The V8 Vantage in question appeared in our classifieds recently and is about as modestly priced as a V8 Vantage gets at the moment. As such we had our reservations about how well presented it might be, but as you can see it doesn't look half-bad at all. Admittedly, Onyx Black is probably one of the more appealing colours for a Vantage, but nevertheless an exterior inspection revealed a chip in the paint on the tailgate, a curious 'dimple' near the top of the passenger door, some general light scratching, a very minor windscreen chip (well above the line of vision), and one wheel which would benefit from a refurb.
So far then the only thing that might put you off would be the mileage, so we asked how it drove. Being a keen PHer (who attends Le Mans every year by the way) our man just grinned and uttered 'let's go for a spin. I know a good route.' The route he spoke of offered plenty of opportunities to give the Vantage the berries and featured a number of quiet, wide, empty roundabouts. Heaven. From this run out the conclusion was that the car still drove drum-tight, didn't squeak or rattle and the sound...oh, the sound. There are V8s out there which deliver more low-down grunt, but once it's in the upper-end of its rev range there are few engines of any description that sound better.
Nicholas Mee is an independent Aston Martin specialist who has a lot of experience successfully racing the V8 Vantage as well as servicing road cars, and commercial director Neil Garrard (unsurprisingly, perhaps) rates the baby Aston. "I'd go so far as to say that the V8 Vantage is the most affordable and possibly the most robust of the currents Astons to run. Now that the values have dropped they're a particularly good proposition." A five-year or 50,000-mile service will cost £727 plus VAT from a specialist like this using genuine Aston Martin parts, while a set of front brake pads for example is £396 plus VAT (and that's the price from a specialist, for the fronts only!)
Stratton Motor Company also reckons that a V8 Vantage is good news. "Obviously you have to buy one that's been serviced to schedule, but in our experience they're very reliable cars. Personally, though, I reckon you'd get even better value for money from a £40,000 car. A lot of the value with a Vantage is its history." Of course a main dealer is going to be the pricier option when it comes to servicing, but they can still be of use even if you're planning on getting your car serviced by a specialist, because from about £300 they'll do a full written report and road test to help point out any issues that may be on the horizon.
It seems then that there's nothing to be too concerned about if you're considering getting into V8 Vantage ownership at the more affordable end of the market, as long as you're happy to fork out for the servicing, and you get it done on time. Speaking of which, servicing is a key issue with the car we went to see, because it's due one. The vendor is aware of this, though, and from speaking to him it's likely that he'd take this into account if you were serious about buying. The good news is that those expensive brakes shouldn't be needing any attention in the near future because they were replaced - discs and all - in August. Oh and the Potenzas are all in good nick too.