Aston Martin

3.3866591294342 (1769)
Posted by kaori 03/01/2009 @ 23:01

Tags : aston martin, ford motor company, automotive, business

News headlines Taking Long View on Pay at Banks - New York Times
Investment Dar, the Kuwaiti holding company that owns half of the British luxury carmaker Aston Martin, has suspended payments on its $3.5 billion debt. Dar's strategy of relying on short-term financing to make longer-term investments was crippled by...
Kuwaiti firm defaults on $100m bond - The National
Fifty per cent of Aston Martin, maker of the V8 Vantage, is owned by Kuwait's Investment Dar. Francois Lenoir / Reuters Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti investment firm that owns half of the car maker Aston Martin, has defaulted on a US$100 million (Dh367.3m)...
Aston Martin One-77 – More Exclusive than a Bugatti Veyron -
Once again Aston Martin has captured lightning in a bottle with a sumptuous, elegant design that will find only 77 homes. That's right; Aston Martin intends to build only 77 of these masterpieces. There is more to this astonishingly good looking...
Spy shots: Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster - Motor Authority
Drive will be sent to the rear wheels via a six speed manual gearbox, and Aston Martin's new Touchtronic automatic may also be offered as an option. Other goodies include a new limited slip differential, a final drive ratio of 3.71:1,...
Aston Martin Continues Podium Streak With Third Place at Spa - MotorTrend Magazine
Coming off a dominant win in Catalunya last April, Aston Martin Racing and its LMP1 racer continued their European Le Mans Series podium barrage with a third-place finish at last weekend's 1000KM at Spa race. In a race plagued with numerous wrecks,...
Curtis Davies: Aston Villa To Finish The Season Strong -
Despite Aston Villa already being assured a place in the Europa League next season, Curtis Davies insists that the club wont be looking to coast through their last two games. There has been some speculation that Martin O'Neill will be looking to rotate...
Young pleased with progress - SkySports
By Chris Burton Last updated: 14th May 2009 Ashley Young has told that Aston Villa should be proud of their achievements this season. Martin O'Neill's side looked for long periods to be heading towards a top-four finish,...
Review: VW's sedan-lookalike CC really does drive like a coupe - The Aurora Sentinel
From BMW's X6, to Mercedes Benz's CLK550, Aston Martin and Lamborghini, everyone wants a slice of this oxymoronic pie. So where does the new 2009 Volkswagen CC fall in the “coupe conundrum?” Volkswagen's newest model is built on the Passat line,...
Vantage Point - Concept Car Designer Develops Range of Performance ... - Newswire Today (press release)
The Vantage Collection produces carbon fiber parts and performance products for the Aston Martin range of cars. One could argue that with a vehicle as good looking as an Aston Martin, there is little need to gild the lily, as it were....
Cardinals Must Fight Giving Into New Expectations After Success - Bleacher Report
by Jason Skoda (Member) Expectations for the Arizona Cardinals entering the 2009 season is similar picking out your second car after the first one was Aston Martin. It's going to be nearly impossible to match, but that doesn't the test drives can't be...

Aston Martin

Aston Martin Logo

From 1994 until 2007 Aston Martin was part of the Ford Motor Company, becoming part of the company's Premier Automotive Group in 2000. On 12 March 2007, it was purchased for £479 million (US$848 million) by a joint venture company, co-owned by Investment Dar and Adeem Investment of Kuwait and English businessman John Sinders. Ford retained a US$77 million stake in Aston Martin, valuing the company at US$925 million.

Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The two had joined forces as Bamford & Martin the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London where they also serviced GWK and Calthorpe vehicles. Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton, and the pair decided to make their own vehicles. The first car to be named Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. They acquired premises at Henniker Place in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Production could not start because of the outbreak of World War I, and Martin joined the Admiralty and Bamford the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company.

After the war the company was refunded at Abingdon Road, Kensington and a new car designed to carry the Aston-Martin name. Bamford left in 1920 and the company was revitalised with funding from Count Louis Zborowski. In 1922, Bamford & Martin produced cars to compete in the French Grand Prix, and the cars set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands. Three works Team Cars with 16 valve twin cam engines were built for racing and record breaking: chassis number 1914, later developed as the Green Pea; chassis number 1915, the Razor Blade record car; and chassis number 1916, later developed as the Halford Special. Approximately 55 cars were built for sale in two configurations, long chassis and short chassis. The company went bankrupt in 1924 and was bought by Lady Charnwood, who put her son John Benson on the board. The company failed again in 1925 and the factory closed in 1926, with Lionel Martin leaving.

