions. I really didn’t believe the V12 Vantage would survive after what it had already done on the german highways the day before. But it did its job, enjoying as much as we did the legendary race track with all its british sisters. I think my father understood this day why he had done the good choice buying a V12 Vantage instead of a DB9, because apart from being faster, we were more enjoying the moment, when some of the cars had automatic gearbox failures.

IMG_0033

The most impressive of all though, was that we had to get all the way back to Switzerland the same afternoon. We took back the road, with the Pirelli P Zero tires which had been well used, and I wasn’t feeling very confident, but the V12 was as enthusiast as usual, showing us her volunteer to gobble up kilometers with even more joy as they pass through. This is one of my best driving memories in the V12 Vantage, as I got to drive when the sun was setting down, and all the summer colors were reflecting on the beautiful Jet Black color silhouette of the car, with my father enjoying this sight too.. It went back home without any problems, almost with the envy to continue, and I was surprised most of all that with more than 15 hours passed aboard in two days sitting in the carbon fibre bucket seats we didn’t suffer from back pain, nor were we feeling tired from this very long journey. We were just extremely happy.

My father and me enjoying the summer colors of the sunset reflecting on the curves of the V12 Vantage. Probably my best memories with this car…

I always thought that you should treat a car like you would treat your girlfriend or your wife. With the same care, with the same love, and the car will return it you back. The V12 Vantage just completely stunned me during these two days, and I hope we will have the opportunity to do some similar road trips with it soon. In terms of costs, a V12 Vantage is not an expensive car to use, on highways the fuel consumption is at the same level as a standard SUV, around 12 litres for 100 kilometers, but of course when pushing it, the consumption may rise. We usually do a fill up every 400 kilometres for an 80 litres fuel capacity. The only very expensive point is the change of the carbon ceramic brakes, which may happen frequently if you get often on track.

IMG_0022 IMG_0013

IMG_0026

Costs can explode as well if you decide to use it in the winter, but we do prefer to hibernate it, preserving it under its cover, and putting it in charge. We normally use it from mid-march to end of october, with an average 6’000 kilometers a year. The wake up phase at the beginning of the spring makes it even more special to uncover the car, and the first ride of the year is always a rediscovery, like the first time you put back your skis at the beginning of the winter. You remember the sound of the V12, the smell of the leather, the hard protective feel of the carbon fibre against your back, the cold and hard touch of the central gear lever. You get on the roads, feeling even more special, with this narrow visibility, you find an open road, and you let the Vantage take it wherever it wants, savoring its unique behavior.

IMG_0023 IMG_0011

In conclusion, I am the happiest man in the world.

Well, almost. Our V12 Vantage is a car with a unique and wonderful character, with a unique history, and as she can drive us for days, I could talk about her for days. The only thing I can say, is that you and only you get to choose the cars you want to be unique, and the history you want with these cars. My father chose the V12 Vantage, the car I wanted, and I try to write as much as I can its history.

IMG_0032