Ian Callum just reimagined the Aston Martin Vanquish, a car he designed more than 20 years ago

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One of the most iconic car designers of the modern world, Ian Callum, has worked with big automakers such as Ford, Aston Martin, and Jaguar. He penned quite a few legendary cars, including the Ford Escort Cosworth, Aston Martin DB7, DB9, and Vanquish, and the Jaguar XK, XJ, F-Type, and F-Pace. Callum redesigned from Jaguar in 2019 to create his own company, Callum Designs, and his most recent project is a redesign of the first-generation Aston Martin Vanquish. A car that he designed back in the early 2000s, the first-gen Vanquish was reimagined with "over 350 engineering, material and design changes that transform the much-loved car into a more practical and relevant GT."

The Aston Martin Vanquish Callum is a mildly improved classic

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Some say that the first-generation Aston Martin Vanquish is a work of art that doesn't need improvements, but Callum found a way to improve its looks through modern styling cues.

The front bumper, for instance, now features a secondary center grille and big, square openings to the sides. Around back, it features revised taillight lenses and a sportier diffuser with four vertical fins and body-colored exhaust tips. The upper fascia has also been redesigned to integrate a bigger spoiler. The grand tourer rides on bigger, 20-inch wheels, while the ride height has been lowered by 0.4 inches. The track is also 2.3 inches wider.

Ian Callum's Vanquish 25 Is Definitely More Than Your Run-of-the-Mill Aston Martin Vanquish
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Inside the cabin, Callum dressed the interior in fine leather by Bridge of Weir and added dark chrome trim that can be had either brushed or polished. The seating position is a bit lower than in the original car. The Vanquish comes standard with carbon-fiber trim, but you can replace it with walnut veneer for a classy look. Luxury features include a removable pocket watch by Bremont and luggage that fits in the rear of cabin by Mulberry.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Callum packs more punch

Ian Callum's Vanquish 25 Is Definitely More Than Your Run-of-the-Mill Aston Martin Vanquish
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This old Vanquish is powered by its original 5.9-liter V-12, but the mill was updated to produce 580 horsepower, an extra 60 horses over the original mill. These figures suggest that this project is based on the Vanquish S, the facelift of the first-generation GT, introduced in 2004. The engine also features a new carbon-fiber air box, valley brace, and engine cover, so it all looks nice and exclusive under the hood.

2005 Aston Martin Vanquish vs. 2021 Vanquish 25
2005 Aston Martin Vanquish Vanquish 25
Engine 6.0-Liter V-12 6.0-Liter V-12
Horsepower 520 580
Torque 425 LB-FT 475 LB-FT (est)
0-60 MPH 5.0 Seconds 4.8 Seconds (est)
Topspeed 190 mph 190 (est)

Callum also meddles with the car’s suspension, adding retuned Bilstein dampers for improved agility and stiffer anti-roll bars. The Vanquish also rides on specific Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Callum says that all these upgrades make the old Vanquish a more usable day-to-day car. The V-12 engine sounds even more menacing in this car thanks to a bespoke carbon-fiber intake system and tuned, equal-length stainless-steel primary collectors.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Callum was built in cooperation with R-Reforged

Ian Callum's Vanquish 25 Is Definitely More Than Your Run-of-the-Mill Aston Martin Vanquish
- image 922716

Although designed by Ian Callum, this update was built in cooperation with R-Reforged, a relatively new tuning company based in Switzerland and formed in 2018. R-Reforged is a brand of the R-Universe together with R-Experience, R-Service and R-Motorsport, which are wholly owned by Swiss AF Racing Group.

Ian Callum's Vanquish 25 Is Definitely More Than Your Run-of-the-Mill Aston Martin Vanquish
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Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Just nine months after announcing the project, the production iteration Aston Martin CALLUM Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged has been revealed alongside confirmation that customer car build will commence in September. Designer Ian Callum has evolved the concept shown in 2019 with a revised interior, more trim options and definitive chassis and powertrain set up.

