ASTON MARTIN DB7 VANTAGE VOLANTE V12 2004
Aston Martin’s revival under Ford properly began with the launch of the DB7 in 1993. The Blue Oval giant had snapped up the smaller British marque in 1987, seeking to improve its standing in the luxury performance world. And although the Virage debuted one year later, its design and development dated from pre-Ford days, with much of its underpinnings shared with previous V8 and Lagonda machines.
The DB7 was conceived as an entry level model - something to make Aston Martin a little more accessible. By necessity, that meant it had to make use of resources from Ford’s other divisions, most notably Jaguar. The project began work as a proposed XJS successor, with Tom Walkinshaw of TWR a major driving force behind it, while Ian Callum styled the gorgeous-looking body. When Jaguar debuted its XK model three years later, it therefore wasn’t that much of a surprise that it bore more than a distinct resemblance to the DB7. But Aston Martin did it first.
The car was an instant success, and would ultimately go on to sell over 7000 examples until it was superseded by the DB9 in 2004. However, it certainly didn’t stay the same during its 11-year life. At launch, the cars (in coupe form only) sported a 3228cc six-cylinder engine of 335bhp. When it became obvious that there was huge interest from customers, the convertible Volante was added in 1996. Then, in 1999, the Vantage was unleashed. Traditionally, the term was used for ‘breathed-on’ versions of Aston Martins, but with the DB7, the tweaks were much more pronounced. A 5395cc V12 of 420bhp was fitted, and the body and running gear comprehensively revised. This time, there was no need to wait for the Volante; it was present from the start. The V12 DB7 was such a triumph that sales of the six-cylinder models melted away, and they were withdrawn from sale in 2000.
Having addressed outright performance - the Vantage, in unrestrained form, could hit 184mph - Aston Martin then looked at handling, with the GT and GTA variants of 2002. These had revised suspension, improved aerodynamics, better brakes and, in the case of the manual transmission GT, a tad more power (435bhp rather than 420bhp). The automatic GTA retained the 420bhp output of the ‘standard’ Vantage.
More knowledgeable Aston Martin enthusiasts may well have spotted rather an anomaly with this car. It has some of the trademarks of a GTA model - such as the mesh grille, badging and five-spoke alloys - but Aston Martin never actually built an open-top version of the GT or GTA. So what’s going on?
Well, the answer is that a previous owner of this V12 Vantage Volante personalised it with some of the GT/GTA upgrades. This doesn’t just include the cosmetic alterations such as the grille, wheels etc; peer through the wheels’ spokes and you’ll find improved Brembo brake discs that are grooved rather than cross-drilled (as they were on the Vantage). He’s also added some of his own individualistic and, in places, flamboyant touches, such as engine, brake and suspension parts and components highlighted in red and yellow. It certainly makes this DB7 very distinctive.
The owner clearly loved his April 2004-registered Aston Martin is other ways, keeping it in a dry, secure garage on ramps. However, for those who like more concrete evidence of due diligence, there’s a well-organised history file containing lots of bills stretching back over the years. It also includes a book on the DB7 signed by Ian Callum, as well as magazine features.
Current mileage is just under 39,000 miles, which is fully verified by the MoT history - a complete clean sheet of passes, incidentally. At its first test, in 2007, mileage was 22,765, so in 13 years, this Aston Martin has only covered just over 16,000 miles; a figure that many modern machines manage in just a year or so. It will be sold with a full MoT.
There isn’t much to find fault with here. With such little use over the years, the metallic black paint still has a deep, even shine to it, and aside from the occasional age-related mark, it’s all in excellent condition. The hood is similarly unmarked; there are no tears, worn areas or signs of moss or other wear. It has obviously been very looked after and goes up and down swiftly, with no hesitation or worrying noises. Panel gaps are straight and consistent throughout.
The brightwork is limited to items such as the door mirror backs, side air intake strakes and door handles. It’s all excellent. The same applies to the GT/GTA-specific wheels - there’s no scuffing or marking of any kind. Flawless red-painted brake calipers are very noticeable behind the alloys. The tyres are Bridgestones - original spec for GT/GTAs - with 245/40 ZR18s S-02s at the front and 265/35 ZR18 S-02s at the rear. The former date to 2014, the latter 2012, but all have plenty of tread left and no obvious signs of damage.
