After the sale of Aston Martin to ‘Company Developments’ in January 1972, work started on a comprehensive facelift of the DBS V8, the main visual cue being the adoption of single headlamps and a revised front grill. Now known as the AM V8, the car retained the Bosch mechanical fuel injection system until August 1973, when four twin choke Weber carburettors were fitted.
Externally the Weber carburettor V8’s featured a noticeably larger air intake and bulge extending to the back of the bonnet to cover the four twin choke 42 mm Weber’s and air box. Another change to the body which allows for easy identification of these cars and beyond is the panel below the rear screen. Previously this panel had louvers, but these were deleted, and the panel gained a small lip just above the boot lid. There were many other detailed improvements to the car with revised front seats, revised switches, improved cooling to engine and transmission plus a new fuel tank which gave more luggage space.
The cars performance is a very impressive indeed; 310 bhp 5.3 litre engine delivering a top speed of 146 mph and hit 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds as tested in Autocar, Sept 1973.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was hailed as "Britain's First Supercar" for its 170 mph (270 km/h) top speed when introduced. Its engine was shared with the Lagonda, but it used high-performance camshafts, increased compression ratio, larger inlet valves and bigger carburettors mounted on new manifolds for increased output. Straight-line performance was the best of the day. When Motor Magazine tested the V8 Vantage V580 it produced incredible 0 to 60mph time of 5.2 seconds was recorded, which was quicker than the Ferrari Daytona, its main competitor of the time !
One of the most noticeable features was the closed-off hood bulge rather than the open scoop found on the normal V8. The grille area was also closed off, with twin driving lights inserted and a spoiler added to the boot lid. The 580 Vantage was more of a mechanical update which included: 16-inch (406-mm) wheels, and the more powerful V8 from the limited-edition V8 Zagato.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was hailed as "Britain's First Supercar" for its 170 mph (270 km/h) top speed when introduced. It used high-performance camshafts, increased compression ratio, larger inlet valves and bigger carburettors mounted on new manifolds for increased output. Straight-line performance was the best of the day, with acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, one-tenth of a second quicker than the Ferrari Daytona, its main competitor of the time.
Nothing can quite prepare you for the first time you come across an X Pack Volante! Stunning from every angle, they represent the pinnacle of decades of hand-assembled Aston Martin production. True craftsmanship shows itself in every detail and the stunning combination of beauty, luxury and power is as rare today as it was when this car first saw the light of day.
V8 Vantage X-Pack Specification; with the introduction of the Vantage specification, Aston Martin’s V8 was thrust back into the supercar league. The name had previously been applied to high-power versions of the DB six-cylinder cars, and in the V8’s case, the Vantage tune raised maximum output to around 375bhp: in Rolls-Royce fashion the factory chose not to disclose the actual figure, merely claiming that power was ‘adequate’. Chassis changes were minimal apart from the adoption of bigger ventilated disc brakes all round and low-profile Pirelli tyres.
The Vantage was, nevertheless, readily distinguishable from the standard product by virtue of its blocked-off bonnet scoop, blanked air intake, front chin spoiler and lipped boot lid. The cars performance was shattering, the Vantage’s 0-100mph time of 12.7 seconds making it the world’s fastest accelerating production car at that time.
Aston Martin and the Italian coachbuilder Zagato have a history dating back to the much admired DB4 GT Zagato of 1960. The Italian coachworks were world famous for their advanced design, aerodynamic qualities and light weight. Therefore, when at the 1986 Geneva motor show, Aston Martin unveiled a mere artists impression of what was to be a limited-edition variant of their hugely popular V8 range, the public response was immediate. Customers placed immediate orders for the cutting edge super saloon, with its razor-sharp styling and the assumed promise of Aston’s typical class leading power.
Just 52 examples of the Coupe were built between 1986 and 1990. Based on the V8 chassis, the coupe was clothed in a hand rolled aluminium body that offered a substantial weight saving over the standard bodywork, with styling that took its references from the DB4, whilst remaining at the forefront of late 80’s taste in car styling. The 5.3-litre four-cam V8 was planned, naturally, to be Vantage specification, producing a mind-bending 432bhp at 6,200rpm. The manner of its installation though, created a certain amount of controversy at Newport Pagnell as the existing Zagato design featured a low sloping bonnet, penned in the expectation of a fuel-injected engine, but to produce a “Vantage specification” a revised bonnet design had to take place to clear the Vantage's quartet of twin choke Weber’s, the result of which is the impressive “Power Bulge” seen on this vantage spec car!