Later that year, Bill Renwick, Augustus (Bert) Bertelli and a number of rich investors, including Lady Charnwood, took control of the company and renamed it Aston Martin Motors, and moved it to the former Whitehead Aircraft Limited works in Feltham. Renwick and Bertelli had been in partnership some years and had developed an overhead cam 4 cylinder engine, using Renwick's patented combustion chamber design, and had tested it in an Enfield Allday chassis. It was the only 'Renwick and Bertelli' motor car made. It was known as 'Buzzbox' and survives to this day.

They had planned to sell this engine to motor manufacturers, but having heard that the Aston Martin car was no longer in production they realised that they could capitalise on the reputation of the Aston Martin name (what we would now call the brand) to give themselves a head start in the production of a completely new car.

Between the years 1926 and 1937 Bertelli was the technical director of Aston Martin, and the designer of all subsequent Aston Martin cars during this period, these being known as the 'Bertelli cars'. They included the 1 1/2 litre 'T-type', the 'International, the 'Le Mans, the 'MKII' its racing derivative the 'Ulster, and the 2 litre 15/98 and its racing derivative the 'Speed Model'.

Mostly open two seater sports cars and mostly bodied by Bert Bertelli's brother Enrico (Harry)a small number of long chassis four seater tourers, dropheads and saloons were also produced.

Bertelli was very keen to race his cars and he was a very competent driver. One of the very few motor manufacturers to actually sit in and race the cars he designed and built, the competition no doubt 'improved the breed' and the 'LM' team cars were very successful in national and international motor racing including at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia.

Financial problems reappeared in 1932 and the company was rescued by L. Prideaux Brune who funded it for the following year before passing the company on to Sir Arthur Sutherland. In 1936, the company decided to concentrate on road cars. Car production had always been on a small scale and until the advent of World War II halted work only about 700 had been made. During the war years aircraft components were made.

In 1947, David Brown Limited bought the company under the leadership of managing director Sir David Brown—its "post-war saviour". David Brown also acquired Lagonda that year, and both companies shared resources and workshops. In 1955, David Brown bought the Tickford coachbuilding company and its site at Tickford Street in Newport Pagnell, and that was the beginning of the classic series of cars bearing the initials "DB". In 1950, the company announced the DB2, followed by the racing DB3 in 1957 and the Italian-styled 3.7 L DB4 in 1958. All the cars established a good racing pedigree for the firm, but the DB4 was the key to establishing the company's reputation, which was cemented by the famous DB5 in 1963. The company continued developing the "grand touring" style with the DB6 (1965–70), the DBS, and the DBS V8 (1967–72).

Despite the cars' appreciation in value, the company was often financially troubled. In 1972, it was sold to a Birmingham-based consortium, owned by William Willson, (MBE), and resold in 1975 to North American businessmen Peter Sprague and George Minden. The new owners pushed the company into modernizing its line, producing the V8 Vantage in 1977, the convertible Volante in 1978, and the one-off William Towns-styled Bulldog in 1980. Towns also styled the futuristic new Lagonda saloon, based on the V8 model.

In 1980 Aston-Martin had plans, which did not materialize, to buy MG, which they would have utilized as a sister marque, probably building smaller sports cars. Ideas were plotted to design a new model and they revealed to the press their approach to an 'updated' '1981' model MGB.

As worldwide sales of Aston Martin shrank to three per week, chairman Alan Curtis together with fellow shareholders American Peter Sprague and Canadian George Minden, had almost chosen to shut down the production side of the business and concentrate on service and restoration. Curtis attended the 1980 Pace sponsored Stirling Moss benefit day at Brands Hatch, and met fellow Farnham resident Victor Gauntlett.

