- aston martin's v12 speedster, the one without the windscreen, is undergoing testing in prototype form, and the automaker has released these images of it.
- this, plus the mclaren elva and the forthcoming bentley mulliner bacalar, are attempts to give jaded exotic-car collectors something a bit different.
- the v12 speedster is expected to sell out its full run of 88 examples quickly and is already 75 percent there, despite a price starting around $800,000.
aston martin has been through plenty of pain since it announced it would be producing a roofless and screen-free speedster model back in january. the british luxury maker has endured near bankruptcy, prolonged covid-19 disruption, and the departure of ceo andy palmer since then, but development on the speedster has continued apace, with the company releasing these images of the first prototype version being tested.
those of us without the financial ability to buy a single supercar might struggle to see the appeal of one without any form of weather protection, but cars like the v12 speedster are not aimed at first-time buyers in the segment. the idea is to create something that will offer a completely different experience for those who already have garages filled with top-end exotica. it has certainly been a growing trend with ferrari leading the way with the monza in 2018 before mclaren followed suit late last year announcing the similarly minimalist elva. since aston announced the v12 speedster bentley has also got in on the act, although the forthcoming bacalar—which we have experienced in show concept form—does still have a windscreen.
yet this rarefied part of the market also seems to be in grave danger of saturation, and not just from the risk of thunderstorms. ferrari, being ferrari, managed to sell its full allocation of 499 sp1 (single-seat) and sp2 (two-seat) monzas, but mclaren has twice downgraded its original plan to built 399 elvas, cutting the limit to 249 cars in april and then slashing it to just 149 last month.
starting from a lower base, aston seems to be faring better. the company has said it will make no more than 88 v12 speedsters, with a spokesman confirming to car and driver that demand has been high and that aston is optimistic that the full allocation will be reserved by the time production begins in the second quarter of next year. a company insider says around three-quarters of the run are already spoken for despite a price of over $800,000 at current exchange rates.
aston can also argue that it has been dropping hints about a car like this for longer than anyone, having shown the cc100 speedster—built to celebrate its 100th anniversary—as long ago as 2013. the v12 speedster will sit on the same platform that underpins the db11 and dbs superleggera sports cars, with a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter v-12 that will make around 700 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, and will also use the same rear-mounted eight-speed zf automatic gearbox. being lighter than its coupe or convertible sisters it should also accelerate even more quickly. aston has previously said it is targeting a 3.5-second zero-to-62-mph time and a limited 186-mph top speed.
the speedster will only be sold for track use in the states due to its lack of windscreen; unlike the elva, aston is not planning to offer optional glazing. that probably explains why our insider says the majority of sales so far have been to those european buyers who will be able to get the full bug-spattered experience of driving one on the road.