Which is your favourite Aston Martin Vantage?
DB2 with Vantage specification
The Vantage moniker first appeared in conjunction with the handsome Feltham-built DB2 in 1950 and denoted an uprated 125bhp version of the car’s 2.6-litre Lagonda engine. Aston built just 250 of these Vantage-specification DB2s, of which most are believed to remain today.
The DB4 Vantage arrived more than a decade later in 1961. In addition to a more potent straight-six engine, which incorporated three SU carburettors and revised cylinder heads, the flagship DB4 boasted faired-in headlights and bright aluminium trim.
Made globally famous by a certain British secret agent, the Aston Martin DB5 will forever be an automotive icon. Interestingly, just 68 of the 887 DB5 saloons that left Newport Pagnell were built to 325bhp Vantage specifications, though this was probably down to the car’s princely £158 (excl. taxes!) premium.
A longer, more family friendly version of the DB5, the DB6 Vantage is just as rare as its predecessor. With fewer than 100 built, owners today are understandably very protective of their cars.
The DBS signalled a revolutionary change for Aston Martin in 1967. The angular and more modern car was designed by junior designer William Towns, though was fitted with the familiar Tadek Marek-designed straight-six from the DB6.
A revised version of the DBS was introduced in 1972 and christened the AM Vantage. Just 70 were built and were idiosyncratic in that they employed the hallowed Vantage name but were not the most potent offering in Aston Martin’s range.
Hailed as ‘Britain’s first supercar’ upon its arrival in 1977, the original Aston Martin V8 Vantage was a veritable giant-killer, its astonishing performance belying its hefty weight. Ferrari Daytonas and Lamborghini Countaches never stood a chance. Such was the car’s desirability (and Aston’s shaky financial situation) that V8 Vantages were produced over the course of three decades, the final ‘X-Pack’ car being delivered in 1990.
V8 Vantage Zagato
Claimed by many to be the best-driving Aston Martin V8 of them all, the unusually styled V8 Vantage Zagato was shorter, lighter and, perhaps most importantly, rarer – just 50 of these bona-fide Anglo-Italo brutes were produced.
Arguably our favourite of the hand-built Aston Martin V8 range, the 550bhp supercharged Vantage V550 is the quintessential British muscle car, a proper, luxuriously appointed gentleman’s express that could show its heels to virtually anything else on the road (despite tipping the scales at almost two tonnes).
DB7 V12 Vintage
Arguably one of the prettiest Aston Martins ever produced, the DB7 was responsible for changing the fortunes of the illustrious British marque and steering the company into the 21st century. The Vantage’s Ford-derived 5.9-litre V12 developed 420bhp and, coupled with a raft of dynamic tweaks beneath the sultry surface, resulted in a particularly memorable driving experience. Compared to the miniscule production numbers of its forebears, a staggering 2,091 DB7 Vantage coupés were built.
Based on the marque’s then-new VH Architecture, the baby V8 Vantage from 2005 was a great commercial hit for Aston Martin. The variants and special editions are too numerous to list here, but our pick of the bunch would be the first-generation V12 Vantage, with the six-speed manual gearbox. There’s something so childish about the idea of Aston shoehorning its biggest engine into its smallest car.
Like or loathe the opinion-polarising styling, the current Aston Martin Vantage is a hell of a machine. Whether it rivals its predecessors in terms of commercial success remains to be seen, but we sincerely hope that together with the DBX, this car can change Aston Martin’s ailing fortunes.