Gauntlett bought a 10% stake in Aston Martin for £500,000 via Pace Petroleum in 1980, with Tim Hearley of CH Industrials taking a similar share. Pace and CHI took over as joint 50/50 owners at the beginning of 1981, with Gauntlett as executive chairman. Gauntlett also led the sales team, and after some development and a lot of publicity when it became the world’s fastest 4-seater production car, was able to sell with success the Aston Martin Lagonda into Persian Gulf states, particularly Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

Understanding it would take some time to develop new Aston Martin products, they bought Tickford to develop automotive products for other companies. Products included a Tickford Austin Metro, a Tickford Ford Capri and even Tickford train interiors, particularly on the Jaguar XJS. Pace continued sponsoring racing events, and now sponsored all Aston Martin Owners Club events, taking a Tickford engined Nimrod Group C car owned by AMOC President Viscount Downe, which came third in the Manufacturers Championship in both 1982 and 1983. It also finished seventh in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans race. However, sales of production cars were now at an all time low of 30 cars produced in 1982.

As trading became tighter in the petroleum market, and Aston Martin was requiring more time and money, Gauntlett agreed to sell Hays/Pace to the Kuwait Investment Office in September 1983. As Aston Martin required greater investment, he also agreed to sell his share holding to American importer and Greek shipping tycoon Peter Livanos, who invested via his joint venture company with Nick and John Papanicalou, ALL Inc. Gauntlett remained chairman of the AML company 55% owned by ALL, with Tickford a 50/50 venture between ALL and CHI. The uneasy relationship was ended when ALL exercised options to buy a larger share in AML; CHI's residual shares were exchanged for CHI's complete ownership of Tickford, which retained development of existing Aston Martin projects. In 1984, Titan the main shipping company of the Papanicolaou’s was in trouble, so Livanos's father George bought out the Papanicolaou's shares in ALL, while Gauntlett again became a shareholder with a 25% holding in AML. The deal valued Aston Martin/AML at £2 million, the year it built its 10,000th car.

Although as a result Aston Martin had to make 60 members of the workforce redundant, Gauntlett bought a stake in Italian styling house Zagato, and resurrected its collaboration with Aston Martin.

Although the company was doing well, Gauntlett knew it needed extra funds to survive in the long term. In May 1987, Gauntlett and Prince Michael of Kent were staying at the home of Contessa Maggi, the wife of the founder of the original Mille Miglia, while watching the revival event. Another house guest was Walter Hayes, vice-President of Ford of Europe. Despite problems over the previous acquisition of AC Cars, Hayes saw the potential of the brand and the discussion resulted in Ford taking a share holding in September 1987. In 1988, having produced some 5,000 cars in 20 years, a revived economy and successful sales of limited edition Vantage, and 52 Volante Zagato coupes at £86,000 each; the company finally retired the ancient V8 and introduced the Virage range - the first new Aston launched in 20 years.

Although Gauntlett was contractually to stay as chairman for two years, his racing interests took Aston back into sports car racing in 1989 with limited European success. However, with engine rule changes for the 1990 season and the launch of the new Aston Martin Volante model, Ford provided the limited supply of Cosworth engines to the Jaguar cars racing team. As the "small Aston" DB7 would require a large engineering input, Ford agreed to take full control of Aston Martin, and Gauntlett handed over the company chairmanship to Hayes in 1991. In 1992, the Vantage version was announced, and the following year the company renewed the DB range by announcing the DB7.

Ford placed Aston in the Premier Automotive Group, substantially invested in new manufacturing and quickly ramped up production. In 1994, Ford opened a new factory at Banbury Road in Bloxham. In 1995, the company produced a record 700 vehicles. In 1998 the 2,000th DB7 was built, and in 2002 the 6,000th, exceeding production of all previous DB models. The DB7 range was boosted by the addition of V12 Vantage models in 1999, and in 2001 the company introduced the V12-engine Vanquish.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in 2003, Aston Martin introduced the AMV8 Vantage concept car. Expected to have few changes before its introduction in 2005, the Vantage brought back the classic V8 engine to allow the company to compete in a larger market. 2003 also saw the opening of the Gaydon factory, the first purpose-built factory in Aston Martin's history. Also introduced in 2003 was the DB9 coupé, which replaced the ten-year-old DB7. A convertible version of the DB9, the DB9 Volante, was introduced at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show. In 2006, the V8 Vantage sports car entered production at the Gaydon factory, joining the DB9 and DB9 Volante.

