RE: The Brave Pill: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

RE: The Brave Pill: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Saturday 4th May

The Brave Pill: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Our most expensive Pill so far, yet one that still offers a stonking amount of car for the money



While it's impossible to quote in French at the top of a story without looking like a ponce, a large part of Pill's raison d' etre is to highlight the bargain status of some of our riskier investment opportunities. Including some, like this week's, which allow you to ponce things up on the cheap.

Of course, these things are relative. This week's Pill is being offered for more than the combined values of any two of our previous stars. Yet this stealthy-looking Aston is also the cheapest Vantage V8 we could find on sale anywhere in the UK. Indeed, apart from some faded examples of the not-especially loved six-cylinder DB7, it seems to be the cheapest Aston full stop.

There is a reason for that - a six figure mileage which, if the naysayers are to be believed, will cause Helen Lovejoy to swoon and loudly wonder why anybody won't think of the children. 117,000 miles only equates to a modest 8,400 a year for this early 2005 car, and it seems to have been well looked after throughout that time. But in this rarefied part of the market that odometer tally is regarded as stratospheric; the Vantage pretty much has a nun walking behind it ringing a bell and calling out "shame".


The British market has always been strangely blinkered where it comes to leggier exotics, fetishizing ultra low mileage examples which have barely been used and which are likely to have suffered from the lack of exercise. It's different in other countries. I once seriously considered buying a 350,000-mile Mercedes 500E I found on mobile.de, the German vendor of which was offering it for almost exactly the same price as cars that had gone less than half as far, on the basis it had been driven flat-out every day and maintained regardless of cost. But in Blighty we often end up with the strange situation of owners afraid to use their hugely expensive cars for fear of dinging their values.

Our Pill frees its next owner from any such concerns, which could be a truly liberating experience. It also gives the chance to get into an Aston fitted with a proper do-it-yourself manual gearbox; this in the same week that the marque announced the radical innovation of putting a clutch pedal into the £149,995 AMR version of the current Vantage.

This Vantage itself is well on the way to classic status. Introduced in 2005 it had its design attributed to both Ian Callum (who started it) and Henrik Fisker (who finished). When new it won the Car of the Year award from Car Design News, the car stylist's favourite magazine, so it's not hard to see why both men would want to be associated with what remains a spectacularly good-looking car. Even after 14 years the muscular, tightly wrapped contours can turn heads, drop jaws and even get the doormen in swish hotels removing the velvet ropes they use to guard the spot next to the entrance.


Okay, so the interior feels old and short on toys by modern standards, with the fit-and-finish of cabin materials in early cars like this one being distinctly, um, hand-built. The reddish facings of the leather trim in this one won't be to all tastes either, but the view from behind the steering wheel of your own Aston Martin is always one that will take some beating. This one also features the early pop-up satellite navigation system, which has all the graphical dexterity of a bus stop departures board and is a great way of amusing passengers, if not actually receiving meaningful guidance.

The Vantage sits on the same bonded aluminium "VH" architecture which underpinned the DB9, and which - in modified guise - still lies at the heart of the brand's GT models. The engine was based on Jaguar's long-serving AJ-V8, both Jag and Aston were owned by Ford at the time, but this was substantially modified with new quad-cam cylinder heads along with a standard dry sump lubrication syste

When new, the Vantage was (mildy) criticised for lacking the effortless low-down muscle that previous Astons had led reviewers to expect. The V8 makes its full 385hp at a high 7,300rpm and the full 302lb ft of torque only arrives at a peaky 5,000rpm. But hindsight has probably done an interesting number on that one; the idea of a rev-happy naturally aspirated engine that isn't going to try and spit you off when the turbos spool up sounds refreshingly different to the modern sportscar norm, doesn't it?


The engine is generally regarded to be tough, but running costs will be high. Routine servicing can be eye-wateringly expensive on an Aston, even when using a specialist to try and reduce the pain. But Vantages don't rust, will do 20-something mpg when cruising and the manual gearbox shouldn't have the appetite for clutches of the boorish automated Speedshift.

This car seems to have been well looked after with recent clutch, tyre and brake replacements according to the vendor, while the MOT history doesn't highlight anything of significance beyond a partial strike by the lighting system last year. (It does however prove the car has been thoroughly enjoyed, covering an impressive 22,000 miles between March 2016 and April 2017.)

In a world where even the ugly ducking that was the iQ-based Cygnet has now got past £30,000, it's hard not to see this Vantage as something of a steal. As a curly haired TV presenter once asked, "is there a better expression in the English language than 'let's take the Aston'?"

