Much like Lotus with Elise, it's difficult to imagine a modern Aston Martin without the DB7. Similarly beleaguered in the 1990s, both Aston and Lotus were saved by beautiful, desirable, exciting sports cars. Of course, DB7 and Elise went about their business in very different ways, but each worked just the ticket for their respective brands: the cars were what their makers needed, at exactly the right time.
It won't have escaped anyone's attention, either, that that was a jolly long time ago, the Elise having been launched in 1996 and the DB7 a couple of years earlier. So yes, the car you see is here is, fundamentally, a 25-year-old design; older than that, really, given that initial sketches will have been drawn years before launch. Quite some stylistic achievement, the DB7.
Initially launched with a supercharged (yet lethargic) straight-six, the DB7 really came into its own as the Vantage of 1999; powered by the 5.9-litre V12 that came to define a generation of Aston Martins, it broadened the car's scope as both a GT and a sports car. In addition, while the Vantage styling upgrades may, to some, have robbed the 7 of its original design purity, many others will have seen it evolved into a purposeful, assertive, handsome Aston Martin.
That went one step further still with the GT, as seen here in what's believed to be a very rare Pentland Green shade. A run-out special for the DB7 ahead of the DB9's arrival (its successor then did similarly before the DB11 came), the GT took all that was good about the Vantage and made it better still. There was a little more power from the V12 (upped to 440hp), extra dynamism from lighter wheels, reprofiled aerodynamics, uprated suspension and bigger brakes, plus unique trim inside and out to mark it out as something a bit special. 'The car the DB7 always should have been' has been spoken about the GT enough to have become trite, but it's difficult to avoid given how relatively minor the changes were and how emphatic the end result was.
DB7 GTs are rare cars, particularly with the desirable manual gearbox as fitted to this one. The advert states that only 85 right-hand drive GTs were produced, which is backed up by HowManyLeft - just 51 were taxed on UK roads last year (along with 37 GTA automatics).
Why the scarcity? It's hard to be certain, though the DB9's imminent arrival back then will surely have played a part, the promise of entirely new architecture inside and out, more power and a fresh design direction presumably enough to convert many prospective buyers. The GT could well have looked like yesterday's news - having been on sale for a decade, it sort of was - and little more desirable than the Vantage that had been available for a few years already.
All valid points at the time, and all which actually serve to make the GT look more attractive than ever 15 years or so after its launch, because it's such a rarity. This immaculate car, with a little over 30,000 miles recorded since 2004, as well as just the one owner who always had it serviced at Aston Edinburgh or Aston Works, is £50,000. More than it once was, sure, as the DB7 has slowly but surely appreciated. But that still makes it comparable in price to the (more common) Vantage on which it improved, and one of the more affordable ways into a manual V12. The DB9 manual is an interesting alternative, though the GT counters with its best-of-the-breed status. It could well be rarer, too. And might it be said a little prettier, too?
So, there you are; the best Aston Martin that everyone has forgotten about. Sufficiently modern to be usable (well, you'd have to hope) but also old enough to be classically appealing, the GT is a mighty tempting proposition DB7 a decade and a half after going on sale. Let's face it, too: manual, V12 Aston Martins that look this good aren't going to become less desirable with time. Now might be the time to move...
SPECIFICATION - ASTON MARTIN DB7 GT
Engine: 5,935cc, V12
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 440@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 410@5,000rpm
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 32,000
Price new: £104,500
Yours for: £49,950