Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Aston Martin Vanquish

Buy Another Day Published: 12th May 2011 - 2 Comments

Aston Martin Vanquish

Fast Facts

  • Best model: Vanquish S
  • Worst model: High-mileage cars
  • Budget buy: Standard cars
  • OK for unleaded?: Yes
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): 4665mm x 1925mm
  • Spares situation: Perfect
  • DIY ease?: No – specialist history is essential
  • Club support: Good
  • Appreciating asset?: Eventually
  • Good buy or good-bye?: The former
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

The Vanquish was yet another Aston that 007 used to good effect - but how does one stack up as a modern to mothball?

Pros & Cons

Looks amazing, great to drive, a guaranteed investment
Costly to buy and also to run if you use it

Aston Martin’s Vanquish was a true piece of history; not only did it usher in a new technological era for the company, but it also marked the end of assembly at the fi rm’s Newport Pagnell factory – and the end of true hand production too. Costing £160,000 when new, the arrival of a successor (the DBS) and the current fi nancial hiccup has led to a big drop in Vanquish values – but this still isn’t a car for paupers. Still, some cars are worth making sacrifi ces for…


We got our fi rst look at the Vanquish with the unveiling of Project Vantage at the 1998 Detroit motor show. At that point Aston Martin claimed the car wouldn’t be developed for sale, but it was a runner and within two years the production car – now dubbed Vanquish – was unveiled to the world. However, production cars would arrive until 2001, and the model wouldn’t be developed until the sharper Vanquish S appeared in 2005. With more power, mild styling revisions and redesigned wheels, the Vanquish S looked sharper, but it was also a better drive too, thanks to the standard fi tment of the Sports Dynamic Pack. This had become an option from 2004, and it consisted of reconfi gured suspension, stronger brakes and revised steering. The end of Vanquish production was marked with 40 examples of the Ultimate Edition, all featuring black paintwork, interior revisions and personalised sill plaques. In all, 2578 Vanquishes were made, all coupés, although one or two were converted into dropheads later on by independent companies.


With a minimum of 450bhp on tap, any Vanquish is ridiculously quick, but of course these cars are about so much more than mere speed. The aural delights on offer, the chassis balance, the completely reassuring brakes – they all add up to make every drive an adventure. Less exciting is the cabin design though – some of the materials don’t look or feel special, while some elements of the design are also disappointing. One of the key features of the Vanquish is its electronically controlled gearbox, with ratios selected via steering wheel-mounted paddles. It’s a system that can give problems; the later the car, the better the system works, unless upgrades have been incorporated. It’s the same with the rest of the chassis; the Vanquish S is a signifi - cantly sharper drive than the standard car the preceded it, thanks to a raft of chassis improvements. As a result, if you can stretch to an S it’s worthwhile – or you can pay for a standard car to be upgraded to the later spec.


Nicholas Mee and Company’s Neil Garrard has probably sold more used Vanquishes than anybody else in the UK. He comments: “The Vanquish appealed to two kinds of people; the fi ckle supercar buyer and the enthusiast who lavished care on their Aston. It’s important that you buy a car fi rst owned by one of the latter, because those in the former group often didn’t worry too much about servicing or where their cars were kept. As a result, scrapes, corrosion and wear are more likely – and putting everything right could quickly add up”. According to Garrard, colour is also very important, with Tungsten Silver paintwork and Charcoal (black) leather trim easily the most popular combination. He calls it the James Bond effect, on account of Pierce Brosnan’s exploits in the Die Another Day epic. As many as 40 per cent of Vanquishes built were supplied with this colour combination, and it can have a major effect on how easy a car is to sell as well as what it’s worth. Says Garrard: “The bottom line for any worthwhile Vanquish is £50,000; anything less nets you a car that’s either got a higher mileage than average or isn’t in a very sought after colour combination. Compared with most Astons of the last decade, Vanquish owners tend to cover low annual mileages, so anything more than 20-25,000 miles, even for a 2004 car, is seen as quite high. The key thing to bear in mind when buying a Vanquish is that you should do so just like any other classic; take your time, look at several examples and look into its history; provenance counts for a lot with these cars”.

While the standard Vanquish is highly regarded, the S edition which arrived later is even more sought after – it’s also newer of course. As a result, you’ll pay a £15-20,000 premium for a Vanquish S over an equivalent standard car, with the newest examples worth up to £100,000. If you want the ultimate, then how about an Ultimate? It’s defi nitely the one to have, but with just 40 built you’ll be lucky to fi nd one. If you do, expect to part with anywhere between £110,000 and £120,000 – which may seem like a lot now, but keep the car long enough and it could turn out to be an investment.

