1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage X-Pack
One of just 43 LHD Vantage X-Packs built in total, of which 29 manual Most powerful version of the classic V8 Vantage (over 400bhp) Unique and very attractive colour scheme Ultra rare Swiss registration
“Ettore Bugatti once contemptuously dismissed W O’s magnificent blower Bentleys as ‘the fastest trucks in Europe.’ No doubt if Le Patron were alive today he would view the Aston Vantage in a similar light. Everything about the car is massively engineered, from the alloy V8 engine, to the steel chassis, to the suspension and brake components, to the huge Pirelli P7 tyres.” - Car Australia.
“Well, the Aston Martin really was a tremendous surprise. To think of a car of this size and shape – not to say there’s anything wrong with the shape - but it’s such a big car and to imagine what it must take to go 175mph is almost unthinkable. It just has a tremendous feeling of power and quality”. Phil Hill after reaching 175mph testing a V8 Vantage for US magazine Road & Track.
“AML saved the best for last…the V580X V8 Vantage. It was to be the swansong for the William Towns designed V8 coupe and the most powerful production Aston Martin built in that era. The Aston Martin Vantage “X- Pack”, as the final evolution has affectionately become known by owners and enthusiasts alike, was the culmination of lessons learned over 10 years hand building these atypical “supercars”.”- Kean M Rogers, ‘Aston Martin V8 Vantage’.
With the resurrection of the Vantage name in 1977, Aston Martin enthusiasts everywhere breathed a sigh of relief; previously applied to high-power versions of the DB six-cylinder cars, it had been dormant since the V8’s arrival back in 1969. A heavier car than its six-cylinder predecessor, the V8 suffered as emissions legislation became ever more strangulating, leading to concern that Aston Martin’s traditional performance image might be lost. The arrival of the Vantage dispelled any such worries.
Propelling Aston’s V8 into the supercar league was a tuned version of the existing 5,340cc engine breathing through a quartet of 48mm Weber carburettors rather than the standard 42mm units. Valves and ports were enlarged and the camshafts changed, the end result being an estimated maximum output of around 370bhp.
Chassis changes were minimal apart from the adoption of bigger ventilated discs all round and low-profile Pirelli tyres. The Vantage was, nevertheless, readily distinguishable from the standard product by virtue of its blocked-off bonnet scoop, blanked air intake, front chin spoiler and lip on the boot lid.
The V8 Vantage progressed through three unofficial series, the first from launch until May 1980 producing the aforementioned 370bhp, the second until 1986 with 380bhp and the final series, referred to as the X-Pack version (note the ‘X’ suffix in the engine number) boasting over 400bhp. Incorporating lessons learned from the limited production Zagato model, the classically styled V8 Vantage X-Pack received the Zagato’s uprated suspension, larger wheels/ tyres, flared arches front and rear and running detail changes including revisions to badge colouring, air conditioning, central locking, door arm rests, fuel fillers, the stereo system and exterior mirrors. The easiest way to tell an X-Pack, however, is from the flares which continue to the end of the wheel arch rather than tapering away, and of course the X suffix on the engine number. In total, 137 Vantage X-Pack cars were built before production ceased in 1989, of which a mere 43 were left-hand drive. Automatic transmission and low emissions specs were also offered and of those 43 cars, just 29 were European specification manual versions.
Chassis ‘12515’ is one of those rare European versions and is possibly the last Vantage remaining still in its original, Royal owners hands. Ordered at the end of 1985 directly from Aston Martin (Sales), the car boasted a unique specification. Factory documentation published in the excellent new book ‘Aston Martin V8 Vantage’ (Vol. 5) by historian Kean M. Rogers shows: ‘Prepare car to V8 Vantage Manual Saloon Specification Code 502 to France’, noting special features such as ‘Porsche Crystal Green Metallic’ paintwork, leather in ‘Dark Green 5015’, with fitted luggage in the same dark green, ‘wood interior to full V8 saloon specification with dashboard underpanels in Dark Green 5015 leather’, electric passenger door mirror, two ‘detachable head restraints in Dark Green 5015 leather’, two rear safety belts, a set of lambswool floor rugs in dark green, Blaupunkt radio cassette, left-hand drive steering and km/h speedometer. This was the fifth X-Pack built.
The car has remained in the same ownership ever since. It is now Swiss registered; normally almost impossible to achieve given Swiss emissions and noise restrictions, but the owner maintains a large presence in this country and the Vantage is kept at his residence here, so this is a perhaps unrepeatable blessing for any Swiss resident collector. The car comes with owners handbooks, parts catalogue and workshop manual, all in their factory wallets. Except for some patina to the original leather and walnut veneers, and the period addition of an uprated hi-fi/ equalizer system and an early car telephone, this Vantage appears as it left the factory.
Interest in the late-model Vantage has grown considerably in recent years and even months, with cars achieving previously unheard-of prices at auction and in private sales. This handsome, one-owner example of Aston Martin’s timeless yet formidable X-Pack is, we believe, just the car that many enthusiasts have been waiting to add to their collections and an appreciating asset. Look no further…