Aston Martin Knows People Want Manual Transmissions



Aston Martin CEO Lawrence Stroll said in a media roundtable Thursday the overwhelmingly positive response to the limited-edition $2 million Valour was “insane.” The 110-car production run sold out very quickly, and as Stroll noted, is 10 times oversubscribed. Inspired by the one-off Victor—itself a tribute to Aston models of the 1970s and 1980s—the Valour is based on the outgoing Vantage and sports a 705-horsepower V-12 and a six-speed manual. Stroll thinks the manual is a huge part of its success.

“The whole world, instead of everyone thinking [it’s] going electric, it’s going back to ‘I want stick shift,’ right?” Stroll said. “It couldn’t be more the reverse—I’m talking car enthusiasts, petrolheads—it couldn’t be more the reverse. So we’re studying an opportunity big time to understand.”

Now, don’t take that to mean that Aston is going to produce manual-transmission cars in (relatively) big numbers, like Porsche. But it sounds like the company thinks it might have success with stick shifts in its limited-run specials. Stroll said that putting a manual transmission in the Valour wasn’t a particular challenge. 


The car industry may be headed one way, but Stroll and Aston Martin see its customers embracing tradition. Recently, the company confirmed The Aston Martin Vanquish Could Return With a New V-12 and 824 HP that will go in the successor to the DBS, which will more than likely revive the Vanquish name after a six-year hiatus. 

“It’s a whole new product and that engine, at least to start with, will only come in our flagship model that we will be launching in the fall,” Stroll said. “It won’t come in DB12 like it used to come in DB11. You can buy V-8 or V-12. That’s not going to happen. We think that DB12 at 670 horsepower is enough power for keep most people happy. We don’t think we need it a great deal.”

But for some, only a V-12 will do, Stroll said. And because Aston Martin is a low-volume manufacturer, he’s not worried about increasingly strict European emissions regulations. Like a manual, the V-12 could also make an appearance in future special models. 

Still, Aston isn’t shying away from electrification. The coming Vallhala hypercar will be the brand’s first plug-in, with deliveries set to begin by the end of this year, and Aston also has a battery-electric vehicle platform in development. Its first BEV will arrive in 2026, and three more models, including a hypercar of some sort, will follow. 

Stroll is on a tear, pushing to revitalize the Aston Martin lineup. The new DB12 arrived last year, and this year has already seen the launch of the new Vantage, DB12 Volante, and a DBX707 with a heavily reworked interior. We should soon see the Valhalla, the new Vanquish, and a Vantage roadster, too. 

“It’s quite an impressive amount of work we’ve done in the past four years to achieve this,” Stroll said. “You also have to understand that this company used to be delivering one new car every three to five years. Now, since I took over, we’re delivering 12 new cars in 12 months.”


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