In December 2003 Aston Martin announced it would return to motor racing in 2005. A new division was created, called Aston Martin Racing, which became responsible, together with Prodrive, for the design, development, and management of the DBR9 program. The DBR9 competes in the GT class in sports car races, including the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 2006, under mounting financial pressure, an internal review of costs and realisable value on investment led Ford to consider divesting itself of parts of its Premier Automotive Group. After suggestions of selling Jaguar Cars, Land Rover or Volvo Cars, Ford appointed UBS AG to sell Aston Martin by auction. At the end of August 2006, Ford announced that it would be willing to sell all or part of Aston Martin. Bill Ford said: "As part of our on going strategic review, we have determined that Aston Martin may be an attractive opportunity to raise capital and generate value".

The first round of the auction closed on 30 November 2006. One of the four survivors was Syrian-born billionaire Simon Halabi, while the Australian bid included James Packer, Australia's second richest man. The German auto newspaper Autobild reported on 2 February 2007 that the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH had bought the company for an undisclosed sum. The paper cited "anonymous, but well-placed sources" with the information. It was later reported by Autocar magazine that LVMH had denied the news as "rubbish".

On 12 March 2007 a consortium led by Prodrive chairman David Richards purchased Aston Martin for £475m/$848m. Prodrive has no financial involvement in the deal. Ford will keep a stake in the company (valued at GBP 40 million / USD 70 million). The consortium also consisted of John Sinders, an Aston Martin collector; and two Kuwaiti investment companies, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co.

On 19 July 2007 the last car, a Vanquish S, was produced at the Newport Pagnell plant. Nearly 13,000 cars had been made there since 1955. All production was concentrated at Gaydon, with the old premises in Tickford Street remaining in Aston Martin ownership as the restoration and service department.

Aston Martin has also boosted its worldwide appeal by opening more dealers in Europe, as well as branches in China for the first time in its 93 year history in Beijing and Shanghai. This has brought their dealership programme to 120 dealers in 28 countries.

On 1 September 2008, Aston Martin announced the revival of the Lagonda marque. A concept will be shown in 2009, coinciding with the brand's 100th anniversary. The first production cars should come in 2012.

In December 2008, Aston Martin announced that it would cut its 1850 workforce by 600.

In January 2009 it was announced that the company was entering the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours race as a factory team in the prestigious LMP1 division. Aston Martin will design a chassis based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola that ran with Aston Martin engines. Three cars have been entered in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours by Aston Martin but only two have been confirmed with sponsorship. Aston Martin will also compete in the complete Le Mans series in 2009 beginning in Spain.

Aston Martin's model naming can be confusing to the uninitiated. In general, high performance models use the Vantage name, while convertibles are called Volante. The current V8 Vantage is an exception to this however, as it is a range of its own rather than a higher performance version of another car.

To the top

Aston Martin V8 Vantage (2005)

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a hand built sports car from the British manufacturer Aston Martin. Aston Martin has previously used the "Vantage" name on high performance variants of their existing GT models, notably on the Virage-based car of the 1990s. The modern car, in contrast, is the leanest and most agile car in Aston's three-model lineup. As such, it is intended as a more accessible model to reach out to potential buyers of cars such as the Porsche 911 as well as the exotic sports and GT cars with which Aston Martins traditionally compete.

Following the unveiling of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003, the production V8 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005 for the 2006 model year. The two seat, two -door coupé had a bonded aluminium structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long coupé featured a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats. In addition to the coupé, a convertible was available known as the V8 Vantage Roadster.

The V8 Vantage was powered by a 4.3 L (4300 cc) quad-cam 32-valve V8 which produced 380 hp (280 kW) at 7,000 rpm and 302 lb·ft (409 N·m) at 5,000 rpm. Though based loosely on Jaguar's AJ-V8 engine architecture, this engine was unique to Aston Martin and featured race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enabled it to be mounted low in the chassis for an improved center of gravity. The cylinder block and heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system, and engine management were all Aston Martin designs and the V8 engine was assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany, which also built the V12 engine for the DB9 and Vanquish.

