“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.
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 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, for the 1987 model year, twin electric fans, a full flow oil system and a much 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, of which a mere 43 were left-hand drive. Automatic transmission was also offered and of those 43 cars, a number were thus equipped.
Just a handful of the V8 Vantage X-Packs received the full 408bhp: cars destined for Japan and Switzerland were built to ‘Emissions Specification’ with a fuel injected, lower compression engine, whilst the single car delivered to the American market had to make do with a strangulated 200bhp!
Chassis ‘12542’ is one of those rare European versions and was originally ordered by Avvocato Mino Auletta of Milan, Italy, in September 1986. Factory records confirm it was liveried in British Racing Green paintwork (code ACR33233) with Fawn Connolly upholstery (3234) and beige carpets (Wilton Onslow 0289) edged in Fawn (Connolly 3234). The engine was to full European Vantage X-Pack specification with manual gearbox. Other features included Computer Code 1 (meaning unknown!), side warning light on the dashboard and 15” wheels. To summarise, chassis ‘12542’ has the ultimate factory specification and colour scheme for an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Avvocato Auletta received his new Aston Martin on 2nd March 1987 and drove the car sparingly until May 1998 when it was sold at 16,120km by our team at auction in Monte Carlo to its second and current owner, a resident of the principality who has restricted its use mainly to long distance trips, the most recent a high speed dash to Milan. The total the mileage covered by the car from new is just 30,345km (18,856 miles). Maintenance since 1998 has been entrusted to Paul Doumer Autos in Beausoleil, the classic car specialist, and work has included fitting an RSW-supplied Brembo brake upgrade kit. The factory handbooks are in their wallet, the tool kit appears as new and a folder of invoices attests to the standard to which the car has been cared for.
Offered in excellent condition, and recently enjoyed from the passenger seat by one of our specialists who reports that it sounds “sensational” and “accelerates like a building storm” (his exact words, but he is Italian…), 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…
Thanks to V8 Vantage historian Keen Rogers for additional information. We highly recommend his website: http://v8vantage.com/AMQ.pdf