Move inside, and you’ll find all the creature comforts that you’d expect from an Aston Martin. There’s acres of plush black leather and what looks like lighter burr oak or elm wood trim, rather than the darker walnut or maple found in many DB7s. While all seems to be original, it’s in very good order - yes, there’s some light patina to the hide, and some superficial scratching in places on the wood, but there’s nothing to offend and probably much less than you’d expect from a 16-year-old car. The black carpets have survived well, with minimal wear and tear.
All the gauges function as they should, as do the controls. Looking at the cigarette lighter, it doesn’t seem to have ever seen the tip of a cigarette or cigar - a bonus for those who prefer their vehicles not to have been smoked in.
Being an automatic, there are three different ways of swapping cogs - by standard automatic mode, Sport mode (which changes gears at higher revs), or sequential Touchtronic using the gearknob or controls on the steering wheel.
The audio equipment is the original Becker Traffic Pro system, with navigation system. Departures from standard include a telephone microphone mounted at the top of the centre console, and the telephone/sat-nav mounting pad on the top of the dashboard.
The boot area is as tidy as the main cabin, with fitted red ‘ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE VOLANTE V12’-branded carpeting. It also has a fire extinguisher installed.
ENGINE AND RUNNING GEAR
Lift the bonnet and you’ll find a lot more colour than is usual in most DB7 engine bays, where everything is generally muted and monochrome. The central main cover along with the front panel has been finished in red, while some of the pipework and support brackets are yellow. It’s definitely eye-catching. A ‘6.0 POWER’ badge leaves you in no doubt as to how much punch this DB7 is packing. There’s also an additional Aston Martin winged logo mounted ahead of the front panel. The original final inspection plaque remains in place, testifying that Aston Martin employee Andy Brind checked this car over before it left for a new home. Good job, sir.
Suffice to say, this was an engine bay intended to be shown off, and therefore, it’s also been kept very clean. In fact, it’s pretty close to spotless. All the fluids look healthy and are the levels they should be. There are no signs of any leaks.
With less than 40,000 miles under its tyres, it’s no surprise that the engine still feels perfect - it’s strong, immensely powerful, and there’s no hesitation in acceleration - which is epic if provoked. No untoward noises - from the engine, gearbox or suspension - are apparent. The transmission handles its changes with aplomb, while the upgraded brakes are superb at bringing the DB7 to a rapid but undramatic halt. In short, this Aston Martin still behaves exactly the way that the Bloxham factory intended, 16 years ago.
For a convertible, this DB7 feels very stable and free from scuttle shake. Looking underneath, its becomes more obvious why, with cross-bracing sections picked out in red and yellow. Away from these, the chassis has been comprehensively undersealed, even though, with modern corrosion-proofing techniques, there was probably little need. But it’s yet another indication of the lengths its previous custodian went to, to make sure the car was preserved for a long time to come.
This is an Aston DB7 that somebody has made their own, with extra upgrades and touches. With these later, Ford era Astons being less individualistic than their predecessors from the 1980s and before, the modifications do go a long way towards making this one stand out from the crowd. Beyond this, though, it’s an excellent, low-mileage example of the one of the most desirable DB7 variants; the al fresco V12. All-in-all, it’s a very special machine that deserves an owner who will look after and love it as much as those who have gone before.
Whilst Greenside Cars Ltd has tried to ensure information and assessments are accurate and complete, we are aware that some errors and omissions may occur from time to time. We are not able, therefore, to guarantee the accuracy of information and cannot accept liability for loss or damage arising from it. We highly recommend that you examine any vehicle to check the reliability of the information supplied. Please contact us for further details, images, or to arrange a viewing of this Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante V12.
- LayoutFront Engined
- Power 420 bhp
- Torque 400 lbs/ft
- Top speed 165 mph
- Acceleration0 to 62 in 5 s
- Driven wheelsRear Wheel Drive
- Economy 14.8 mpg
- Body typeConvertible
- Emissions 460 (g/km)
- Vehicle height 1,260 mm
- Vehicle width 1,875 mm
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