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What It Cost Owning an Aston Martin for a Year

2016-11-09 Read: 42x

The day has arrived: I've sold my Aston Martin V8 Vantage. My famous bumper-to-bumper warranty companion is gone, lost to the world, and now officially owned by someone else. This means two things. First, it's time for me to total up exactly what I spent to own it. And second, the people in the Aston Martin PR department can finally break out that bottle of champagne they've been saving up.

Before we get into costs, a quick look back on a few of the key details. I bought my V8 Vantage at the end of last year, with 41,844 miles -- and I sold it a couple of weeks ago with 59,322 miles. That means I owned it about 10 months and drove it roughly 17,500 miles. This is an extraordinary amount of miles to drive an Aston Martin -- but then, it has done some extraordinary things. For example, at some point in Wyoming, I stopped it in the middle of the road to let a bison cross in front of me. I'm serious.

So today, I'm going to tell you what it cost me to own this thing by breaking down my expenses into three sections: depreciation, repairs and maintenance and "other stuff." We'll take depreciation first.

Depreciation

The single largest cost of this entire Aston Martin ownership endeavor was depreciation. That's no surprise -- after all, I drove this car 18,000 miles in less than a year. By comparison, the average Aston Martin is driven roughly 2,000 miles per year. I once drove mine 2,000 miles in 4 days.

To put this into better perspective, I put roughly 9 years’ worth of miles on my Aston Martin in the span of 10 months. So I kind figured I'd take a bit of a hit when I sold it.

In reality, though, the hit wasn't as bad as I expected. I bought my V8 Vantage for $46,000, which was very much in line with the market price, and I sold it for $36,000 -- which means I lost $10,000 to depreciation. But before you go around announcing that Aston Martins depreciate quickly, remember: 18,000 miles in 10 months.

Since there aren't really any Aston Martins currently listed for sale with comparable miles, it was difficult to determine the final selling price -- but in the end, I think I'm lucky that it went for $36,000. The average asking price for a 2006-2008 V8 Vantage coupe is just $50,000, and the average mileage is right around 20,000. V8 Vantage models with more than 40,000 miles tend to be listed for $40,000 to $44,000, which suggests a selling price of $38,000 to $42,000. Using those numbers as a guide, my 59,000-mile car was probably worth closer to $33,000 or $34,000 -- but I'm not complaining. In fact, I'll take every penny I can get. You'll see why in a minute.

Repairs and Maintenance

If I didn't have my excellent Aston Martin bumper-to-bumper warranty, my repair bills would've been pretty substantial. While the warranty cost around $3,000 extra from Aston Martin when I bought the car, it easily paid for itself. I used it once to replace a thermostat ($738), once to replace the struts that keep the door open ($320) and -- most importantly -- once to fix the engine when the timing got out of sync, which would've cost me $4,409. So my total repair cost was $0 -- unless you count the warranty's initial cost. If I didn't have it, my repairs would've totaled $5,467.

But while the warranty saved me $2,467 in repair costs, it couldn't do anything about basic maintenance. And oh, was there a lot of basic maintenance.

It started from the moment I bought the car. Since it was still using its original clutch after 9 years and 41,000 miles, I negotiated with the selling dealer to split the cost of a clutch replacement. A new clutch would be $5,000, so the dealer and I each paid $2,500.

Shortly afterwards, my V8 Vantage had its first annual service -- to the tune of $1,445. I also had to replace the front brake pads for $1,222.99 -- and yes, that's just the front brake pads. And I replaced three tires during the time I owned the car ($400 each for a total of $1,200). So my total maintenance costs were a whopping $6,369. Add in the cost of the warranty, and I spent roughly $9,400 to keep this car on the road for a year. Take away the warranty, and I would've spent $11,800. Ouch.

But not so fast. It's worth noting that several of the items I replaced or repaired were unusual. For example, $2,500 of that $9,400 total was the clutch, which is (hopefully) something you only have to replace every decade or so. Also, the brakes aren't something you need to replace frequently. And while I had my V8 Vantage's $1,445 annual service performed at the dealer in order to keep the warranty valid, an independent mechanic could probably do it a lot cheaper.

Still, if you've ever wanted to know what an Aston Martin costs to own... now you know.

Other Stuff

The most important "other expense" is one that's often forgotten in the world of short-term used-car ownership: taxes. Living in Philadelphia, I pay an exorbitant 8 percent sales tax on vehicles -- although I concede that that figure helps smooth out the roads so the potholes can fit only one single adult sea lion rather than an entire sea lion colony.

The result: When I brought this car into the DMV for its registration, my sales tax bill was $4,008. There have been times, earlier in my life, when I paid this much money for a working automobile. In this case, I paid it... for a license plate.

Interestingly, insurance wasn't so expensive. I insured my V8 Vantage through my normal insurance company, not a collector car specialist, and it cost about the same as my regular cars. Since you'll have to pay insurance regardless of what you buy -- and since it didn't seem to go up specifically because I had an Aston Martin -- I'm not including its cost here.

The Total

And so, we get to the total. Put it all together, and you have depreciation ($10,000), taxes ($4,000), the warranty ($3,000) and maintenance ($6,300), for a total one-year ownership cost of roughly $23,000. If I didn't have the warranty, it would've been more like $26,000.

Of course, this wasn't a normal Aston Martin one-year ownership experience, since I drove my car so much. If you bought a car that didn't need a clutch or brakes and drove it a more typical distance -- like 5,000 miles -- your costs would probably be more like $5,000 for depreciation, $4,000 for taxes, $2,000 for maintenance and maybe $1,000 or so for repairs, for a total cost of roughly $12,000 in a year.

Is it worth it just to drive an Aston Martin? You'll have to check back for my final thoughts in a few weeks, when I write my very last Aston Martin column.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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