The little-known BAE Vantare is a rare creation and not a particularly good-looking one.
If you've never heard of the BAE Vantare, you're in good company. This little-known sports car, based on the Aston Martin DB9, features custom bodywork that draws inspiration from the gorgeous DB5 of the 1960s with Carrozzeria Touring styling.
Created by boutique coachbuilder British Automotive Engineering, this particular model is the first of a very limited production run and even served as the company's launch vehicle. Offered for sale by DD Classics in London, monied buyers can now purchase a highly exclusive and unique restomod that blends the very best of Aston Martin styling with modern technology - in theory, at least.
Designed as a tribute to the DB5 - arguably the most famous Aston in history - the front and rear fascia of the DB9 donor car has been completely redesigned to resemble James Bond's preferred mode of transport.
In fact, the only clues to the Vantare's underpinnings can be seen in the roofline and glass, which is far more sleek and modern than the rest of the vehicle. While there's no denying it's an exquisitely crafted motorcar, it does look like an awkward mish-mash of new and old from most angles. There's no hiding the slab-sided effect, either.
The Vantare wears a set of large wheels with a cross-spoke design; it's a modern interpretation of the chrome wire wheels worn by the original DB5. Viewed directly from the rear, the Vantare looks a touch more attractive.
Before we discuss the interior, let's look at this vehicle's unique background. BAE was founded in 2021 by British celebrity Bradley Walsh, and the company intended to build just 10 units. This appears to be the only model in existence, with the other nine presumably still being built.
The company's official website is unavailable due to maintenance, and social media accounts for the BAE Vantare haven't been active for some time. With an original asking price of £275,000 (approx. $330,200), the Vantare isn't for the average Joe. For reference, that's about the same as a brand-new DBS.
Aside from the unique styling, you have to wonder what you're paying for. It's based on the old DB9 and, while that's a lovely car, its platform is nowhere near as excellent as modern Aston Martins. What's more, the Vantare retains the 5.9-liter V12 engine that produces 450 horsepower and 421 lb-ft of torque.
Those are impressive figures but, again, fall short of what modern Aston Martins can provide. The interior also falls short and fails to capture the DB5's charm or improve upon the DB9's dashboard architecture.
A more modern infotainment system will come as a blessed relief for anybody that had to put up with the Volvo-sourced infotainment, but the design of the sleek fascia has been altered by large turbine-style air vents and a thoroughly redesigned center console.
The DB9 had an elegant cascading console that was littered with physical controls, but that's no more. The push-button gear selector has been repositioned in the enter console and looks rather classy thanks to the carbon fiber inlays. The original dials and seats have also been retained, although a new steering wheel has been fitted.
The selling dealer has the car listed as POA (Price on Application), so we're guessing it's going for more than the original sticker price.
If that's the case, it will take a very specific person to fall in love with this vehicle. We appreciate the idea behind it, especially as restomodding has become so popular, but can't help but feel underwhelmed by the finished project. It's not quite as pretty as the DB5 from which it draws inspiration and, in our opinion, can't quite match the timeless DB9 either.
We could perhaps forgive those flaws if it wasn't priced so close to several new and classic Aston Martins, which it is. It's not entirely original, either. David Brown Automotive has been making the Speedback GT for some time now and, while that's based on the old Jaguar XK, it has a far better interior.
Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many may think it's beautiful. Then there's the added rarity, which could just seal the deal with collectors of quirky bespoke cars.
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