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V8 Powered Aston Martin “Smart Car” Puts on a Show at Goodwood

If you’ve never heard of the Aston Martin Cygnet, it’s for good reason – it’s often considered one of Aston Martin’s biggest flops. Priced at $40,000, the Cygnet was essentially a rebranded version of the $13,000 Toyota iQ (similar to a Smart Car). While it’s not uncommon for premium brands to add their flair to existing models and charge a premium, the Cygnet failed to capture the market’s imagination. Only 150 units or so were ever sold, and even though some sources recall that it made its way to the American market for a second year of production, I have my doubts having never seen one.

Despite its underwhelming sales history, the Cygnet has found its place in automotive lore, with a handful of unique examples that defy its lackluster reputation. One such example made a noteworthy appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, sparking interest among enthusiasts.

Originally equipped with a modest 1.3 L four-cylinder engine, this particular Cygnet underwent a remarkable transformation. It now boasts a robust 4.7 L V8, the same powerhouse found in the Aston Martin Vantage S. While the natural assumption might be that a skilled enthusiast performed this engine swap in their garage, surprising information speaks to another much more intriguing story – Aston Martin itself was behind this bold modification.

According to a report by Road and Track, Aston Martin’s “Q” division that promises “The ultimate expression of individuality. An opportunity to work with a dedicated team of designers and engineers, to realise your perfect Aston Martin,” played a pivotal role in this Cygnet’s evolution. This division that one might presume is limited to selecting finishes and personal touches, went above and beyond by customizing the chassis to accommodate the formidable V8. The result? A compact car with a powerhouse, producing 430 hp and 361 pound-feet of torque, defying expectations and breathing new life into the Cygnet.

In a mesmerizing showcase, the Cygnet throttles its way through the Goodwood Festival of Speed, aiming to make the most of its newfound capabilities, including a remarkable top speed of 170 mph.