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Vulcan dips its wings to Vulcan

Avro’s Spirit of Great Britain flies on in 800-hp Aston Martin supercar

Published: October 3, 2015, 3:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:22 PM

Aston Martin Vulcan with Avro Vulcan XH558

There are only 24 Aston Martin Vulcans available for worldwide track use, and one of them recently partook in a reunion of sorts with the last remaining (of 136) airworthy Avro Vulcan XH558, from which the Aston Martin supercar gets its name.

The two met up at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, in northern England with the iconic 1950s Cold War-era long-range bomber passing the Vulcan torch in a special fly-by. “The Spirit of Great Britain” was readying for it final flight to become the taxiable-condition centrepiece of the Vulcan Aviation Academy & Heritage Centre at Robin Hood airport outside Doncaster, England.

Aston Martin Vulcan

“Clearly the Avro Vulcan provided the inspiration for the naming of our most extreme sports car,” said Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer. “I’m delighted that we have been able to unite the ‘two Vulcans’ and deliver our own tribute to this world-renowned aeronautical phenomenon.”

The new all-carbon coupes are rated only for track use, using 800-plus horsepower put out by a 7.0-litre V12 and delivered to the rear wheels by a six-speed sequential shift transmission. The retiring delta-wing aircraft used four Rolls Royce Olympus engines to generate 16,000 pound-force of thrust. That’s considerably better but hey, it had to fly while carrying bombs and such.

“Personally, it is great to know that the Vulcan name will live on not only in the history books, and at the new educational centre in Yorkshire, but via Aston Martin’s incredible new sports car,” said Martin Withers DFC, the Vulcan XH558’s Chief Pilot and Operations Director for the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (a British charity established to maintain and operate this aircraft). “Being at the controls for this unique fly-past was a memorable occasion.”

With lots of input from Aston Martin’s motorsports program, the Vulcan was introduced at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. It allows the driver to tailor the track experience to level of comfort, with adjustable suspension, traction control and braking. It weighs just 1,350 kg (just shy of 3,000 lbs.) and costs £1.5 million (about $3 million Canadian). Yes, that’s $100 per pound.

For that outlay, though, buyers will also get extensive instruction on simulators and the opportunity to shake out the car on some of the world’s most notable race tracks. Deliveries are slated for the end of 2015.