Geneva is one of the world's great auto shows, if for no other reason than it's the place where Italy's design houses and coachbuilders -carrozzerie- annually roll out their latest concept cars. This year, Aston Martin previewed the production version its voluptuous Vanquish (covered elsewhere in this issue). But that wasn't the only Aston on the show floor. The Aston Martin Twenty Twenty concept from 2001 was designed by Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro of ItalDesign.
The fully-functioning concept car was intended as a vision for a convertible Aston Martin sports car for the year 2020. Italdesign sprung this amazing car on the unsuspecting visitors to the 2001 Geneva Salon L'Auto. This startling car, based on an early production DB7 Vantage, has a body shape made of exposed extruded aluminium structural elements; body panels made from plastic and carbon fibre are fitted onto it. Thankfully Aston Martin’s current styling trend is headed in a completely different direction to the Twenty Twenty concept.
The brushed aluminium highlighting lines which adorn the Aston Martin Twenty Twenty are an original design feature. However their overuse (especially around the front) gives the concept an unusual, almost comical appearance from some angles. The grille surround almost looks like lipstick.
The Twenty Twenty is powered by front mounted, uprated version of the 6 litre V12 from the DB7 Vantage, said to produce 500bhp - visible through a grilled fairing on the bonnet. Initially it appears to be a strict 2 seater, although the rear bulkhead can be removed to provide seating for two children. The rear of the Aston Martin Twenty Twenty (from the doors back) is more appealing with more conservative use of bare aluminium. The soft top is stored in its own special housing that can be slotted into position between the roll-bar and the windscreen, 'Targa' fashion. Notice the fantastic door hinges - derived from the classic Aston wing vent, are both decorative and functional elements.
Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aston Martin previously co-operated in 1961, when Carrozzeria Bertone worked on the two-seater DB4GT Jet coupe prototype. And like the original 'Jet' car, the 2020 is destined to remain unique. Aston Martin are believed to have thought the 2020 'interesting', but no plans were ever made even for limited production. As the Twenty Twenty isn't an official Aston Martin design project, don't look for any sort of production version. What about the name? Simple: It's the term commonly used to describe perfect vision. And the Giugiaros clearly have good eyes.
In March 2004, I received an e-mail claiming the 2020 was for sale, but I have been unable to find any reference to this anywhere. But the car was seen for the first time in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, June 2005.