I’ll never forget when the Aston Martin Vanquish came out in the early 2000s. It was simply one of the most beautiful cars in modern history. That was even clear to me from early photos of the car, since I didn’t lay eyes on one until several years after its debut.
But the Vanquish had an issue. Although it was produced with the very best technology of its day, that technology involved… a single-clutch automatic transmission, like the early F1 transmissions in Ferraris or the Maserati CambioCorsa. At the time, single-clutch automatics weren’t like the dual-clutches of today: They were rough, clunky and expensive to maintain. And they haven’t aged well. See the 2003 Aston Martin Vanquish models for sale near you
And so, the Vanquish is an absolutely beautiful car, saddled with something that makes the driving experience less than beautiful. Except…
A few years ago, Aston Martin started offering Vanquish owners the ability to ditch the clunky, slow original transmission and convert it to a true 6-speed manual, with a clutch pedal and everything. Better yet, this isn’t some backyard hack-job conversion: Aston Martin will take your Vanquish, perform the conversion itself using factory parts, and give it back to you.
The problem, however, is that this generally involves shipping your car back to the U.K. And while there are a few Aston Martin service centers in the U.S. that may be willing to take on the job, there are a lot of expensive parts involved. So this conversion isn’t cheap — a quick browse on Aston Martin forums suggests it costs between $25,000 and $30,000 — or very common.
But if you want to buy a manual-converted Vanquish, here’s your chance. This 2003 Vanquish has undergone the stick-shift conversion, and it’s currently on sale at Autosport Designs in Huntington Station, New York, on the North Shore of Long Island, for $135,000. Now, I admit that’s a lot of money — the average price for a normal early Vanquish on Autotrader is under $75,000 — but it’s not often that a manual-converted model comes up for sale. Plus, this one is available right now; there’s no wait while you have the conversion performed.
And so, here’s the Vanquish how it should’ve been: beautiful, amazing and — surely — a thrill to drive, too. Find a 2003 Aston Martin Vanquish for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.