The 1989 Geneva Motor Show

1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage X Pack

It’s performance is simply stupendous and relentless… this Aston simply lays a trail of rubber as the big clutch bites positively, and then takes off like a scalded tiger… I had the needle as far as 150mph and even then there was no sign of the acceleration tailing off…” – Clive Richardson writing in Motor Sport magazine
 
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was announced on 18 February 1977.  It was the first time that the company had used the ‘Vantage’ name since the six-cylinder DBS.
 
Since then, mention ‘Aston Martin Vantage’ and most people will think of this brutish yet elegant coupé, once the fastest accelerating production car in the world.
 
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage
 
The V8 Vantage was Britain’s flagship sports car and progressed through three unofficial series, the first until May 1980 producing 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 408bhp.
 
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 and, from the 1987 model year, twin electric fans, a full-flow oil system and larger oil radiator. A new steering column and housing with revised switchgear and tilt adjustment also became standard.
 
In total, 137 Vantage X-Pack cars were built before production ceased in 1989, 40 of these featuring automatic transmission. Six X-Packs have since been destroyed, so these are rare motor cars.
 
This Motor Car
 
Commissioned by Aston Martin official dealer Roger Bennington for his own use on a factory order dated 26 October 1988, ‘12660’ is one of the last Vantage X-Packs built. The car was tastefully specified as follows: British Racing Green with dark green leather piped dark red for the upholstery, dash top roll, steering wheel and cowl, with green Wilton Onslow carpets edged in the same dark green leather and beige headlining. The gearbox was a five-speed manual.
 
The history file shows that ‘12660’ was signed off on 18 January 1989 and delivered to Bennington’s company, Stratton Motor Co Ltd, on 10 April 1989. Before this it had a starring role at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, as recorded by an official plaque on the transmission tunnel.
 
The factory warranty commenced on 4 April 1989, the pre-delivery inspection invoice specifying straight-through rear exhaust pipes, a normal-type spare wheel and upgraded stereo speakers in the doors and rear parcel shelf. The service book gives the official purchase date as 19 April 1990, when it was first taxed and registered (‘G45 HPW’) for the road.
 
In April 1991 Bennington sold the car to its first private owner, the chairman of a listed British engineering company. The car’s first service took place on 23 April, the mileage recorded as merely 973 miles. Five years later, at ca. 4,000 miles in June 1996, Stratton Motor Company sold the car to the CEO of a furniture manufacturer. A true enthusiast, he entrusted its care to Aston Martin Works and took the mileage up to around 45,000.
 
Roger Bennington once again handled the sale to its third private owner, a prominent German financier, who bought ‘12660’ in February 1999. It was at this time that Bennington’s official Aston Martin service agency carried out an extensive list of work that included: conversion to left-hand drive; a bare-metal repaint in the original British Racing Green; top-end engine overhaul with conversion to unleaded fuel; new clutch; fitting front and rear handling kits; fitting a big-bore exhaust; converting the front blanking grille to open mesh; new windscreen; new tyres and various other jobs.
 
The invoices totalled approximately £60,000, and the odometer was reset to zero at this time to reflect the extent of this work.
 
Just a year later the Vantage passed to a second German owner, who in 2003 sold it to a car-loving property developer in Munich in whose collection it spent the following 12 years.
 
In his custodianship the V8 Vantage was maintained without regard to expense and enjoyed with passion and care. Maintenance was carried out by official Aston Martin service centres, with a return to the factory in Newport Pagnell for a major overhaul that included: full service; rebuilding the hypoid rear axle; replacing stub axles; carrying out Aston Martin Works brake upgrade and attending to myriad small details. This totalled approximately £30,000 + VAT.
 
When Kidston SA sold the car to its current owner, the mileage recorded was 23,700km (14,726 miles). Allowing for the zeroed odometer in 1999, the mileage covered from new was just under 60,000.
 
We have supervised the maintenance schedule of the car, entrusting it to the experts at the spiritual home of Aston Martin at Tickford St, Newport Pagnell. Under our stewardship, Aston Martin Works bills relating to ‘12660’ totalled £39,889.49:
            
10.02.2015 £3,366.16
19.05.2015 £18,557.88
20.05.2015 £8,532.12
20.05.2015 £97.50
14.07.2015 £5,198.00
15.07.2015 £857.50
20.04.2016 £3,280.33
            
The original service voucher book, owner’s handbook in its green Aston Martin case and Vantage wiring diagram book are all carefully preserved, with even the ‘Vantage Volante and Vantage Goodyear Eagle tyre manual’. The two-inch thick ‘Aston Martin Service Bulletin’ folder contains factory build records, all invoices for work, extensive period correspondence, the original AM sales brochure and manual for the Becker stereo system. The car is accompanied by its rare fitted luggage in dark red to match the interior piping.
 
It is ready to be enjoyed and, with its sports exhaust, few classics can match it for presence or performance. Left-hand drive, a desirable ‘full fat’ 408bhp X-Pack, this handsome example of Aston Martin’s timeless yet formidable V8 Vantage is, we believe, just the car that many enthusiasts have been waiting to add to their collections. Look no further…