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Aston Martins

Aston Martins Published: 2nd Dec 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
Aston Martins
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An Aston that you can realistically afford is music to most enthusiasts’ ears and they are out there if you go for a modern model. Here’s our top buys with expert advice

One million quid! It’s a lottery winning sum that we all dream about yet it will just about secure you a top DB5 or 6 with a bit left over to enjoy and run the car! Yet that doesn’t mean that having an Aston on your drive has to remain a pipe dream.

By leaving the classic DBs to the investors and going modern instead, you can pick one up for under £15,000! Okay, so that’s still a fair wedge of money for some of us (me included-ed) but in reality that’s only top MGB or Triumph TR money and like all Astons, the modern models – sometimes called the ‘Gaydon cars’ – will appreciate in years to come plus these six figure sum models when new have had most of the deprecation kicked out of them already.

BUY ANOTHER DAY?

Can you really unearth a ‘cheap’ Aston? Well yes; a late summer auction by H&H saw two DB7s for as little as £12,600 and slightly dearer car came with a healthy 14 service stamps to its credit.

Ah yes, buying an Aston is one thing, running one is quite another and let’s be clear here that, like any other supercar, it simply can’t be done on a shoestring. But it’s not that bad if you know what you are doing. Take a DB7(6) for instance. Being broadly Jag XJ-S derived, it shares a lot of its components along with mainstream Ford and Mazda parts. Main dealer prices aren’t always high and can actually match the aftermarket especially, if you add club membership discounts of 10 per cent.

For example, a full service kit from a heritage dealer costs just £117 (less discount). Also the rear tail lights are Mazda 323 (fitted upside down) and a lot of the switchgear is Ford and Mazda so can be sourced from eBay, breakers, etc.

And when you do need expert help, there’s a raft of dealers and independents to contain costs although bear in mind that the later models such, as the DB9, do use a lot of complex electronic components and things will invariably be a lot costlier. For example, servicing is more in depth (whereas an independent Jag outlet can probably maintain a DB7 due to its XJ-S origins), brakes cost hundreds and sometimes thousands to replace where as you can buy discs and pads for a DB7 for as little as £100 per wheel.

BUT BEFORE YOU DO…

Modern Astons are highly advanced super cars and it’s easy to go over your head. Buying from a good specialist is wise plus you can have any potential purchase inspected from the Works for £300 which is money well spent.

Now a word of warning (or two) from the many Aston experts we spoke to. Virage, Vantage and DB7 aside, the rest are extremely sophisticated pieces of kit that are far removed from earlier cars. Apart from added expense replacing mechanical and electronic parts, the composite ‘VH’ modular body and chassis make up, using bonded components, means that any repairs are going to be extremely involved and something traditional Aston specialists can’t and won’t touch – not yet anyway.

Indeed, some believe a conventional restoration will be nigh on impossible and fears cars may be scrapped due to the high cost and difficulty of certain repairs – but they said that about Lotus Elises! A modern Aston is no different than many other contemporary supercars in this respect and we are confident that the independent sector will cope when the time arises.

Also, unlike the earlier classic DBs, you won’t make a mint on a modern Aston for many years simply because cars made after the DB7 won’t be anything like as rare. Certain models are still depreciating so there’s no need to make rash buying decisions just yet.

And if you go into the prospect of buying a modern Aston Martin with your eyes wide open and above all else buy the best you can afford from the outset, backed by a proper service history and keeping it that way by using proper experts like dealers and independents (Aston Parts and Performance – www. astonparts.co.uk offers servicing from under £400), then owning an Aston can be no dearer than say a Jag or Rolls – and plenty of ordinary wage folk run them happily! So don’t dream it – drive it…

VIRAGE & VANTAGE LAST OF THE TRADITIONAL ASTONS

IN BRIEF

The Virage replaced the long running old DBS in the late 1980s although still used its basic platform and engine, albeit uprated. Alas Virage was conceived during one of Aston’s leanest times and it showed, being decidedly lacklustre despite its new 330bhp 32-valve V8 engine tune. A substantial revamp in 1993 led to the Vantage model which righted most of the wrongs as well as almost doubling the engine power, care of twin superchargers. They are the final link between the old and new Astons by being a bit of both.

DRIVING

Any Aston is an experience, it’s just that the early Virage was not the greatest. It depends what you’re after – there’s still that V8 brawn and 150mph pace remember and driven like most classics are, will satisfy many. The handling suffered major criticism at the time but this was transformed with the Vantage, which reverted to the more familiar DBS/V8 rear suspension and brakes. The size and girth of the car make them more suited to cruising, especially the drophead Volantes.

BEST MODELS

The later the car, the better the Virage became and by the time it was dropped in 2000, it was well sorted. The facelift in 1992 saw a smartened style while the V8 was upped to 6-litres and 500bhp. It was simply called the V8 four years later. The Vantage was almost a completely new car and the much sportier – 600bhp in the V600 saw to that. Most coveted are the 40 run out Le Mans special editions.

VALUES

At the turn of the last decade, you’d find Virages selling for £10,000 – now it’s closer to £20K for average cars mainly due to the rising prices of the earlier DBS/V8. Top cars hover around the £40,000 mark. Typically, an equivalent Vantage is valued at least two-thirds more and the Le Mans cars appreciably more; dealer Runnymede recently advertised a V600 at £80K.

BUYING ADVICE

Don’t buy simply due to a cheap price as they cost as much as a DB6 to restore but their lowly values led to neglect by owners who skimped on maintenance. They rust the same as a DBS so check. Panelwork is aluminium but frame is steel so look for electrolytic reaction. Hot oil pressure should be at least 60psi at 3000rpm while coolant temp should stay around 90 degrees. Worn timing chains are common; the pair should be replaced every 75,000 miles to be safe. Duff water pumps have dogged the V8 for many years and failing head gaskets are becoming a more common trait, too. The brakes are Jaguar-derived; original Virages featured outboard rear discs which were unique to the car and now expensive to repair as a result. Three-stage inboard rear brakes aren’t the easiest to service and, where fitted, check the De Dion system for damage and wear. There’s a fair bit of pick and mix parts fitted such as Audi/ VW lights, Vauxhall and Ford fitting and so on, meaning it’s not a hideously expensive car to fix certain faults.



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