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A sleek 'American' concept from Aston

December 18, 2002|John O'Dell

Aston Martin is set to tease fans next month with the world debut in Los Angeles of a two-seat, aluminum, concept car based on the DB7 Vantage Volante and aimed specifically at the American market.

The Volante is a ragtop convertible, but Aston Martin says the concept car -- dubbed the DB AR1, (for American Roadster) -- will have a heavily revised aluminum bodywork by Italian design house Zagato.

A sketch just released by the company shows a smooth, short-tailed body with a fairing covering the area that houses rudimentary back seats. The rear end is smoother and less cluttered than the Volante's, with single round taillights on each side and fat exhaust tips peeking out from beneath a body-colored integrated rear bumper.

The elegant Aston Martin logo is perched beneath a centered brake light tucked beneath a small, flipped-up spoiler. The rear fenders also are fatter and give the car a more muscular stance than the Volante, and the side panels are smoother.

Aston Martin says the concept car will use the Volante's V-12 engine, but kicked up to 435 horsepower from the standard 420. The interior, which hasn't been shown yet, will be unique to the car, the company says.

The unveiling is set for the Los Angeles International Auto Show, which opens Jan. 4 at the L.A. Convention Center.

The company says if there is sufficient interest, it will hand-build a small number of cars at the Bloxham plant in England where the DB7 is made.

No pricing information was released, but "hand-build" is a pretty good sign it will cost a lot more than the $146,000-$156,000 DB7 Vantage Volante.

-- John O'Dell

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