The engine was front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. Slotted Brembo brakes were also standard. The original V8 Vantage could accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in a manufacturer claimed 4.8 seconds topping out at 175 mph (282 km/h). Vantages with the enhanced 400 HP version of the 4.3 L V8 engine (included with the "N400" package or available individually as a Power Upgrade kit) as well as later models with the 4.7 L V8 were even faster.

The V8 Vantage retailed for £79,000, US$110,000, or €104,000 in 2006, Aston Martin planned to build up to 3,000 per year. Included was a six-speed manual transmission and leather-upholstery for the seats, dash, steering-wheel, and shift-knob. A six-speed sequential manual transmission, similar to those produced by Ferrari and Lamborghini, called Sportshift was introduced later as an option.

In their 2006 readership survey, readers of Car Design News voted the Aston Martin V8 Vantage as the best current production car design. The survey results were based on over 1000 responses, most from working automotive designers and students of industrial and automotive design. The Vantage was also voted one of Automobile magazine's 2007 "All Stars" for its performance, road manners, and design. The V8 Vantage is also one of the only two cars to be added to "the fridge" – reserved for the super-"cool" – on the BBC's Top Gear (on which it is described as the baby Aston to differentiate it from the V12 powered DB9). The program rates cars from seriously un-cool to sub-zero. The fridge was an extra category added when the presenters deemed the Aston Martin DB9 too cool for the sub-zero category. In the 2005 awards, Jeremy Clarkson declared the V8 Vantage as the coolest car of the year, while the award winner was actually the Porsche 911. The Andre Gayot guide gave the 2007 version 4 1/2 stars out of 5, one of the highest scores ever awarded. While the V8 Vantage remains a rare and special car by any standard, the success of the model is highlighted by the completion of chassis number 10,000 - a specially ordered Onyx Coupe delivered to a customer in USA - in the first half of 2008. While the production of 10,000 cars is a tiny number by the standards of typical car manufacturers, it is a significant milestone for an Aston Martin model - the DB-9 being the only other Aston Martin model to have achieved that figure.

In May 2008, Aston Martin announced new technological updates for the Vantage, which included changes to the engine, transmission, suspension and appearance. New cylinder liners that are now pressed into the aluminium block instead of the original cast-in variants allow a thinner liner, which in turn allows a larger capacity of 4.7 L. The cylinder bore and stroke has been increased from 89 mm (3.5 in) to 91 mm (3.6 in) and 86 mm (3.4 in) to 91 mm (3.6 in) respectively, giving a total displacement of 4735 cc. The dry sump lubrication system was also modified.

The "Sportshift" semi-automatic transmission benefited from a software update, while a lightened flywheel was introduced for both the manual and the Sportshift. Aston Martin also stiffened the suspension and now uses Bilstein dampers. An optional Sports Pack is being offered with stiffer springs, tighter handling, and all-new 5-spoke alloy wheels. Sportshift-equipped models also receive a new dual throttle-mapping update which allows the driver to choose from the default Sport mode, or Comfort mode, which gives more comfortable shifts and throttle input for drivability.

New wheels are also part of the update including a 20-spoke alloy wheel and a new 5-spoke aluminium wheel for the Sport Pack. The interior has been changed slightly, using an updated console similar to the Aston Martin DBS and the new DB9.

The update provides the Vantage with 420bhp (an 11% increase) and delivers peak torque of 470 N·m (347 lb·ft) (a 15% increase), providing the car with additional reserves of mid-range performance and an even higher top speed. Combined European fuel economy and CO2 emissions are also improved by 13% (Sportshift).

At the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Aston Martin officially unveiled the V8 Vantage Roadster. The car gained 200 pounds over the coupé, but Aston Martin claimed the car would have the same performance as the coupé. To compensate for the loss of the roof a new, super-stiff cross-member was added to the frame. The soft top could be raised or lowered electronically in 18 seconds and could be operated in speeds up to 30 mph (50 km/h). It had the same 4.3 litre V8 from the hard top version producing 380 bhp (283 kW; 385 PS) at 7000 rpm, 302 ft·lbf (409 N·m) at 5000 rpm & a top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h) . It would accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.9 seconds. The 2009 Vantage Roadster features swan wing doors, a leather and Alcantara interior and a zinc alloy center console. It also has a crystal-capped key fob.

