Aston Martin Victor - Review and Opinion
Surprise! Aston Martin has shocked the automotive world by unveiling their latest masterpiece. Welcome to the stage, Victor...?
That’s right, this one-off Q Division Aston Martin is called the Victor. At first that may sound a bit odd – Ford Victor, VW Victor, TVR Victor the name sounds more at home here, but Aston Martin Victor just doesn’t sound right.
Upon hearing the history behind the name however, the Victor suddenly seems like a very appropriate name. The car is meant to be a throwback to the Vantages of the 70’s and 80’s, utilising the boxy, muscle car look that Aston Martin used back then, but using the best of Aston’s current and past top-tier models, the One-77, Vulcan and Valkyrie.
Victor Gauntlett was the boss of Aston Martin when the company launched the first V8 Vantage with that boxy aesthetic, hence the naming of this car as the Victor.
Aston Martin Victor diagonal view - photo by Top Gear
Lets first delve into the technical aspect of the car. Under the bonnet is a powerhouse of an engine – 7.3 litres of naturally aspirated V12 beauty. The engine isn’t new however, Aston have recycled the same engine used in the One-77 from 2009. Back then it produced 750bhp. Apparently, that wasn’t enough.
Aston sent the engine back to Cosworth and asked them to make it even more powerful. One would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation! Cosworth duly went about their business and returned the engine with an extra 86 horse power, bringing the new figure to a whopping 836, while still being naturally aspirated!
One thing that makes the Victor stand out over other modern supercars is the fact it has a 6-speed manual gearbox, with what Aston describe as a ‘bespoke motorsport clutch’. The likeness to motorsport doesn’t stop there, as on the outside, Aston have fitted a whopping front splitter and diffuser, which at 100mph produces 621lb ft of downforce – more than Aston’s Vantage GT4 racer.
While the aerodynamic elements of the Victor may look huge, Aston having ignored the subtleties. On the underside of the front splitter, if you look closely, you will spot a layer of wood. Yes you read that right, wood. What on Earth is wood doing on a supercar body I hear you ask, well in fact wood is no stranger to high performance vehicles, as modern Formula 1 cars utilise wood for the underside of the floor. In this case, the wood on the splitter is there as a sacrificial layer to protect the exposed carbon, as wood, unsurprisingly, is cheaper than carbon.
The suspension has been stolen from the Vulcan, with the track-only hypercar’s inboard springs and dampers used on the Victor. The inboard suspension is actually made visible through the rear window.
The Victor's Vulcan based inboard suspension just above the boot - photo by Top Gear
Onto the looks. To start with I wasn’t sure if I liked how the Victor looks or not. From the side, front and rear it looks stunning, but the overhang of the bonnet over the round headlights visible from diagonal front views is putting me off rating this a 10. I’m a huge fan of circular headlights, especially if they’re done like the Nissan 240Z. That style I feel would’ve worked amazingly on the Victor, but for me the headlights are a tad too small and the overhang just doesn’t work.
Everything else about how this car looks however I adore: the signature Aston Martin grille shape remains creating a massive gaping mouth for the Victor. The air intakes on the bonnet compliment the body shape amazingly well, and if you look down from the roof you can see 2 massive fans to cool the engine.
The Victor's best angle? It's certainly up there - photo by Top Gear
The deep sideskirts and side exit exhausts are a nod to the Vulcan. As of writing I haven’t heard the car fired up, however with an NA V12 with side exit exhausts I can imagine it will be an eargasm.
However for me, the Victor’s selling point is the rear of the car. Starting from the top, the car has a huge ducktail spoiler, harking back to the old V8 Vantages. Its to big that the massive Aston Martin logo on the spoiler is made to look tiny in comparison.
Ducktail spoiler, massive sideskirts, side exit exhausts, the side profile of the Victor is something to behold - photo by Top Gear
Below that sees another Aston Martin badge, one that is extremely modern and fits this strip of the car beautiful between the rear lights. The unique design to the rear lights are stolen from the Red Bull/Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar. The vents on which the Aston Martin badge is placed on between the rear lights are also found on Aston’s new, and first, SUV – the DBX.
A very modern and luxurious looking Aston Martin badge, me likey - photo by Top Gear
Exquisite design work for the rear lights - photo by Top Gear
And at the bottom is the pièce de résistance – the mighty GT4 beating diffuser used to create that area of low air pressure to suck the rear of the car into the ground. As a fan of massive diffusers, this is what really makes the Aston Martin Victor for me. Its just as well the Victor has this diffuser as when we move to the interior, everything starts to go wrong…
BEHOLD, the mighty diffuser - photo by Top Gear
Let’s start with the good part – the centre console is actually quite nice. Simplicity is key here, which was seemingly lost by the designers for the rest of the interior, but more on that later. The gear stick is a work of art, with a silky smooth ball of presumably very expensive and rare wood for you to rest your hand on while changing gear. The gear linkages are also exposed, similar to the Pagani Huayra, which is something I’m a big fan of.
A medium sized screen replaces the need for most of the button on the centre console, with only 3 large circular buttons just below the screen. There’s also a strip of wood behind the screen which, while it looks a little random, doesn’t cause any design alarm bells in my head.
Other little nuances also stand out – leather straps at the end of the centre console and on the doors are very nice touches, and a very nice cashmere headlining to remind you, if you had somehow forgotten, that you are in a very luxurious car. The Victor also comes equipped with 6-point harnesses, just in case you fancied beating your mate’s Vantage GT4 racecar on track.
Very fancy leather straps for the doors and centre console - photo by Top Gear
And now, onto the bad bits. The colour of the leather in this model of the car is hideous. Racing green works as a body colour, not as a leather interior colour, however I would presume the colour of the leather is a changeable option.
However the worst part about this car is by far the dash. I mean, what happened? One can only presume that the designers had used all their good ideas when they got round to the dash as wow this has gone terribly wrong.
I would describe the dash as ‘clunky’. Its just such a mess with different angles and curves and bits sticking out randomly, all for some reason in ugly matte carbon, making it look cheap and plasticky. The dash itself is unsurprisingly a screen, slightly smaller than the one used for the centre console, but you would be forgiven for thinking it was even smaller as the screen is set so far back into the plasticky carbon housing that even long sighted people would struggle to see it.
I think the designers fell asleep at this point... - photo by Top Gear
The steering wheel has been stolen from the Vulcan. On paper, this isn’t a bad thing, as the Vulcan’s steering wheel as evident in the Victor is very much designed for track use, with its rectangular, carbon fibre design with more buttons than the rest of the car combined. However, for me this has no place on a car that has gone for a ‘retro’ design.
To conclude, the Aston Martin Victor is a very pretty car on the outside, but if you’re going to sit inside of it make sure you haven’t eaten anything too recently. It’s a car that has a really nice intention and on the whole has executed it very well from a stats and aesthetic perspective, as nothing is known about the handling. Who knows, it may handle like a 70’s Vantage too!