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Modern Aston Martins

Modern Aston Martins Published: 30th Dec 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Modern Aston Martins
Modern Aston Martins
Modern Aston Martins
Modern Aston Martins
Modern Aston Martins
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How to Bond with an Aston Martin– even if you don’t have gold fingers…

Is there any such thing as a bargain Aston?

It depends what you mean by ‘bargain’ but there’s certainly some relatively inexpensive Aston supercars out there if you go modern ‘classical rather than the excepted classics route.

Such as?

Take the V8 Vantage and the DB9 as examples. They are commonly known as the ‘Gaydon’ cars, depicting the factry’s move from Newport Pagnell although, strictly speaking, the former was a crossover car as it was also the last model to come out of the old works. This pair of Astons can be bought for under £30,000 a go.

That sounds cheap?

In today’s terms yes it is! Apart from the fact that you’re taking about £100K purchases when new, look deeper and you see that Aston Martin prices, in relative terms, haven’t changed that much in 40 years or more.

You’re kidding?

No – and and here’s a prime example. Back in the mid 1970s, you could pick up, say a DB5, DB6 or DBS, for around £2500-£3000 (or even much less – a ’75 issue of Motor magazine shows a DB5 for just £1250!) which was roughly what a brand new base Ford Granada or top notch Cortina 2000E cost. Fast forward four decades and a fast-depreciating top line Mondeo can set you back the thick end of 30 grand with ease! In other words, nothing’s drastically changed in relative terms!

So these AStons are an investment then?

Hold your brake horses! Modern ‘Gaydon’ Astons have been built in far greater numbers than the old Feltham and Newport Pagnell classics ever were and so won’t be accepted collectibles for a good few years, or even decades yet. On the other hand, their depreciation curves have largely flattened so they shouldn’t lose much more either.

Plus have you seen DB7 values lately? Where they were easily sub £20,000 buys not so long ago, prices can now exceed DB9 and Vanquish prices – not bad for a car only 20 years old.

Best buys?

Let’s talk about the two most affordable models, the V8 Vantage and the DB9, the latter which replaced the DB7. The V8 was based upon the same platform but a strict (virtually mid-engined, because it was initially designed as such-ed!) two-seater only and, since launch in 2005, has become the best-selling Aston ever with the thick end of 19,000 made in both coupé and roadster forms. The DB9 was not simply a DB7 facelift, but, save for that V12 engine, an all new design using Aston’s now famed VH platform. The DB9 spawned the DBS which replaced the Vanquish.

Best drives?

All are wonderful as you’d expect from an Aston and a world away for the Jag-based DB7. The Porsche 911 rivalling Vantage (which uses Jaguar’s excellent quad cam V8) is the most focussed (don’t you hate that modern term?-ed) while the DB9 is the most GT-orientated. The V8 jumped from being a ‘only’ a 380bhp 4.3-litre to a 420bhp 4.7 monster in 2008 (with a thunderous 510bhp V12 option a year later) but even with ‘base’ model, you are talking of 175mph and 0-60 in under five seconds; that’s just a blink of an eye slower than the larger, heavier, DB9. If you get a Vantage fitted with the optional Sport pack with a tighter chassis you’ll be in oh oh heaven!

Manual or auto?

The shift – if you pardon the pun – from manual to auto Astons occurred as the DBS evolved but the Vantage was pretty popular in three pedal form, although early transmissions weren’t the best. That said they are still preferable to the (‘auto manual’) Sportshift say Aston experts. The DB9 could be had in manual guise or the ‘Touchtronic’ automatic as 95 per cent were, but thankfully it’s better than the Sportshift set up!

Can we talk prices?

Ok, here’s the good bit! You can find cars for as little as £25,000, such as an early Vantage, but be careful as you invariably get what you pay for and Astons aren’t cheap classics to fix up. You’ll probably get a nice V8 Vantage at a good specialist for around £30,000 and, perhaps, £38K for a 2005 DB9.

Volante cabrios are generally around £2-3000 dearer. Vantage 4.7s are ticketed at £37,000 and the improved 2008 DB9s start on the forecourts at around £51,000 – which, incidentally, is now only a couple of grand less than early (but newer) four-door Rapides which cost £140K new back in 2010; how about that car for a bargain Aston!

What’s the catch?

Cheap to buy, not to run basically. Routine servicing isn’t that bad with annual pit stops on even the V12s not amounting to £1000 annually (or 7500 miles according to Aston) if you enlist the use a specialist.

Tyres shouldn’t cost more than £200 a go if you shop around; the wallet-wobbling expenses start with bigger things – such as sparks plugs for V12 at over £200, brake maintenance (think £700 for front discs – and £7000 for ceramic ones!) or exhaust replacements which run into thousands.

DB7s are considerably cheaper to maintain and this is something which may sway your final buying choice. Also you’ll be paying the highest prices for road tax and modern Astons are highly unlikely to qualify for classic car insurance yet either, but as compensation at least you see fuel returns considerably above old DB thirst levels.

What goes worng?

Enough! Mechanically, modern Astons are pretty robust apart from their transmissions (clutches are £2000+ to replace depending on model and fixing auto ‘box leaks costs the same) and the electronics which effect an assortment of systems – if the V5c shows many owners it points to a problematic car. Expect worn suspensions and brakes, particularly if the car has been driven hard or used for track days. But, perhaps, the biggest concerns centre on the body and chassis structures. Rusty subframes aren’t uncommon and as the alloy bodies are bonded on to the composite VH chassis, repairs are complex and expensive – to the point that many traditional Aston specialists can’t yet cater for them. Indeed some feel conventional restorations will prove nigh on impossible and may lead to scrapped cars if they are too bad… All of which means the offer from The Works to inspect any potential buy for just £300 is a no brainer!

Do i need to be a Goldfinger?

Hell no! Buy well and employ a specialist as and when and an Aston needn’t cost any more than a Jag or Roller. You only to go to an AM meeting to gauge the number of ‘ordinary’ folk happily running then on a ordinary wage. Any enthusiast who passes up the chance to own an Aston is an ass: “I expect to buy Mr Bond!” as Golfinger might say.

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