Does the VPI Aries1 best the VPI Classic1?

I would think it should.
Anyone have an opinion based on side by side comparisons?
I have an Aries 1 Extended with an original JMW-12 arm. I've heard the Classic and Classic 3. Heard all of them with the same kind of cartridge - AT-OC9/II.

IMO, the Aries definitely keeps up with the Classic tables.

To my ear, the Aries is more detailed because it provides a better sense of soundstage and venue. Those are subtle details that are dug out better on the Aries. I do get a slightly better sense of upper midrange texture with the Classics but it is much more subtle than the soundstage differences.

I think any evaluation of the Aries must take into consideration all the different variations to that platform. The big plinth of the Extended version vs. standard size, the multitude of different platters that are available, motor configurations, SDS vs. Variac vs. wall outlet, arms, arm wiring, belts... All can have an impact on reproduction quality.

But for me, the bottom line is that the Aries Extended with a JMW-12 arm is my last turntable. I have no compelling reason to change.
Yes, direct comparisons. I've compared Aries, Aries 3, and Classic 1. In the same system with the same carts. Aries 1 and 3 easily beat the Classic 1 in every category. I concluded that the more sturdy acrylic plinth and the non-aluminum platters (TNT and Acrylic) were the main reasons.
I have the Aries 1, and I found no reason to change to other VPI products, especially since the increase in cost never produces the 'better sound' that I would expect. Let us all be honest, Harry is a profit making machine and he does so by reinventing the 'wheel' every two years. A marketing genius he is.
The Classic aluminum platter is a step up
It seems to me that the original Aries is the best designed turntable out there. Built like a rock and delicate enough to handle anything you can throw at it. With the right cartridge and tonearm combination this should be all the table anyone would need.
Stringreen - I respectfully disagree. The arm on the Classic should take it beyond the Aries 1, yet the overall quality falls short. Everything else being equal, the edge should go to the Classic if the aluminum platter is a step up. But the Aries 1 still covers it handily.
I've always admired the look of the Aries and HRX series -- gorgeous works of art. I can even admire the Super Scoutmaster (though to a lesser extent) for its no-nonsense solid build. With those tables, it seems like you pay X amount of cash and get back 2X in build quality & looks. At least in that regard, the Classic line was such a huge step backwards. To be fair they're still nice looking tables, but...what happened?
I had the Linn LP12, went to VP I MkII, III, IV, Aries, Scoutmaster Signature, back to Aries and will stay there. The Aries just does so much right, and isolates rumble better than the Acrylic platter tables. A real Classic.....mine will not be sold until all my vinyl is on a hard drive run through DSD .....which won't be soon. Hang onto them. PT
I agree that the Aries 1 is probably one of the best turntables ever designed (IMO). I got rid of mine and have regretted it ever since. What I should have done was swap the tonearm to another brand, but that's a different discussion.

I did just see and hear the new Pear Audio Blue Kid Thomas turntable at THE Show in Newport last weekend. Tonearm aside, it was (sort of) similar to the Aries 1 in design. It looks like you could mount any 9"-10" arm on the turntable.
The Aries 3 was a HUGE step up from my original Aries. The original Aries is not in the same league at all.