In 2007 Prodrive released a tuning package for the V8 Vantage, which consists of four separate packages that can be installed in stages. These four packages are for the engine, suspension, wheels, or aerodynamics.

The engine package includes an ECU remapping and minor engine modifications that boost power on the 4.3 L engine by 45 hp (34 kW), and torque by 25 lb·ft (34 N·m). Throttle control is also remapped. Also included is an exhaust modification which allows the driver to leave the by-pass valves in three separate settings. The suspension package replaces portions of the car's suspension with Bilstein and Eibach parts, which are claimed to make the vehicle more planted and accurate through the corners.

The tire and rim package replaces the stock wheels with lighter twin-7 spoke alloys from Prodrive Japan. The rims are similar to those on the DBR9, and each wheel weighs 2.5 kg (6 lb) less than the stock versions. Pirelli P-Zero tires are used, and the rear wheels are widened to 10 inches (254 mm). The aerodynamic package adds a carbon fibre front splitter and rear wing, which together reduce lift by up to 45%.

Packages can be ordered direct from Prodrive or from an Aston Martin dealer, though all packages are installed by Prodrive. 0-60 mph (97 km/h) times are claimed to drop by 0.5 seconds to about 4.3 seconds for the 4.3L Vantage, and 0-100 mph (160 km/h) times are improved by 0.9 seconds.

To commemorate the company's racing successes at the Nürburgring, Aston Martin released the limited edition N400 at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. The N400’s 4.3L V8 was tuned to produce 400 bhp (300 kW), hence the name, and the car also featured a sports pack which included lightweight graphite-finished wheels, uprated springs and dampers and a new rear anti-roll bar. The N400 was available in three special paint colours; Storm Black, Lightning Silver and Karussell Orange. Each N400 came with perforated leather trim, including a map of the Nürburgring stitched on the center armrest, and a numbered plaque.

Aston Martin tested the car at the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit where it was able to complete a lap in under eight minutes. The N400 package was available on either the coupé or roadster, with 240 versions of each being built.

On December 11, 2007, as part of Aston Martin's opening of their own design studio, the company unveiled a concept based on the V8 Vantage. The car, known as the V12 Vantage RS, features the V12 engine from the DBRS9 race car and produces 600 hp (450 kW). The power along with the weight of 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg) allows the car to reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in under four seconds and achieve a top speed over 200 mph (320 km/h).

Other additions include a new rear diffuser, a rear-wing which can be raised or lowered, and carbon-ceramic brakes. The bootlid and vented bonnet are also made from carbon fiber to help decrease the car's weight. In early 2008, Aston Martin's CEO confirmed production for V12 Vantage RS for mid 2009.

Clear Spy shots of the new V12 Vantage RS surfaced on the 5th of April 2008.

Official pictures and details have been released of the 510bhp production version.

In addition to the specific packages above, all variants of the V8 Vantage are offered with a wide range of personalisation options, particularly in the interior where several different shades of leather – and even stitching – may be chosen to complement or contrast each other and the body (and, in the case of the convertible, the roof). The "N400" engine modifications and/or sports chassis are also available individually for those owners would like to combine the increased power or handling of the special edition with the more subtle original body, interior, and badging - much like the "POW" Vantages of 1980s. Many thousands of choices of color, trim, and options combined with the in house "customization" available through Works Service make it possible for a V8 Vantage owner to configure a unique individual car to his or her specifications.

During the 2006 British Motor Show, Aston Martin Racing revealed a near stock version of the V8 Vantage that would compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. The car, now known as the V8 Vantage N24, was driven by Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, development engineer Chris Porrit, development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer and German journalist Horst Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch in the 24 hour race. The car finished 4th in class and 24th overall, before being driven home on public roads after the race. While essentially much like the existing coupé, the N24 had a front splitter and extended door sills for aerodynamic efficiency, a full roll cage, a racing fuel tank, and other modifications necessary to make the car race worthy. Other modifications include the removal of most of the interior, including all seats, replaced by a lone Recaro drivers seat.