Aston Martin CALLUM Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged now features over 350 engineering, material and design changes that transform the much-loved car into a more practical and relevant GT. Having covered over 20,000 miles of rigorous testing on the UK’s broad range of road types and qualities, as well as multiple sessions on both the wet and dry tracks at Michelin’s Ladoux proving ground, engineers carefully determined a crisper set up to amplify the driving experience of a classic GT. Highly tuned rebound and compression of the Bilstein dampers provides composure with noticeably more agility and control. Careful bush selection, stiffer anti roll bars, a 10mm lower ride height, up to 60mm wider track and specific Michelin Pilot Sport tyre compounds assure linearity in roll and composure without resorting to a rock-solid track feel that contemporary GTs often lean towards. Steering feel, aided by the fitting of a more slender wheel rim, lower seating position and the suspension improvements, is sharper with more feedback to reward the enthusiast driver. The overall result is a more versatile GT eminently suitable for everyday use.

“After a year of piling on the miles in our development prototype, I’m confident we’ve hit the targets we set ourselves of a very responsive but supple car,” says head of engineering at R-Reforged, Adam Donfrancesco. “There was a perception that much of what we planned was aesthetic but the way the car drives, feels, goes, stops and sounds is actually where a lot of our efforts have been focused. We’ve defined a set up that finesses the composed, big Aston Martin GT feel but sharpens and hones it in line the progress that new tyres, suspension and knowledge brings. It’s got to be a car you want to use and be adaptable; laid back and comfortable enough to soak up a 300-mile trip across Europe but equally engaging and rewarding on a 20-minute run to meet friends at an informal cars and coffee meet. That versatility and accessible performance is something many contemporary GTs lack. We have all missed the chance to just go for a drive for pleasure in the past few months. This is now the car to make the most of those precious times.”

Highlighting the multitude of options clients can specify during sessions with Ian Callum – either remotely or at the Warwick facility where the car is assembled – the Aston Martin CALLUM Vanquish 25 by R-Reforged is offered with an infinite number of body and eight trim colours, three transmission variants – manual, auto and semi-automatic – as well as three bespoke 20” wheel choices. The car’s sumptuous leather trim is provided by Bridge of Weir Leather Company, while Bremont’s removable pocket watch, an industry-first, remains prominent in the interior that now includes brushed or polished dark chrome details, and a walnut veneer option instead of carbon. Mulberry has developed the luggage to fit snugly in the rear of the cabin.

“The designers, engineers and craftspeople have poured all their energy into breathing new life into the car, pushing the boundaries of every detail: flawless surface finishes, tight shutlines and a crafted interior I believe you’ll enjoy spending time in,” says Ian Callum. “I’m particularly impressed with how it drives. From the lower, more sculpted and cossetting seat, the crisper steering with enhanced feel to just the glorious way it sounds, I think we have created something quite special.”

R-Reforged has now also revealed the underbonnet revisions. Often overlooked, its engineers have detailed the area with carbon and leather dressing alongside the bespoke carbon intake system and tuned equal length stainless steel primary collectors that create a sonorous V12 howl from the 580bhp engine.

Alongside the reveal of the production specification car, now available for prospective customers to experience, R-Reforged confirmed it is building the first batch in September with initial cars destined for Europe and Latin America.

“Too often design studies are revealed only for them to disappear, or for deliveries to end up being years later, leaving customers disillusioned about the viability of coachbuilding such cars,” adds Callum. “With partner R-Reforged, we have delivered on our promise with the first cars in build in September. It’s been an unpredictable time for the entire world but it’s now an exciting moment as the refreshed cars come to life in our workshops.”

Born out of a passion for highly bespoke products, R-Reforged exists to create desirable, personalised and collectable limited-edition vehicles.

Formed in 2018, Swiss-based R-Reforged focuses on vehicle refinement and associated small-scale series production, which takes place at its fully owned UK subsidiary’s 30,000 sq. ft facility in Warwick, UK.

R-Reforged is a brand of the R-Universe together with R-Experience, R-Service and R-Motorsport, which are wholly owned by Swiss AF Racing Group. Through the R-Experience arm, R-Reforged aims to deliver an unparalleled ownership experience for customers through best in class service from the point of ordering.

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