Aston Martin V8 Vantage (1977)
- See also Aston Martin V8 Vantage (disambiguation) for other models sharing this name
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was hailed at its 1977 introduction as "Britain's First Supercar" for its 170 mph (270 km/h) top speed. 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, with acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, one-tenth of a second quicker than the Ferrari Daytona.
|Aston Martin V8 Vantage|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé
|Engine||5.3 L V8|
The first series had 375 hp (280 kW), and series specific details such as a blanked bonnet vent and a separate rear spoiler. 38 of these were built (plus 13 "Cosmetics" for the US). The Oscar India (for 1 October, the date of introduction) version, introduced in late 1978, featured an integrated tea-tray spoiler and smoother bonnet bulge. Inside, a black leather-covered dash replaced the previous walnut. The wooden dashboard did find its way back into the Vantage during the eighties, giving a more luxurious appearance. The Oscar India version also received a slight increase in power, to 390 hp (291 kW). This line was produced, with some running changes, until 1989. From 1986 the engine had 403 hp (301 kW).
The Vantage name had previously been used on a number of high-performance versions of Aston Martin cars, but this was a separate model. Although based on the Aston Martin V8, numerous detail changes added up to a unique driving experience. 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 bootlid.
The 1986–1989 580 'X-Pack' was a further upgrade, with Cosworth pistons and Nimrod racing-type heads producing 403 hp. A 'big bore' after-market option was also available from Works Service, with 50mm carbs (instead of 48mm) and straight-through exhaust system giving 432 hp (the same engine as fitted to the limited-edition V8 Zagato. 16-inch (406-mm) wheels were also now fitted. If this wasn't enough, a 450 hp (336 kW) 6.3 litre version was also available from Aston Martin, and independents offered a 7-litre version.
304 Series 2 Vantage coupés were built - including 131 X-Packs  - and 192 Volantes (in spite of only having been officially introduced in 1986, near the end of production). Of the 'Cosmetic' Vantage (for the US Swiss and Japanese markets, with fuel injection instead of Weber carburettors), 14 Series 2 coupés and 56 Volantes were built. Cosmetic Vantages lacked the powerful Vantage engine but retained the Vantage name and most of its body alterations - though the lack of carburettors allowed a flattened hood. From 1980 they featured DOT-approved 5 mph (8 km/h) safety bumpers front and rear. Most of these cars have since been retrofitted with full power, European spec engines.
Although the full spec (carburettor) Vantage models were not imported into the USA when new, they now qualify for entry under the DOT's 'Show and Display' rules in most US States. Federal requirements are also less strict for cars over 25 years old (as most Vantages now are).
A Vantage Volante convertible version was also produced, between 1986 and 1989. Six mechanically similar cars had been built earlier to special order, but it was not regularly available until then. The production version featured an even deeper front spoiler than fitted to the Vantage, even wider wheel arches, and extended side skirts. In 1987 The Prince of Wales took delivery of a Vantage Volante, but at his request without the production car's wider wheelarches, front air dam and side skirts. This became known as the 'Prince of Wales Spec' (or POW) and around another 26 such cars were built by the factory. These are now generally considered the most desirable of all the 1970s/80s V8 models.
At the beginning of the film, the car is a V8 Volante (convertible). The car used in these scenes was a Volante owned by Aston Martin Lagonda chairman, Victor Gauntlett. Later, the car is fitted with a hardtop ("winterised") at Q Branch, and these scenes feature a pair of non-Vantage V8 saloons, fitted with the same number plate as the initial car, but with Vantage badges now fitted to match the previous Vantage.
The alterations and gadgets featured were:
- Police band radio
- Tyre Spikes
- Though not technically a gadget, Bond makes use of one of the front wheels as a weapon, by slicing through ice on a frozen lake to lose a pursuing police car
- Jet engine behind rear number plate
- Retractable outriggers
- Heat-seeking missiles behind fog lights
- Lasers in front wheel hubcaps
- Bulletproof windows
- Fireproof body
- Self-destruct system
- Edwards, Robert (2004). Aston Martin. Sparkford: Haynes Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 1-84425-014-8.
- "Aston Martin V8 Vantage". supercars.net.
- Chauvin, Xavier (April 2012). "Dossier: Aston Martin DBS et AM V8: Le muscle car de Sa Majesté" [Her Majesty's muscle car]. Rétroviseur (in French). Fontainebleu, France: Éditions LVA (277): 38. ISSN 0992-5007.
- Koch, Jeff (March 2012). "Buyer's Guide: 1977–1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage". Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car. Bennington, VT: Hemmings Motor News. 7 (7): 84. ISSN 1555-6867.
- Chauvin, p. 39
- Kean M Rogers Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volume 5 2010
- Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 134 / Wednesday, 14 July 1999 / Rules and Regulations
- "Welcome". DVLA's Vehicle Online Service. DVLA. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013.
Choose "vehicle enquiry" on the left and enter license plate and make as prompted