The faint sound of racing lingers while the sky is dark gray and cold mist layers everything. A dazzling bright blue Aston Martin stands out against the dark scene at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway located near the Monterey Peninsula in California.
No, this isn’t the beginning of a James Bond film, but it could be.
“I have always been a huge James Bond fan,” said Scott Sean Frederick Constantine, who daily drives a 2011 Aston Martin Vantage S. “That’s what initially led me to like the Aston Martin brand. I think the Vantage is one of the most beautiful cars ever made.”
Bond is traditionally known for driving an Aston Martin DB5 but has driven other makes and models throughout the James Bond series, including a Vantage, seen in the 1987 Bond film, The Living Daylights.
“The sound Aston Martin’s exhaust is intoxicating and extremely addictive,” Constantine said. “The other thing that tends to be a deciding factor for me is exclusivity. I like driving cars you don’t see every day. Since Aston’s are hand built in England, they only produce a few thousand cars per year. They truly knocked it out of the park with the Vantage, and I specifically sought out this model and bought it from a private dealer in Redondo Beach.”
As a long time fan of Aston Martin, Constantine naturally gravitated to the automakers GT cars. He commented that the Vantage isn’t typically the quickest car in its class, but he thinks it looks better and sounds better than the Porsche 911 – it’s the leading competitor.
“The vast majority of the Aston GT teams all have some sort of ‘007 stickers’ on them,” he said. “I love the cars and the movies, so I had to get a license plate that paid respect to the heritage. Since my car isn’t a true James Bond car, it’s only close in looks, I decided on 007 ISH.”
From the start, Constantine’s goal has been to make his daily driven Aston Martin look as much like the GT3/4 racecars as possible. The Vantage was stock with Savini wheels when Constantine purchased it, and he quickly added window tint followed by an X-Pipe.
Over the last year of ownership, Constantine has added a custom satin yellow stripe to contrast with the factory cobalt blue. The roof is wrapped in gloss black, and the car has gloss black decals along the side of it as well. The front of the car features a custom made for racing, carbon fiber Vantage GT3 style hood and Vantage GT4 canards complemented with a carbon fiber GT wing in the rear.
Handbuilt in England, this Aston Martin comes powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine hooked to a 7-speed ASM2 transmission. Its rated with 445 horsepower and is stopped by a set of 6-piston Brembo front brakes and 4-piston Brembo’s in the rear.
“I’ve done all the work on her myself, except for painting the hood,” he said. “That was done locally at Empire Restoration. I’ve had some assistance from friends as well.”
For Constantine one of the most challenging aspects of modifying the car has been the car itself. “Despite being handbuilt, everything is extremely hard to get to on this car,” he said adding that his experience wrapping pieces of it have given him more respect for professionals.
“Wrapping a car, or pieces of a car, is truly an art. It takes lots of patience, and I had never done it before this car.” Constantine shared that he and a friend messed up the first application of clear wrap on the hood the first time around, but he gained more patience and skill from experience and became more comfortable working with paint protection film.
According to Constantine, the hardest part to find was the aftermarket carbon fiber hood. Unable to find any manufacturers who make a Vantage GT3 style hood for a Vantage street car, Constantine came across the hood by chance at a Cars and Coffee event at Canepa Motorsports.
“I met a guy who brought a TRG owned Vantage GT4 racecar,” Constantine said. “We started talking about Aston, and he revealed to me he was the parts manager for the race team. I just happened to ask him about the hood, and he told me the team had a number of them custom made. A couple of days later I borrowed a buddy’s SUV and picked it up. It’s entirely plausible that my car is the only street Vantage that has that style hood.”
Constantine added another challenge he faced came with the addition of the GT wing because he was so anxious about drilling holes in the hatch, which is a hefty $5,000 to replace should it have been done incorrectly.
For Constantine, the best part of his car is the color. “Astons typically are always some shade of silver/gray/titanium, black or white. It’s not often you see a blue one. I have always loved blue cars and was lucky enough to find the model I wanted in the best color they offered, in my opinion.”
Beyond that, the sound of the car is another highlight. “It’s very addicting. Doesn’t help that Monterey has a nice long tunnel where you can really hear her.”
Plans for the car include adding more power, a tune, and some headers. “There are a few other things I’d like to do, but nothing is cheap when it comes to an Aston Martin” he added.
Additionally, Constantine hopes to show the car more often. The first car show he participated in was “Cool September Days” in Lake Tahoe. “I won my class of ‘Best Sports Car over $20,000.’ I would like to show the car again at the next event.”