Running Cost

Aston Martin recommended that the Vanquish is serviced every 7500 miles or six months, but most cars cover few miles each year so most owners opt for an annual service. The 7500-mile service is an intermediate one, for which an independent specialist such as Derby Motor Services ( charges £345 all in. Bigger services vary between £600 and £1000.


Although there are various improvements available for the Vanquish, most focus on upgrading performance or driveability, rather than aesthetics. As a result, you won’t fi nd many Vanquishes riding on anything other than their original alloys. One of the most popula upgrades focuses on the six-speed manual gearbox fi tted to all Vanquishes. Its gear selection is controlled by an electro-hydraulic system called ASM – and it’s the source of more complaints about the car than anything else. It can fail or go out of adjustment all too easily, especially where early cars are concerned as these had a potentiometer which gave the computer information on the ratio selected. The later system, as fi tted to the Vanquish S, was a major improvement, and it can be retro-fi tted. Another common failure is the ASM pump, usually caused by its control relay failing and causing the pump to run continuously until it overheats and fails. The system should also have its fl uid and relay renewed every two years, although there’s no offi cial recommendation saying so. To upgrade the system and set it up, Derby Motor Services charges around £2800 depending on the exact requirements. It’s also possible to remap control modules for the engine as well as the transmission control module to give more power and improvements to the throttle control and gear changes. Standard Vanquishes can be upgraded to S spec (at least dynamically) with the fi tment of a sports dynamic pack. This upgrades the brakes, wheels and suspension and it costs £12,000; if you’d like a sportier exhaust while you’re at it, there are various systems available ranging from £1800 to £8000+ for a titanium set-up. The electronically controlled gearbox is fi ne if set up properly, but some owners like to have a conventional manual gearbox. These were offered only as a retro-fi t conversion by the factory, with probably no more than 100 cars converted worldwide. Such cars very rarely come onto the market; the factory still ofers the conversion, but it’s a hefty £11,950 +VAT.

What To Look For

  • Crashed Vanquishes aren’t that common; those that have been pranged are usually repaired properly through authorised bodyshops using insurance cash. You’re not going to find chickenwire and fi ller here.
  • The Vanquish is a big car, so inspect the bodywork very carefully for parking scrapes; not all Vanquishes are cherished cars that rarely come out of their garages. The inherent usability of the Vanquish means some are used regularly, frequently in urban environments.
  • Check around the door apertures, as the glass can rub against the A-pillar, through the protective rubber exposing the aluminium underneath.
  • Some of the brightwork can deteriorate and it’s costly to replace, while any blistering of panels will also be expensive to repair – all of the bodywork is made of aluminium,
  • The most likely problem is a poorly set up gearbox control, which can make the cars virtually undriveable; see ‘Improvements’ for more on this.

Three Of A Kind

Bentley Continental GT
Bentley Continental GT
Perhaps the most accessible of the cars here, the key thing with the Bentley is not to pay too much; these cars are very common and a huge number of used examples are available.
Ferrari 550M
Ferrari 550M
The most exotic car here, this is also the one that’s likely to prove the costliest to run, but in the long term it’s also the one that’s likely to prove the best investment. A modern great.
Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche 911 Turbo
It packs half as many cylinders as the others, but that doesn’t make the 911 a poor relation and this is one of the most usable, dynamically capable cars ever. Buy from a good specialist.


Never has the edict of buying the best you can afford applied more than here. Skimping when buying could lead to crippling bills later, so don’t spend all your cash on the purchase, leaving none for maintenance in the short term. With such a specialised car, you should also consider very carefully where you buy; marque specialists are really the only people to consider here because they have the expertise to buy the best examples and also have the facilities to prepare the cars for sale as well as look after you once you’ve parted with your cash. The rewards for buying a great Vanquish are high – but you must tread caefully as you also run the risk of opening yourself up to major bills if you buy badly.

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 2 comments

  • Very nice, I'll grab a couple when my lottery numbers come through on Saturday!

    Comment by: Bob     Posted on: 27 May 2011 at 09:30 AM

  • Or buy a Virage for 10 grand?

    Comment by: Editor     Posted on: 30 Jul 2011 at 09:41 AM

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine