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.
|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)|
|Valvetrain||2 valves / cylinder, DOHC|
|Fuel feed||4 Weber Carburettors|
|Power||400 bhp / 298 KW @ 6000 rpm|
|Torque||529 Nm / 390 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm|
|BHP/Liter||75 bhp / liter|
|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|
|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|
|Top Speed||264 km/h (164 mph)|
|0-60 mph||5.4 s
The early 1970s weren’t the best of times for Aston Martin. The David Brown era had ended when Sir David sold up in 1972, and new owners Company Holdings were, by their own admission, ‘not car people’. As if to confirm their lack of empathy, when the DBS V8 was relaunched under the new regime, it was to be known simply as the Aston Martin V8, the ‘DB’ part having been dropped ‘for marketing reas...
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was hailed at its 1977 introduction as "Britain's First Supercar" for its 170 mph (270 km/h) top speed. Its engine was shared with the Lagonda, but it used high-performance camshafts, increased compression ratio, larger inlet valves and bigger carburettors mounted on new manifolds for increased output. Straight-line performance was the best of the day, with acceleration...