"So you guys do Aston Martin now, that right?"
"Well, we had a customer referred to us who-"
"-decided to do a little bit of research. Then-"
"-phone with Aston Martin Racing in the U.K., and-"
Suffice to say I couldn't really hear a damn thing my copilot, GMG Racing's Fabryce Kutyba, tried to tell me. So if I leave something out of the story, don't blame me. Blame the aural devastation blasting out of those titanium exhaust tips-which in this case serve to put a little visual punctuation on one of the sweetest-sounding V8 power units to ever get itself screwed together.
GMG wrenches on virtually all things in the modern European automotive realm, from VW to Porsche to Ferrari. So it's not much of a stretch to imagine them turning a few wrenches on an Aston. Which they could conceivably be doing a lot more of, having now finished this pearlescent Morning Frost V8.
That V8 first popped up on the GMG radar as a referral from a previous customer. GMG is located in Southern California and the car was in Florida; its owner was attempting to chase down authentic Aston Martin Racing bits but had been stymied by his local go-fast shops' lack of contacts. No one seemed to have a direct line to AMR, and so GMG, with its very public motorsport bend, turned out to be next in line.
And for good reason. An astute student of all things too fast, Kutyba decided to do a little homework. As it turns out, a big part of the process was simply getting someone from AMR on the phone. When that happened, the floodgates opened-apparently it really was that easy.
"They had been looking for a North American outlet to help distribute product, and asked if we would be interested," Kutyba says. His answer came back in the affirmative.
The official AMR goods include revisions to the cosmetics and the wheel-and-tire package. The latter are AMR alloys forged by O.Z. Racing wrapped in ultra-aggressive Toyo R888 R-compound tires. Body work consists of a front bumper with integrated brake ducts and a carbon chin spoiler, AMR rear bumper fitted with a carbon diffuser from RSC Tuning in Florida, AMR side rockers in carbon Kevlar, and an AMR lip spoiler laid across the trunk lid.
Despite having been adapted from motorsport, the AMR N24 body treatments remain fairly subtle. It's actually the color that seems to lend this car its visual aggression, the shimmering, color-shifting paint contrasting convincingly with the various scoops and vents in the body panels. I guess white really is the new black.
Since this car represents GMG's first real stab at tuning Aston Martin steel, Kutyba had his guys pull whatever performance oriented they could and see what they could improve on.
Obviously the engine came first on that list. Eventually they had pulled the entire exhaust and replaced it with custom-bent pipes from the exhaust ports back: equal-length tube headers with F1-style merge collectors, downpipe and high-flow catalyst, custom center section. That last leads to mufflers from RSC Tuning, and the system terminates in the aforementioned four-inch titanium GMG tips. On the cool side, custom airboxes were fabricated that reside in the front quarters and which were fashioned after the boxes that reside in Aston Martin racecars.
All told, Kutyba estimates between 30 and 35 horses and around 25 lb-ft of torque have been liberated by the air and exhaust flow alterations, on top of the standard V8's 420 DIN (414 SAE).
Power goes to the ground using Aston's dual-clutch Sportshift automated manual transmission, with steering column mounted levers that sends a strangely satisfying metallic ping through your fingertips when you actuate a gear.
And finally, the pearlescent white chassis huddles over the gunmetal O.Z. wheels courtesy of RSC sport lowering springs. GMG fabricated its own adjustable end links, along with bending a larger rear anti-roll bar, one similar to the kind you might find on a GMG WC Cup racer.
On the road, the difference in driving feel is as subtle as the car's aggressive new clothes-evident, but not overbearing. The meaty tread blocks on the big Toyos slap noisily over even smooth pavement, but offer supreme confidence on the corners. And the sound from the newly uncorked exhaust tract is pure inspiration.
GMG will continue to exclusively offer genuine Aston Martin Racing product direct from the U.K. And as far as the special GMG-fabricated parts, like the exhaust and suspension components, they can be reproduced on a case-by-case basis, as well as custom internal block or head work.
"So you think you guys will be doing more of these?" I ask.
"I think so," Kutyba replies. "Right now we've already got another-"
2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
4.7-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve. Custom right and left airboxes, GMG equal-length headers, custom downpipe, high-flow sport catalyst and mid-pipe, RSC Tuning Titan Series sport muffler with GMG titanium tips
Six-speed dual-clutch automated manual
GMG adjustable links and anti-roll bar kit, RSC sport lowering springs
Wheels And Tires
Aston Martin Racing by O.Z., 10x18 (f), 12x18 (r)
Toyo R888, 245/35 (f), 305/30 (r)
Peak Power: 445 hp
Peak Torque: 375 lb-ft