PH Buying Guide: Aston Martin DB7

The need for a smaller, more affordable model was recognised within Aston Martin while Victor Gauntlett was still at the helm. However, it was Ford's money after the Blue Oval took charge of Aston in 1988 that allowed the DB7 project to get under way.

Codenamed DP1999, the project that became the DB7 was headed by Rod Mansfield and the car soon came to be referred to as NPX within the Aston factory. More than 30 prototypes were built and tested before the eventual first DB7 production car went on sale in 1994, the car having made its debut at the previous year's Geneva Motor Show.

Claims the DB7 was simply a restyled Jaguar XJ-S are nonsense. The DB7 did use some Jaguar parts, but the DB7 was a fresh design, styled by Ian Callum, and it used a bespoke 3228cc straight-six engine with an Eaton supercharger to produce 335bhp. A soft-top Volante version was always in the production plan, but it took till 1996 for this convertible model to be revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in 1996.

As buyers demanded more power from the DB7, Aston obliged in 1999 by replacing the six-cylinder car with the V12-engined Vantage. A 6.0-litre, 420bhp motor helped raise top speed from 165mph to 185mph and 0-60mph dropped from 5.8 seconds to 5.0 seconds flat with a manual transmission.

This set the template for the remainder of the DB7's life, though Aston launched Zagato and DB American Roadster limited editions, with 99 of each built. There was also the DB7 GT as a last hurrah from January 2003 till September 2004. It arrived as the most potent DB7 model at the Birmingham motor show in November 2002, packing 435bhp for the manual version (420bhp for the auto), though performance remained the same as for the Vantage.

The GT was the curtain call for the DB7, which had done the trick for Aston by securing the company's financial footing. When DB7 production ceased, more than 7,000 cars of all models had been built, which accounted for more than a third of all Astons ever built at that point.

Production numbers:
DB7 3.2 Coupe
- 1,605 built
DB7 3.2 Volante - 879 built
DB7 Vantage Coupe and Volante - 4,156 built
DB7 TWR - 1 built
DB7 Zagato - 99 built
DB7 GT - 190 built, plus 112 GTA models
DB American Roadster 1 - 99 built

Buying guide contents:
Rolling chassis
Search for AstonDB7s in the PH Classifieds


Comments (65) Join the discussion on the forum

  • British Beef 11 Nov 2011

    You make the DB7 sound more enticing, the more compact packaging and "classic car dynamics" definately appeal to me.

    Is servicing / working on a DB7 Vatage tricky? I live North of Aberdeen, nearest AM stealer or specialist is a good 3 hours drive away, so would use a local (good) mechanic.

    The DB( strikes me as tardis in reverse, regarding interior space, I suppose that is the sacrifice paid for the low slung looks and the stonking v12 motor.

  • yeti 31 Oct 2011

    British Beef said:
    How does the DB7 v12 compares with an early DB9 manual in terms of driving, performance and reliability?
    The two aren't really comparable - the DB7 drives very much like a classic car but with a level of reliability and pace that is very un-classic, the DB9 is just so very much more modern. It doesnt feel like one became the other, there is no evolution, it's just a totally different car, just the engine carried over really. This is sometimes one of the reasons cited for the missingout of the 'DB8' name, though there are other reasons too. I think it might be like comparing the DB6 to the DB7, the change is that huge!

    Performance and driving isn't far off to be honest, the power difference is negligable as is the weight differential. A DB7 GT manual is a heck of a car but I think would be more money to run - 6-monthly services and certain flaws in the design mean you ca expect something to be fixed/replaced every service. I'd have one again though, they're terrific cars and I miss mine! On the road (rather than circuit), you'd hardly notice the difference in pace and when I got my DB9 I'm sorry to say it was lacking in character by comparison - it had a more mass-produced feel, though for most this wouldn't be a bad thing. Also the DB7 is a very nice size, the 9 is hugely wide. Ity all helps on the road and through towns or parking!

  • British Beef 31 Oct 2011

    GaryU said:
    I am a bit of a DB7 V12 nut and do about 10000 per year in my four cars..
    My DB7 Zagato is a fantastic car and it was available in any colour (not 3 as it says in the article.).
    Damn right you're a DB7 nut. Must be a hell of a nice looking garage / art gallery.

    I agree that these are beautiful looking and great sounding / going cars, and currently good value! Plus they are available with a V12, RWD and Manual gearbox. The number of new cars available with that combination are very limited.

    How does the DB7 v12 compares with an early DB9 manual in terms of driving, performance and reliability?

  • Jockman 28 Oct 2011

    Blimey Monsieur le Yeti, has to be bad for you to react like that matey !! smile

  • yeti 28 Oct 2011

    Rob2005 you're coming across as a retarded, yet still unlikeable child.

    Sod off back to whichever rock you came out from, there's a good lad. This is a good natured thread on a good natured forum.

    Just your poorly informed vitriol spoiling it for others.

    Edited by yeti on Friday 28th October 15:25

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