Monday 24th October 2011


DB7 BUYING GUIDE: BODY


Still cited by some enthusiasts as the most beautiful car in the world, the DB7's looks were matched by its use of high-tech materials. The bumpers, front wings, sills, boot lid and bonnet of early cars were all made from a composite material. The bonnet was made from steel for post-July 1996 cars, so most cars have this type of engine cover.


Clever use of lightweight panels brought challenges with painting the DB7, which throws up problems with any accident repairs. Bubbling on the front wings is not rust but a sign the exterior membrane of the panel has ruptured and the only way to completely cure the paint fault is to replace the panel. Panels are readily available from Aston Martin but are expensive, so check the paintwork of any DB7 thoroughly.

While looking at the paint, you should study the door bottoms, rear wheelarches and around the rear screen for signs of corrosion. This is more likely on 2002-on cars, which did not have the same level of anti-corrosion protection as earlier cars.

Uneven panel gaps are a warning of poor crash repairs, though very early DB7s were not noted for their high standards of fit or finish. A replacement windscreen can also cause trouble if not installed perfectly as a misaligned plastic scuttle trim can let water into the cabin.


The Volante's fabric roof is a good quality item, but the rear three-quarter panel is susceptible to wear as it's the part that folds the most in operation. Also, this section of the hood can wear unduly if the rubber covers have come off the hood irons, allowing the irons to chafe the hood's fabric. Repairs can be made without replacing the entire hood, but it's a specialist trimming job. Also make sure the tonneau cover is supplied with the car and to use when driving with the hood down as it helps keep the roof lining clean. The hood is operated electrically and it should raise and lower smoothly, if not that quickly.

Vantage and GT versions of the DB7 are easily spotted by their different front bumper. This incorporates front foglights and a larger lower air intake that was necessary to help cool the V12 engine. The bumper's lower edge also acts as a splitter to direct air around the car rather than under it. Other changes for the Vantage required a larger transmission tunnel to accommodate the heftier gearboxes needed to cope with the V12's power. The body of the Vantage was also stiffer thanks to extra bracing underneath the floor and torsional rigidity was up 5% compared to the 3.2-litre car.


Inspired by the DB4 GT Zagato, Aston again teamed up with the Italian firm for the DB7 Zagato. It has a number of distinguishing features, among them the 'double bubble' roof, shortened tail, and much broader and deeper front grille. The Zagato's body is constructed from aluminium and is based on a shortened Vantage Volante chassis. Using aluminium for the body shaved 60kg from the kerb weight of a standard Vantage and the Zagato was offered in three colour choices: Mercury Grey, Aqua Verde or Zagato Nero. It also has unique rear quarter lights, rear screen and boot, plus one-off rear lights. A Zagato badge finishes off the exterior changes.

The most popular colour for the DB7 is green, notably Aston's trademark shade, followed by silver and blue. These colours remain the most popular, so bear this in mind for when you want to sell the car on.

Buying Guide Contents
Introduction
Powertrain
Body
Rolling chassis
Interior
Insurance
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Author: Chris-R
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