What's the difference between the Vantage, Le Mans, & V600?

What's the difference between the Vantage, Le Mans, & V600?

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AngeloUccello

Original Poster:

27 posts

83 months

Sunday 7th May 2017
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Just wondered if someone could demystify this for me: what's the difference between the old Aston Martin Vantage, the Vantage Le Mans, and the Le Mans V600? Thanks.

OLDBENZ

392 posts

134 months

Sunday 7th May 2017
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OK - I will have a go.

The Vantage was a supercharged development of the Virage produced in limited numbers (fewer than 300) between 1993 and 1999/2000. The panelwork was different at the nose and tail with triple headlights behind headlamp covers and circular 'grapefruit' rear lights (possibly piched from the Corvette) and 'pumped up at the arches'. Interesting the V5s for these cars shows them as Virages presumably for type-approval reasons.

The V600 was a pricey post-delivery Works Services conversion that bumped up the power from 550 bhp to 600 bhp.

The Le Mans was a run-out model for the last 40 cars although there was a further very limited runout of SWB Volantes. Distinguishing features were a 'nostril' front grille, different vents in the front wings and a larger rev counter on the dash. I believe the standard engine was still a 550 bhp but most cars were specified with the larger 600 bhp. The cars with the optional 600 bhp upgrade will be known at the Vantage Le Mans V600.

I ran a late 550 for a couple of years in the mid 2000s. My recollection is that they were best described as old-school muscle cars. Fun in the dry and (completely and utterly) terrifying in the wet with rather more power than the chassis really knew what to do with. They tend to run a tad hot too as there is a lot going on under the bonnet and dissipating the heat is a challenge. Beautifully hand built.

Hope this helps.

Edited by OLDBENZ on Sunday 7th May 16:53


Edited by OLDBENZ on Sunday 7th May 16:54


Edited by OLDBENZ on Sunday 7th May 16:57

AngeloUccello

Original Poster:

27 posts

83 months

Sunday 7th May 2017
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Thanks a million, mate. That's great smile

V8LM

5,163 posts

207 months

Sunday 7th May 2017
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Just to add a couple of things to OldB's excellent post:

The Vantage became a completely different car from the Virage. There were two engine-test prototypes built around the Virage, known as the Virtage. The important different between the Vantage and the Virage was the suspension. The Vantage was only know as the Virage Vantage by the DVLA. Aston Martin called it the Vantage, and then later the V8 Vantage when they launched the V8 Coupe and V8 Volante using the same chassis.

Lights were indeed originally from the Corvette C4. However, as these were not E-marked, and Aston Martin being owned by Ford at the time, the Company had to reverse engineer their own (at considerable expense for a garden shed company). They couldn't reproduce the reflectors on the perimeter of the lights so had to stick two reflectors in the bumper (taken from the XJ40) for the production cars. Front lights were originally those used in the Alfa SZ (square) but later changed to circular projector lights. Thiis is prototype number 2, the first built as a Vantage and launched at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1992. The rear is different from the production cars:



The Driving Dynamics V600 packages were developed for Brunei. There were several packages around the engine, suspension and transmission. The engine primarily had extra intercooler cooling, supercharger reworking and different throttle cam. Brakes were 6-pot AP - the original brake was relegated to be the handbrake - on elliptical grooved discs. Transmission was a change of the differential from 3.54:1 to 3.31:1 and blanking off of 6th gear plus a reworked linkage. This way, the V600 could make 60 mph in first gear, in a proven 3.9 seconds.

The Vantage had a stated 550 hp, 550 lb ft torque. The first cars actually made more than this but stating more wasn't seen as PC.

The V600 engine package brought this up to 600 hp, 600 lb ft. These numbers were fortuitous with the name - V600 was the next from the V590 (the engine fitted to the Vantage). I believe the V600 package was going to be called with the V590X as per the X-pack from the V8 Vantage of the 80s or V595, but V600 fitted.

The V600 wasn't homologated, so all modifications had to be made post build. Cars were built and then driven over the road to Works Service where the V600 modifications were made. This included replacing things like the wheels (the V600 had hollow magnesium Dymag wheels).

The Le Mans was the run-out model. Launched in 1999, 40 years after the Company won Le Mans outright, the last 40 hand-built cars were the Le Mans. EU regulations were blamed for the end of the V8 - although this is marketing bull. The main differences between the Vantage and the Le Mans was the nose (the Le Mans had a blanked off grille with two nostrils - this was actually on the clay concept of the Vantage), the side vents were reprofiled to reflect the DBR1 of 1959, the interior wood was replaced with a metalized finish, and a large tachometer.

The Le Mans were originally planned to all be Almond Green to reflect the DBR1, but many customers ordered others.



The Vantage Le Mans is also one of the few cars that has 'Le Mans' in its name - most are LM (ACO are protective of the association between cars and their race).

As said, the Le Mans could be ordered with or without the V600 engine and transmission packages. Many European-delivered cars have the V600 engine mods but not the transmission mods so it could pass drive-by noise regulations. There's a 550 Le Mans at next weekend's Bonhams Auction.

Edited by V8LM on Sunday 7th May 23:01

AngeloUccello

Original Poster:

27 posts

83 months

Monday 8th May 2017
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That's fantastic! Thanks a lot for the thorough response smile

V8LM

5,163 posts

207 months

Monday 8th May 2017
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Happy to help. You might guess I'm rather attached to these things.

AngeloUccello

Original Poster:

27 posts

83 months

Monday 8th May 2017
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Absolutely - and it's very easy to see why.

williamp

19,177 posts

271 months

Monday 8th May 2017
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As an aside, I believe Aston were the first to use "Le Mans" as a name for a car:


petop

2,122 posts

164 months

Tuesday 9th May 2017
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Excellent read there.
As with nearly all Astons, doesn't matter how old they are they still will make passers by give it a second look and certainly the Vantage.
When I picked up my "newer" Vantage I saw these in Works.....


And then a engine in a Vantage undergoing work. Love the superchargers and the air intakes pipework taken out of the QE2....brilliant!



Compare to a One-77 engine.....

Agent57

1,602 posts

152 months

Tuesday 9th May 2017
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Interesting that the new DB11 and Vanquish S have only just got back up to 600 BHP now.

Dixy

2,887 posts

203 months

Tuesday 9th May 2017
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All questions answered here http://astonmartins.com/