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Lot 221: Aston Martin Vantage Coupe

Aston Martin and Lagonda Motor Cars, Bonhams (19 May 2012)

Brutal' was a word used more than once to described the fastest Aston Martin ever on its introduction in 1993, but as the Vantage had no fewer than 550bhp available to propel its two tons, the choice can only be judged fair comment. After almost 20 years in production, Aston's V8 had been updated for the 1990s as the Virage, body design being entrusted to Royal College of Art tutors Ken Greenley and John Heffernan. The existing Lagonda chassis and suspension were used in revised form for the new car, while engine development was entrusted to Callaway Engineering. Immensely strong, the old V8's bottom half was retained but fitted with new cylinder heads boasting four valves per cylinder and hydraulic tappets. The Virage was still no lightweight, but with 330bhp on tap was good enough for a top speed of 157mph and a 0-60mph time of under seven seconds. A consummate fast tourer, the Virage left room at the top of the range for an out-and-out sports car, hence the Vantage. Although the two models appear superficially similar few panels are shared, and beneath the skin the Vantage chassis boasts the kind of extensive re-engineering required to cope with the massive increase in performance. The latter comes courtesy of a blown version of Aston's 5,340cc V8, twin mechanically driven Eaton superchargers being preferred to turbo-charging on the grounds of superior throttle response. Quite apart from its stupendous maximum output, remarkable enough in itself, the engine is monstrously torquey, producing 550lb/ft at 4,000rpm, a figure that makes even the mighty the Chrysler Viper V10's 450lb/ft seem puny by way of comparison. On test with Autocar magazine, a development Vantage raced to 60mph in a Ferrari 512TR-destroying 4.6 seconds, reaching the 'ton' just 5.5 seconds later. The standing kilometre was achieved in 23.1 seconds with the speedometer registering close to 150mph, and although a true top speed figure proved unobtainable, the car was reported as having already recorded 191mph while on test in France. Autocar summed up the Vantage as, 'a real Aston Martin; a big, very beautiful, very fast, albeit expensive GT with so much appeal and purpose behind it that it is more an experience than it is mere transport.' First registered on 26th May 1994, this early Vantage (the production sequence commenced with 70001) has been in the current (second) owner's hands since February 2003. The Aston is described as immaculate both inside and out having covered fewer than 20,000 miles (approximately 32,000 kilometres) from new while benefiting from regular attention at Aston Martin Works Service and marque specialists Ian Mason and Rikki Cann. Finished in green with magnolia leather upholstery and Alcantara headlining, the car comes complete with its original tool kit and First Aid kit, instruction manuals, service records, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 document for the cherished registration '217 AML'. Upgraded suspension is the only notified deviation from factory specification.

Lot Details
Auction Aston Martin and Lagonda Motor Cars
Bonhams, Newport Pagnell, Aston Martin Works Service
Lot Number221
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£65000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£74300
Condition rating1
Registration number217 AML
Chassis numberRBR70009
Engine number590/70009/M
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2