1978 Aston Martin V8


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1978 Aston Martin V8 'Oscar India' Sports Saloon
Registration no. XYT 795T
Chassis no. V8/SOR/12039

"Anyone wondering why Aston Martin bother to make their own vee-8 when so many big American ones are so cheaply available need take only one look at the performance data... for the best explanation in the world. Whatever the undisclosed output of the Aston V8, it is enough to rocket this heavy car to 60mph from rest in exactly six seconds and to 100mph in only 14.7 seconds. Much more than this, we were able to reach 138 mph from rest in a mile and on the Continent record a mean maximum speed of 161.5 mph." - Autocar, 8 July 1971.

Aston Martin's new Tadek Marek-designed V8 had been scheduled to make its debut in the DBS, but the latter first appeared with the 4.0-litre six of the concurrently produced DB6. Styled in house by Bill Towns, the four-seater DBS employed a platform-type chassis with independent suspension all round: wishbone and coil-spring at the front, De Dion with Watts linkage at the rear. Bigger and more luxuriously appointed than the DB6, the heavier DBS disappointed some by virtue of its slightly reduced performance, but there were no complaints when the V8 arrived in 1969. With an estimated 345bhp available from its 5,340cc, fuel-injected, four-cam motor, the DBS V8 could reach 100mph in under 14 seconds, running on to a top speed of 160mph - a staggering performance in those days and one which fully justified the claim that it was the fastest production car in the world. Even in automatic transmission form the V8 could reach 100mph in around 15 seconds and better 145mph flat-out.

In 1972 the acquisition of Aston Martin by Company Developments brought with it a change of name for the V8-engined cars: out went DBS V8, in came AM V8. This new Series 2 was readily distinguishable by its restyled front that now featured two instead of four headlamps and recalled the looks of the earlier DB six-cylinder cars. Electronic ignition and air conditioning were now standard.

Shortly after reorganisation under new ownership as AML (1975) Ltd, Aston Martin resumed development of its highly successful V8. A host of improvements was to be incorporated in the forthcoming 'Series 4', scheduled for introduction in October 1978. Built from then until 1986, these cars are generally known by the factory's 'Oscar India' sobriquet, standing for 'October Introduction'. The most obvious differences were a restyled bonnet and boot-mounted spoiler while the cabin received a redesigned dashboard and centre console, and the headlining became leather rather than cloth. There were, of course, countless other improvements, most notably to the air conditioning and to the shock absorber settings.

Autocar magazine found much to commend in the 'Oscar India' tested in October 1978, reckoning that this latest example from the Newport Pagnell factory stood out as the best-built and most competently finished car it have ever known Aston Martin produce. "It sets new standards of excellence for the company. In the past there has always been a slightly niggly feeling that one was paying an awful lot of money for a car of rather indifferent trim standards, in which the fabulous performance was not matched by the way the car was put together. Not so any more - the car is a delight, whether to drive, to travel in, or simply to look at."

This Aston Martin V8 Oscar India is one of the extremely rare examples equipped from new with the desirable ZF five-speed manual gearbox. This is a genuine factory manual car and

not a later conversion. Finished in Brewster Green with cream leather interior, it retains original matching numbers and comes with a Heritage certificate. In addition to the manual gearbox, '12039' left the factory with optional rear fog lamps, Cibié headlights in grille, Weber carburettors, Avon tyres, Pioneer stereo, and beige Onslow carpets.

An older restoration in very good condition throughout, the Aston has belonged to the current vendor for the last five years and before that formed part of the billionaire car dealer the late Arnold Clark's private collection. The car comes with a large history file dating back to the early 1980s containing the original stamped service book, owner's manual, warranty card, old MoTs, V5C registration document, and numerous invoices.

One of the rarest of all Aston Martin V8 variants, with only 12 produced with manual transmission, this Oscar India represents a wonderful opportunity for the Aston Martin collector.