Vantage prototype DP2055
Vantage prototype DP2055

Vantage prototype DP2055


When in October 1992, the supercharged Vantage was unveiled at the British International Motor Show, Aston Martin were suffering something of a sales slump. The company was just surviving on diminishing sales from the Virage coupe and Volante so it was vital that the new supercar was well received. Whist loosely based on the Virage coupe, the Vantage had received a substantial restyle by the original designers, Heffernan and Greenley and  a twin-supercharged 550 bhp engine. DP2055 was the internal code number used for the supercharged Vantage project; there were five DP prototypes built prior to production, three of which are known to survive.

Vantage prototype DP2055

The photographs above, was taken soon after the first glimpse of the Vantage on the Aston Martin stand at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1992. This single AM Racing Green car, the second prototype and first with the final spec bodywork was surely the car of the show, but customers had to await many months until deliveries began. As well as having been seen at the 1992 Motor Show, this car appeared on the BBC TV Top Gear programme when Jeremy Clarkson was forbidden from driving what was the only finished car. It is now owned by an enthusiastic collector and was comprehensively restored by Rikki Cann in Essex from 2012 to 2014.

Almost 22 years from it’s first unveiling, DP2055/2 stormed to victory in the V8 class at the AMOC Autumn concours at Sudeley Castle in the Costwolds.

Below are pictures of the first prototype which initially looked more like the standard Virage than a Vantage. The car as it is now is a two seater with a substantial roll cage. I’m reliably informed that when AML sold off the car, it was in a poor state and may have been a non-runner. Since then, the car has been extensively refurbished. The Vantage type front and rear were put there by the next owner, an AM dealer from Norfolk. Power output is estimated at around 600bhp.

DP2055 and first production 70001

The motor show prototype supercharged Vantage, DP2055 pictured alongside 70001, the first production Vantage

Also In the gallery below is another supercharged Vantage prototype that has not been so fortunate as the above cars. For many years now, it is mandatory for all manufacturers to take and example of each new model and perform quite expensive crash testing. Following this, the shell has to kept until production of the model has finished. This crash test prototype was captured in 2000 shortly before it was moved out of the scrap yard behind the Newport Pagnell factory for destruction.

The cost of destroying this car could only be shared between a mere 280 cars over 8 years adding hundreds of pounds to the purchase price of every one. This must go some way to explain why AM can no longer afford to produce vehicles in such tiny numbers in the traditional coach built way.

Aston Martin Vantage prototype DP2055/2

Aston Martin Vantage prototype DP2055/2 shortly after winning the V8 class at the AMOC Autumn Concours, October 2014