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Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

2014-04-07 Read: 314x

After producing six cylinder engined cars for around two decades, Aston Martin introduced the DBS V8 late in 1969. Under the DBS' the long bonnet a new V8 engine was installed. Designed by long time Aston Martin engineer, Tadek Marek, the engine had made its public debut in the less than successful Lola T70 Le Mans racer. The advanced engine featured double overhead camshafts and Bosch Fuel Injection. For various reasons production of the Tadek Marek V8-powered Aston Martins would continue for over three decades.

When the production of the DB6 Volante ceased in 1970, Aston Martin no longer had a drop top available. Development of a new convertible was hampered by a lack of funds caused by among other things the various Oil-Crises of the early 1970s. By 1974 Aston Martin was on the verge of bankruptcy, but a take-over from a consortium in 1975 saved the company that rarely had recorded a profit. After this near-death experience Aston Martin focussed on fine-tuning the existing V8 line-up for many years, rather than designing a completely new car, which accounts for the long production run of the V8.

In 1978 the single biggest development was unveiled; the V8 Volante. After a short US safety lobby against convertibles, the Americans had swerved around again accepting open cars once more. This a was very important development for Aston Martin and key to the success of the new Volante. The world was most definitely ready again for an Aston Martin convertible, which was underlined by the relatively large sales figures. In the twelve years the V8 Volante was available over 650 'regular' Volantes were produced, of which a large number found their way to the States.

Technically the V8 Volante was very similar to the V8 Coupe. A major change to the V8 engine was made earlier in the production run. To meet the stricter US emission regulations, the Bosch Fuel Injection was replaced by four Weber Carburetors. To clear the 'carbs' a 'power bulge' was fitted on the bonnet. In 1986 a 'Series 2' was launched, which once again featured a Fuel Injection system and a flat bonnet. A 'Vantage' model was also added to the line-up, which was fitted a more powerful engine with Weber Carburetors and an extensive bodykit.

Featured is a low mileage left hand drive 400 bhp V8 Volante Vantage. It is pictured at the Christie's 2004 Le Mans Classic auction, where it exchanged hands for an impressive EUR140,250.

Specifications

Engine
Configuration 90º V8
Location Front, longitudinally mounted
Construction cast-iron block, alloy head
Displacement 5.34 liter / 325.9 cu in
Bore / Stroke 100.0 mm (3.9 in) / 85.0 mm (3.3 in)
Compression 9.5:1
Valvetrain 2 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed 4 Weber Carburettors
Aspiration Naturally Aspirated
Power 400 bhp / 298 KW @ 6000 rpm
Torque 529 Nm / 390 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm
BHP/Liter 75 bhp / liter
Drivetrain
Chassis aluminium body on steel platform chassis
Front suspension double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension DeDion axle, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, transverse and longitudinal Watt's linkages
Steering rack-and-pinion, power assisted
Brakes hydraulic discs, all-round
Gearbox 3 speed Automatic
Drive Rear wheel drive
Dimensions
Length / Width / Height 4674 mm (184 in) / 1880 mm (74 in) / 1341 mm (52.8 in)
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2610 mm (102.8 in) / N/A / N/A
Performance figures
Top Speed 264 km/h (164 mph)
0-60 mph 5.4 s

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