A vision of the ultimate Aston Martin for the road. Or at least it was 2009 when the One-77 was first announced. Aston’s boss at the time, Dr Ulrich Bez, shocked the motoring world when he announced that Aston Martin would build a limited edition supercar that would cost £1m. It was Aston taking on Bugatti and Pagani and saying ‘we’ll get a slice of the best action from him, thanks a lot guys’.
While the One-77 sported all the usual Aston trappings (wide-opening grille, slanted-back headlights, an extended bonnet, and a rear-cockpit stance with a sleek tail), it wasn’t just some sort of energized Vanquish derivative and flared covered in papier-mâché. The car was designed around a racing carbon fiber monocoque with exquisite carbon subframes cradling the front mid-engine and integrated suspension.
This uncompromising design was then clad in all-new aluminum panels. Bespoke lights, wheels, doors and windows have been specially designed for this series of just 77 cars. The deposit needed just to secure a build location, assuming it was very close to the top of Aston Martin’s list of favorite clients, was £200,000. This left around £1,000,000 to pay on delivery.
Fittingly, Aston’s most expensive car to date was also its fastest.
Deep under the front-hinged hood is the main event of the One-77: its fabulous engine. For an Aston flagship, it could only be an atmospheric V12. The company’s usual 6.0-litre unit was discontinued by Cosworth, who ditched the usual cylinder liners in favor of a low-friction nano coating, increasing capacity to 7.3-litres, while actual engine weight was reduced by 15% to 260 kg, thanks to its lighter interiors. This love letter to internal combustion was then pushed 100mm lower on the car than Aston’s normal V12s, burying itself deep where it couldn’t escape or interfere with handling.
More room to suck/squeeze/kick/blow and more racy parts doing all of the above meant more power, of course. Rated at 750 hp and 553 lb-ft, the One-77 was, at the time of launch, the most powerful naturally aspirated car in the world. And while cars like the Ferrari F12 and several one-of-a-kind Zondas caught up quickly, the One-77 remained Aston’s fastest road car, good for a claimed top speed of 220mph, with 0-62mph acceleration in 3.7 seconds.
Unlike today’s rarefied exotic, the One-77 dispensed with a plethora of drive modes. Aside from a sporty setting for the gearbox, there’s nothing to dial in or change: no multi-stage traction control here. There are active aerodynamics, but the pop-up rear wing bears little resemblance to the kind of aerofoil that could keep this car pinned to the roof of a tunnel.
Suddenly the One-77 was state-of-the-art and somehow charmingly old-school. Well that it is peut-être été eclipsée par les Bugatti contemporaines que allaient plus vite en ligne droite – et paralysées par sa boîte de vitesses désuète – cette voiture mérite d’être rappelée comme l’une des supercars britanniques les plus spéciales de tous the times.
After all, it’s so exclusive that you’ve never seen James Bond near a…
The photograph: marc riccioni
What’s the verdict?
If you’re a true British fan of front-engined supercars, you’ll be well acquainted with the failed story of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and how Gordon Murray fought and lost a personal battle against car culture. the full carbon supercar was kept as light and pure as possible.
It ended up being supercharged, loaded with luxury and equipment, and launched as a hypercar spliced with a leggy GT that never quite hit its mark and landed somewhere in between.
The One-77 shows what I might has been. This is what the SLR would have been like if Murray had been able to achieve his naturally aspirated lightweight dream. There’s a gleeful sense of barely contained fury at the One-77, that its engine is bloodied from stroke from being confined within amazing bodywork and that it would love to scream free given half a chance.
Aston Martin had the nerve to dress an edgy, aggressive, no-prisoners thoroughbred in a dignified lounge suit. Perhaps that is why it is not celebrated as one of the most iconic hypercars of the early 21st century. Should be. Apart from the gearbox. The One-77 transmission is not just an Achilles heel, it is a war crime.
Once again, this car represents a moment in time, before downforce, hybrid drivetrains and technological overload began to define the world’s fastest road cars. So perhaps it’s fitting that this sensational engine has to deal with such an earthy gearbox before it can unleash its power on the world. This imperfection defines its place in history, like the shrapnel scars of World War II on Westminster Abbey.
Or maybe in the next few decades there will be a manual conversion for the One-77, as there is today for the original Vanquish, also beset by gearbox purgatory. The One-77 will forever remain one of Aston Martin’s greatest moments: a fierce and slightly absurd British Zonda. It’s just one good drive away from being one of the true all-time greats in the realm of analog supercars.
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Source : topgear.com