Six years after its launch, and just as the run-out ‘Ultimate’ edition is announced, the Aston Martin Vanquish is finally available with a manual gearbox. For £15,569, Aston’s special vehicle division, Works Service, will replace the automated manual ’box with a stick shift and clutch pedal.
The conversion, which is available on both standard and S models, removes the Magneti Marelli paddle-shift hardware, but leaves the rest of the gearbox intact. The six forward ratios are therefore identical to those of the standard car, although Works Service also offers a different final drive ratio for owners wishing to trade a lower top speed for greater mid-range thrust.
What's it like?
The hatchet job is thorough and convincing. A light and progressive clutch is matched to a firm and positive shift – you could describe it as manly. This gearbox suits the car’s old world, brutish character and helps the driver make the most of the wondrous 5.9-litre V12. Put simply, the Vanquish is a better car for this conversion.
Its success begs the obvious question: why wasn’t it available earlier? “When we developed Vanquish, there was a lot of internal debate about whether to offer two versions,” says Kingsley Riding-Felce, the director of Works Service. “The company Chairman, Bob Dover, was insistent that the Vanquish was a ‘technology car’ and that a manual gearbox would compromise that message.”