2003 Aston Martin DB AR1


2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

About the Car

2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

The Aston Martin DB AR1 (American Roadster 1) was derived from the Aston Martin DB7. Based on the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante and boasting revised bodystyle with coachwork by Zagato of Italy and incorporating a number of dynamic elements, which were finely engineered to offer a new dimension to the Aston Martin driving experience. This lightweight Roadster, showcased at the Los Angeles Motor Show in January 2003, was designed specifically to appeal to US customers.

Available only as a two-seater, the Aston Martin DB AR1 did not represent a convertible Zagato version of the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Zagato – launched in the summer of 2002 – but instead another addition to the Aston Martin range. The Aston Martin DB AR1 featured a large distinctive radiator grille and accentuating rear wheel arches, whilst the carefully detailed features such as the reverse/fog light combination provided graphic evidence of intricate hand craftsmanship and quality that has become an Aston Martin trademark.

Developments of Aston Martin’s low emission, all alloy, 6.0-litre V12 engine, meant that Aston Martin DB AR1 benefited from a performance increase, offering 435bhp – compared with 420bhp of the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. This increased power together with a revised final drive ratio and active sports exhaust system not only provided noticeable improvement in mid-range power, but also additional torque – up from 400 lb/ft to 410 lb/ft, providing a sharper accelerating drive. An AP twin plate racing clutch, replacing the single plate clutch found on the DB7 Vantage, combined with the revised quick-shift gear lever – also fitted to the Aston Martin DB7 GT – enabled the driver to maximise use of the increase in power and torque and enjoy a faster gear change.

Aside from a revised body design, the Aston Martin DB AR1 also came equipped with special multispoke 19″ alloy wheels – with revised offset to give a wider track (8×19″ front, 9½x19″ rear) – fitted with SO2 245/35 ZR19 front and 265/30 rear, low profile Yokohoma tyres. The active sports exhaust system with rear muffler by-pass valves – as used on the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish – provided the Aston Martin DB AR1 with a very distinctive exhaust note. A combination of racing-style grooved 355mm (front) and 330mm (rear) Brembo disc brakes and up-rated Pagid RS 42-1 front pads provided the Aston Martin DB AR1 with better-sustained performance, with improved resistance to judder and fade, particularly at high speed. An up-rated brake booster unit – as used on the V12 Vanquish – assisted in providing the driver with progressive braking and a firmer and more consistent pedal feel.

Technical specifications

  • Engine
    • All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12
    • Maximum power: 435 bhp (324kW) @ 6000 rpm
    • Maximum torque: 410 lb. ft (556 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
    • Compression ratio 10.3:1
    • Visteon EEC V engine management controlling fuel injection, ignition and diagnostics
    • Fully catalysed stainless steel by pass valve exhaust system.
  • Transmission: Six speed manual with optional five speed automatic. Limited slip differential. Ratio 4.09:1.
  • Steering: Rack and pinion, power assisted 2.54 turns lock to lock. Column tilt and reach adjustment.
  • Brakes
    • Front: Ventilated grooved steel discs 355mm diameter with alloy four piston calipers
    • Rear: Ventilated grooved steel discs 330mm diameter with alloy four piston calipers and drum handbrake. Teves anti-lock braking activation system (ABS)
  • Suspension
    • Front: Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry. Coil springs, monotube dampers and anti-roll bar
    • Rear: Independent double wishbone incorporating longitudinal control arms, coil springs, monotube dampers and anti-roll bar
  • Body
    • Two door, with 2+0 seating
    • Steel underframe and body panels
    • Aluminium front wings, sills, boot lid with integral spoiler and front and rear bumpers/aprons
    • Side impact protection in doors.
  • Interior
    • Bridge of Weir leather interior
    • Electrically controlled sports front seats incorporating optional seat heaters
    • Electronic traction control
    • Six speaker Becker stereo radio cassette system with 6 disc CD autochanger
    • Alarm and immobiliser system with remote central locking and trunk release.
  • Wheels and tyres: Multispoke lightweight aluminium wheels 8J x 19 (front), 9½J x 19 (rear) Yokohama SO2 245/40 ZR19 tyres (front), 265/35 (rear)
  • 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h): under 5.0 seconds (manual)
  • Top speed: 185 mph (298 km/h) (manual)
  • Price at launch: $226,000
  • 99 Limited edition examples produced 2003-2004