See the original advert here

Author
Discussion

Harry Flashman

Original Poster:

13,257 posts

183 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
I'll kick this off. Owned one (2007 4.3 coupe), loved it, but big bills at 30k to 40k miles: I spent a lot getting my fully histories, two owner car sorted over the 10,000 miles I had it, and stuff went wrong every month. Mostly consumables though, so if this car has had clutch, brakes and suspension done recently, OK. But absolutely every part on these cars costs an enormous amount - more than Ferraris for some stuff (£600 for a single coil spring, anyone?), as you will find on the numerous threads on these here. And specialists charge almost as much labour as dealers: floating around somewhere on the AM forum is my hilarious (think thousands) quote to get the brakes replaced. When you start replacing things like engine mounts and suspension arms, as you will on a high mileage car like this, have lots of cash ready for parts, and have a local garage do the work.

And the electronics are made of chocolate. Woe betide you if you need to replace a module somewhere. I did, and I wept.

I'd have a convertible 4.7 version again, though. I'm stupid like that. Gorgeous looks, noise and drive. Hateful reliability.

Edited by Harry Flashman on Saturday 4th May 07:50

Edward Robbins

7 posts

1 month

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Blimey that is an awful lot of car for the money! I remember when these beauts came out back in 2005 and pulling up alongside one at a set of traffic lights at night, I’d not long passed my driving test and was (and still am) OBSESSED by Aston’s, this thing looked so sleek, so modern so sexy. I remember thinking how cool the pop up sat nav looked at night! I wound down the window and gave the driver a massive grin and a big thumbs up and when the lights turned green he thanked me - what a sound, a sound that will stay with me for the rest of my life. So if by some chance the chap who was driving that Aston by the cross keys pub in Corsham, Wiltshire is reading this now - thank you!

The_Doc_

16 posts

72 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Completely agree! Stop buying cars with low mileage and being scared to use them!! I love my 150k Audi, because all the depreciation is over with. I also had a Fiat coupe which had over 100k on it. Buy high and seller higher, that's my motto!

foliedouce

2,770 posts

172 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
I had a 2006 4.3 for a couple of years - lovely car, never went wrong, not cheap to service has been eluded but no more than my TVRs. Back in the day you could get good maintenance from Rick & Kay at DMS, since closed down frown

Also great presence and loads of friendly comments.

I'd have another one but would go for a newer 4.7 but then that's really the point of the Brave Pill!

Looking at the how well this has been maintained, I think it would be worth a punt. Maybe sub £20k though

snuffy

4,647 posts

225 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
I've also owned one, a 2005 couple, which I bought about 7 years ago. Mine was very low mileage, about 30k at the time, but I think I was the 7th owner (so it had had about 1 a year at the time). Servicing costs was not excessive and the only 2 non service items were new brake pads and a new rear bumper because the old one sort of had bowed somehow (you couldn't really see it unless you looked and the light caught it). Nothing went wrong with it for the time I had it.

However, as much as a tried to like it, I never really got on with it. They do look fantastic (mine was black) but it lacks something - 2 turbos in my opinion !

So it went after 18 months. Maybe the V12 would have been better for me ? But I can't afford one of those.

Finally, they do look way better than the new Vantage.


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dgmx5

106 posts

190 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
I had an offer accepted in principal last September of £19,250 incl commission on a 2006 car with 100k miles that was unsold at auction. I decided not to proceed when I got there due to various indicators that it might be a dog and had a very scruffy interior and some bodywork issues and I did not know enough about the car to be able to make a judgment.

A 4.3 would have been enough for my talent and it did feel special and sounded awesome.

2 months later, I bought a Maserati 4200CC for £9,250 - another brave pill choice. Also has a great noise but the Vantage edges it for overall occasion. It just looks so good.

Edited by dgmx5 on Saturday 4th May 09:20

Mr E

18,550 posts

200 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Harry Flashman said:
Hateful reliability.
Have you considered some sort of aftermarket cover?

LexyLex

207 posts

1 month

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
What a great car.

ianwayne

2,263 posts

209 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Agreed that despite the advice 'buy on condition,' 100k miles is a cliff for so many people.

There are DB9s with lower mileages approaching that sort of money. V12 as opposed to V8 of course and my only experience of driving a DB9 was on a track day. It was awesome. Vantage is rarer though.

Fermit and Sexy Sarah

6,106 posts

41 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Mr E said:
Harry Flashman said:
Hateful reliability.
Have you considered some sort of aftermarket cover?
After reading Lord Flash hearts M5 thread I'd say they're not worth the paper they're printed on.

crusty

545 posts

161 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Lovely car, but a quick look at the market suggests that with those miles car should be cheaper still.


