2003 Aston Martin DB American Roadster 1 DB-AR1.
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At the Los Angeles Motor Show in January 2003 Aston Martin showcased a lightweight Roadster, designed specifically to appeal to US customers.
The DB American Roadster 1 (DB AR1) was derived from the DB7. Based on the DB7 Vantage Volante (convertible) 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.
Available only as a two-seater, the DB AR1 did not represent a convertible Zagato version of the Coupe (DB7 Zagato) - launched in the summer of 2002 - but instead another addition to the Aston Martin range.
The 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 DB AR1 benefited from a performance increase, offering 435bhp – compared with 420bhp of the 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 (DB7 Vantage) 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 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 DB AR1 also came equipped with special multispoke 19” alloy wheels - with revised offset to give a wider track (8x19” 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 V12 Vanquish - provided the 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 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.
All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12. 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.
Six speed manual with optional five speed automatic. Limited slip differential. Ratio 4.09:1.
Rack and pinion, power assisted 2.54 turns lock to lock. Column tilt and reach adjustment.
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).
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.
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.
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 immobilizer system with remote central locking and trunk release.
Wheels and tires:
Multispoke lightweight aluminium wheels 8J x 19 (front), 9½J x 19 (rear) Yokohama SO2 245/40 ZR19 tyres (front), 265/35 (rear)
435 bhp (324kW) @ 6000 rpm (manual only)
410 lb. ft (556 Nm) @ 5000 rpm (manual only)
0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): under 5.0 seconds (manual only)
185 mph (298 km/h) (manual only)
Price at launch: $226,000
(source: Aston Martin)
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