Later in 2006, Aston Martin confirmed that they would offer the V8 Vantage N24 to customers as a track car similar to a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The V8 Vantage N24 is legal for use in the FIA GT4 European Cup, German VLN series, Grand-Am Cup, and various other national series. Contrary to Porsche however, Dr. Bez announced that they will not be putting a premium price on the N24 and that, while it will only be produced in limited numbers, will cost just about as much as a regular V8 Vantage. The N24 was featured in the British TV series Top Gear and driven by James May in a quest to find the best road for driving in Europe. The decision to use the "racing version" for this kind of drive was mocked by Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson as the car lacked air conditioning and other comforts.

Additional racing success for the V8 Vantage in N24 trim included a first and second the 2007 Eurpeoan GT4 race at Silverstone, the first 3 places in their class at the 2008 Nurburgring 24 hours race (18th out of 220 cars entered overall), and strong showings in Bahrain, VLN raceing, and other tracks and events throughout the world. The N24 was also the basis of a one-make pan-Asia series called Aston Martin Asia Cup (AMAC). Competitors ran in identical N24s at various Asian circuits.

In late 2008, Aston Martin debuted an updated version of the N24, known as the V8 Vantage GT4. Its primary alteration is the introduction of the new 4.7 L V8 that also debuted in the production V8 Vantage. This replaces the 4.3 L V8 in the V8 Vantage N24. The suspension and brakes have also been updated.

Developed alongside the N24, the V8 Vantage Rally GT undergoes similar modifications by Prodrive for use in rallying. Unique modifications include a slight increase in engine power, Eibach sport shocks, and an optional close-ratio gearbox. The Rally GTs were used by the Race of Champions as part of their line-up of cars in 2006.

Debuting in 2008, the V8 Vantage GT2 is the most powerful racing variant of the V8 Vantage family. Designed to meet FIA and ACO GT2 class regulations, the Vantage will become a customer car for use in the FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. The V8 Vantage GT2 has been tuned to be capable of running E85 ethanol or normal racing fuel, dependent on the racing series.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 saw its racing debut at the 2008 Grand Prix of Long Beach, driven by Paul Drayson, a former Minister of State in the United Kingdom, and Jonny Cocker, 2004 British GT Champion. The car will also be run on E85 fuel.

James Watt Automotive also plans to run in Le Mans Series, although the car failed to make the start of its debut race due to mechanical problems.

To the top

Aston Martin DBS

Aston Martin DBS V8

The Aston Martin DBS is a GT car produced by the British manufacturer Aston Martin Lagonda Limited. Originally produced from 1967-72, it featured in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. A new version, based heavily on the Aston Martin DB9, is featured in the 2006 film Casino Royale and the 2008 film Quantum of Solace (see Aston Martin DBS V12).

The DBS was intended as the successor to the famed Aston Martin DB6, although the two ran concurrently for three years. Powered by a straight-6 engine, it was produced from 1967 until 1972, eventually being phased out in favour of the DBS V8 and the Aston Martin Vantage.

It was a larger coupé than the DB6, with four full sized seats, but was powered by the same 4.0 L engine as the previous car. The engine normally produced 282 bhp (210 kW), but a no-cost vantage spec engine option substituted Italian made Weber carburettors for the DBS' original SU units, thereby upping output to an advertised 325 bhp (242 kW; 330 PS).

The DBS was intended to have a more "modern" look than the previous series of Aston models (the DB4 through DB6), and it incorporated a fastback style rear end and squared off front grille, atypical of Astons, but very much then in vogue in automotive design circles of the late sixties. Trademark Aston design features, such as a bonnet scoop, knock off wire wheels, and side air vents with stainless steel brightwork were however retained.

The DBS was used by George Lazenby's James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Unlike Bond's previous car, the Aston Martin DB5, no gadgets were seen in this car, other than a mounting for a telescopic-sight rifle in the glove compartment. In the final scenes of the film, Bond's wife, Tracy, is shot and killed while sitting in the car.

An Aston Martin DBS was later used for the short-lived TV series The Persuaders! (1971-1972), in which Roger Moore's character Lord Brett Sinclair drove a distinctive gold-painted 6-cylinder DBS, which through the use of alloy wheels and different badges had been made to look like a DBSV8 model.

