1990 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante 'Prince of Wales'
Enthusiasts for open-air Aston Martin motoring had to wait some years after the last DB6 Volante left Newport Pagnell in 1970.
With the company not always in the best of health and ever-tightening road safety regulations in the USA, for some time it seemed as if Aston Martin would never offer a convertible – ‘Volante’ in Aston-speak – version of its V8 Saloon.
However, in 1978 North American buyers were finally given what they wanted: the Series 1 V8 Volante. Demand across the pond was so strong that the home and European markets had to wait until 1979 for their deliveries of 300bhp V8 Volantes. Development of the V8 Volante matched that of the saloon. So from 1986 onwards, S2s had fuel-injection and at the same time a V8 Vantage Volante with a 400bhp+ carburettor engine was available.
Carrying the ‘wide-boy’ running boards, prominent rear spoiler and flared wheelarches of the saloon, these were ‘statement cars’, very much in tune with Big Bang in the City of London and Wham!, Bananarama and Robert Palmer riding high in the charts.
Not everyone appreciated the loadsamoney! looks of the V8 Vantage Volante, and one very good client of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd wanted something different.
His name was His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
The ‘POW’ V8 Vantage Volante
Prince Charles was an enthusiastic driver and greatly enjoyed his blue DB6 Mk 2 Vantage Volante. When the Emir of Bahrain offered to present the Prince with a new V8 Volante, the heir to the British throne requested that it should have Vantage performance but the appearance of a standard car.
Fitting the standard 16in wheels of the V8 Vantage under the hand-crafted aluminium coachwork required slight flaring of the wheelarches, but other than that the car appeared standard. It was a ‘Q car’ of the highest order.
On seeing the latest royal carriage, other clients liked the look and Aston Martin went on to produce 22 in total, forever known as ‘POWs’. All were RHD.
Today, the ‘POW’ V8 Vantage Volante remains the most valuable Aston Martin V8 of them all.
This Motor Car
According to factory records, verified by model expert Kean Rogers’ chassis data, this V8 Vantage Volante was ordered via Aston Martin Sales on 23 June 1989. The exact specification was: Zagato Hunter Green; Tan leather 846; Green 070 carpet edged Dark Green 3655; headlining Natural; hood Black mohair.
The sales indent V8COR15822 also clearly states: ‘POW Spec’, ‘Manual’ to ‘United Kingdom specification’.
The car’s first owner ordered ‘15822’ with eight other Newport Pagnell V8s by way of celebrating the end of production of the William Towns-designed car which had started life in 1969 as the DBS V8. All were identically finished. Other cars in the Hunter Green Collection included a Vantage Zagato coupé and Volante, a Lagonda ‘Wedge’ and a new Virage.
The collection traded hands once in its entirety before being sold at auction in 2005, when it was split up.
As the jewel of the crown, ‘15822’ has remained carefully cossetted by the most discerning Aston Martin collectors since and today remains a rare opportunity to buy if not the Car of Kings, certainly the preferred choice of Princes.