BogBeast

942 posts

204 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Fermit and Sexy Sarah said:
Mr E said:
Harry Flashman said:
Hateful reliability.
Have you considered some sort of aftermarket cover?
After reading Lord Flash hearts M5 thread I'd say they're not worth the paper they're printed on.
Considering the first post in this thread I would consider a warranty company mad to warranty a car like this. Or fraudulent

LordFlathead

8,876 posts

199 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Aston now offers two fixed price services for the V8 one at £660 and the other at £800 odd plus vat plus parts. That's not ridiculous by any standards.
Coil packs are £2k each however so you need to be prudent looking at the service history on one you intend to buy. For the average of £4-5k difference between private and main dealer pricing on an 06 plate, then my money would be on the dealer as you can get them to sort minor issues as part of the deal.

The V12 Vantage is around £60k or twice the money and is the better car all around if you want performance AND looks. I predict these will hold their money better as they are effectively the last V12 supercar with a proper stick box that is available.

alec.e

1,154 posts

65 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Lovely looking/sounding cars, I would love one, however... They seem poor value for money, you are paying a premium for the name. A Jaguar XKR, would be half the price and a lot better equipped!

justin220

3,977 posts

145 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
alec.e said:
Lovely looking/sounding cars, I would love one, however... They seem poor value for money, you are paying a premium for the name. A Jaguar XKR, would be half the price and a lot better equipped!
True, but you won't have an Aston sitting on the drive. That's why these are a premium over a Jag. Some may think that's sad, but the badge has a lot of draw still

Owned two (coupe then a roadster) for a few years. Worth it for the noise alone

jagjoe

16 posts

82 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
My 2006 Vantage has just over 60K miles on it. They need to be used regularly but otherwise mine has been very reliable. Bamford Rose and other independents are fantastic with these cars. Driving mine takes a bit of effort (heavy clutch etc) but the noise, handling and confidence it inspires is fantastic. Buy on condition and history not mileage. Use it regularly, forget depreciation, keep it clean and serviced and you will enjoy every trip except being stuck in traffic. If you can get one with the lighter clutch then even better. People are interested in the car, not you! I happily let dads and lads sit in and rev the engine, it makes me happy that other people appreciate a nice car. If you buy one of these you might have the odd bill in the hundreds but the lack of depreciation and enjoyment easily outweighs that.

Cold

6,761 posts

31 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Mine's been reliable. A few consumables over the years, but nothing too outrageous. I've owned it for about 7 years now and it's currently on around 51k, of which 35k are mine. Still on its original clutch, no electrical maladies at all. If you shop around brake parts are on par with my RRS and take minutes to fit due to the design of the calipers.

My ownership experience is the complete opposite of Harry's and has been uneventful with regards to wallet opening.

Brave pill? Not needed. Scoff some M+Ms instead.

Mr E

18,550 posts

200 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Fermit and Sexy Sarah said:
After reading Lord Flash hearts M5 thread I'd say they're not worth the paper they're printed on.
Would you care to provide an address I can send an appropriate parrot to? smile

PistonBroker

1,653 posts

167 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
LordFlathead said:
The V12 Vantage is around £60k or twice the money and is the better car all around if you want performance AND looks. I predict these will hold their money better as they are effectively the last V12 supercar with a proper stick box that is available.
Yes, that struck me recently as well. Remarkably cheap to my mind for what you get and what the potential must be for them.

Must have been early 2007 when the boss I had at the time got into one of these on a 2-year lease. Having not really ever been much of an Aston fan, I've always had a soft spot for these ever since. Cracking looking things.

It's 911s I dream of though so a 997 would be hard to resist at this price point. More practical too. Though I imagine it lacks as much theatre.

Lord.Vader

1,868 posts

80 months

Saturday 4th May
quotequote all
Owned mine 3 years this year;

Needed new pads / discs / handbrake pads (£4K+ at a moan dealer, replaced as part of timeless when I had a whinge) - total cost about £500 inc labour (consumable)

New a/c compressor, only noticed a drop of luminous fluid on the garage floor, investigated and replaced under warranty.

Squeaky brakes, changed pads and all good.

Window washer jet just stopped working after 4 months storage (£6 for a new one that I haven’t fitted yet).

Two swollen brake pipes replaced for about £30 each (cheaper than my Mini Cooper S), cost about £100 including labour.

New headlight washer pump replaced including labour for about £100.

This doesn’t include normal servicing at appx £750 p.a.

Not that bad for a 380hp, V8 Aston Martin, my mini cost more to run (exc servicing) last year.

Love mine and will only sell for a V12V.

Just clicked over 39k, FAMSH and I have used a specialist as the local AM is incompetent (broken tpms, damaged parts, etc).