V12 Vanquish Early Prototypes
V12 Vanquish Early Prototypes

V12 Vanquish Early Prototypes

(1998 - 2000)

It's odd for me to have to sit on images for years before I am able to use them but in this instance it's fully understandable. These pictures were taken between Spring 2000 and 2007 and show a selection of disguised Vanquish prototypes and crash test cars as stored behind the Newport Pagnell factory. Generally speaking, the yellow cars were used during crash testing at Millbrook and have to be stored until long after production has finished. The matt black cars are prototypes that have been used disguised on the roads during the late 1990's and would have been destroyed not long after the V12 Vanquish was launched.

V12 Vanquish Early Prototypes

I took these photographs on days when the staff car parks were open for visitors to the annual Bonham’s auctions – I don’t want anyone to think I was trespassing without permission or anything. Gradually over the years, the bramble bushes and weeds enveloped the cars until they were almost submerged in the undergrowth. As the site of the factory changed hands in the Autumn of 2007, I’m quite sure that all these cars were quickly removed and destroyed.

There are some very interesting details on these pictures that are of note. The interior shot shows the original centre console with the Ford Ka air vents. This was one item that was changed before production shortly after Dr Bez joined AM. Also the round rear lights (Ford Cougar?) were dropped. I believe (but I don’t know as a fact) that the original idea was to have these covered by smoked covering, as seen on Project Vantage, but once tried out, the light output was below what was legally acceptable.

One small note is that even in 2013, Google Earth still shows a view of Newport Pagnell with the factory complete, although with no workers cars in the car park, so assume that the picture was taken on a Saturday or Sunday. The eleven crash-tested yellow Vanquishes are clearly visible from space.