On 17 January 2006 it was announced that a new Aston Martin DBS would be used in the 21st James Bond film Casino Royale. The new DBS is based on the DB9, more specifically the DBR9 race car. Built on the VH Platform the car shares its roof, sidescreens and wheelbase with the DB9, but sits lower (by 25 mm) and wider (by 40 mm) than the DB9. Visually, the front end is dominated by air scoops and cooling ducts which help cool the six-litre V12 engine which has reportedly been uprated to produce 510 bhp (380 kW; 517 PS) , 420 lb·ft (569 N·m) of torque & a top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h) . At the rear are a carbon diffuser and an integrated rear lip spoiler. Other details include a six-speed manual transmission and a removable stopwatch. A special helmet pod behind the driver's seat is present for Casino Royale but will not feature in the production version. The Aston Martin DBS also features an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system with 13 active loudspeakers including 2 tweeters with ALT (Acoustic Lens Technology). Aston Martin is expected to build only 300 examples of the new DBS.

To the top

Aston Martin DB7

Aston Martin DB7 Volante

The Aston Martin DB7 is a grand tourer made by Aston Martin from September 1994 to December 2003. The grand tourer was available either as a coupé or a convertible and debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 1993. The six-cylinder DB7 was positioned as an "entry-level" model below the hand-built V8 Virage introduced a few years earlier. The DB7 was the highest production Aston Martin model ever, with more than 7,000 built before it was replaced by the DB9. The DB7 was styled by Ian Callum and Keith Helfet, and it is widely considered a beautiful and timeless automotive design.

The DB7, known internally as the NPX project, was made mostly with resources from Jaguar and had the financial backing of the Ford Motor Company, owner of Aston Martin since 1988. The DB7's platform is an evolution of the Jaguar XJS's, though with many changes. The styling started life as the still-born Jaguar F type (XJ41 - coupe / XJ42 - convertible)designed by Keith Helfet. Ford cancelled this car and the general design was grafted onto an XJS platform. The styling received modest changes by Ian Callum so that it looked like an Aston Martin. The first generation Jaguar XK-8 also uses an evolution of the XJ-S/DB-7 platform and the cars share a family resemblance, though the Aston Martin was significantly more expensive and exclusive.

With production of the Virage (soon rechristened "V8" following Vantage styling revisions) continuing at Newport Pagnell, a new factory was acquired at Bloxham, Oxfordshire that had previously been used to produce the Jaguar XJ-220, where every DB7 would be built throughout its production run. The DB-7 and its relatives were the only Aston Martins produced in Bloxham and the only ones with a steel unit construction inherited from Jaguar (Aston Martin had traditionally used aluminium for the bodies of their cars, and models introduced after the DB-7 use aluminium for the chassis as well as for many major body parts).

The convertible Volante version was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 1996. Both versions have a supercharged straight-6 engine that produced 335 bhp (250 kW; 340 PS). In the United States, the Coupé sold for $140,000, and the Volante for $150,000. Works Service provided a special Driving Dynamics package, which greatly enhanced performance and handling for drivers who wanted more than the standard configuration.

In 1999, the more powerful DB7 V12 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. Its 6.0 litre, 48-valve, V12 engine produces 420 bhp (313 kW; 426 PS) and 400 ft·lbf (540 N·m) of torque. It has a compression ratio of 10.3:1. It was available with either a TREMEC T-56 six speed manual or a ZF 5HP30 five speed automatic gearbox. Aston Martin claims it has a top speed of either 186 mph (299 km/h) with the manual gearbox or 165 mph (266 km/h) with the automatic gearbox, and will accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.9 seconds. It is 4,692 mm long, 1830 mm (72 in) wide, 1243 mm (48.9 in) high, with a weight of 1.8 tonnes.

After the launch of the Vantage, sales of the supercharged straight-6 engine DB7 quickly dried up, and production was ended in mid-1999.

In 2002, a new variant was launched, named V12 GT or V12 GTA when equipped with an automatic transmission. It was essentially an improved version of the Vantage, its V12 engine producing 435 bhp (324 kW; 441 PS) and 410 ft·lbf (560 N·m) of torque. Aesthetically, compared to the Vantage it has a mesh front grille, vents in the bonnet (hood), a boot (trunk) spoiler, an aluminium gear lever, optional carbon fibre trim and new wheels. It also has 355 mm (14 in) front and 330 mm (13 in) rear vented disc brakes made by Brembo.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia