1979 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Sports Saloon to X-Pack Specification (see text) Registration no. JNJ 798V Chassis no. V8VOR 12183
'People who buy the Vantage will do so in the first place for its performance, and they will not be disappointed. The figures speak for themselves. But they should take extra heart because it is one of the easiest true high performance cars to drive well: and it has been given brakes to match. In comfort too, it has much to offer, and there is a great deal of what is best in the British tradition of designing and building sports cars in its making.' - Autocar.
The performance figures Autocar referred to were a 0-60mph time of 5.4 seconds and an estimated top speed of 170mph, figures comparable with those achievable by a Ferrari Daytona or Lamborghini Miura.
With the introduction of the Vantage in 1977, Aston Martin's V8 was thrust back into the supercar league. The name had previously been applied to high-power versions of the DB six-cylinder cars, and in the V8's case the Vantage tune delivered around 375bhp; in Rolls-Royce fashion the factory chose not to disclose the actual figure, merely claiming that power was 'adequate'. Its superior performance aside, the Vantage was 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.
ZF five-speed manual transmission was standard equipment, though a handful of Vantages were built with the Torqueflite automatic gearbox. With either transmission performance was shattering, the Vantage's 0-100mph time of 12.7 seconds making it the world's fastest accelerating production car at that time. For those with a yen for even greater performance, there was the factory's optional 'X-Pack' of engine enhancements that raised peak power to a mighty 432bhp. By way of comparison, Ferrari's contemporary 12-cylinder Testarossa could only manage a relatively paltry 390 horsepower.
Chassis number '12183' is an example of the much-improved Series 4 Aston Martin V8. Introduced in October 1978 and built from then until 1986, these cars are generally known by the factory's 'Oscar India' sobriquet, standing for 'October Introduction'. An original V8 Vantage equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, '12183' is believed to have been converted to X-Pack specification, though the only supporting documentation supplied is a bill from Fourways Engineering (dated 9 June 1999) for converting the cylinder heads to unleaded compatibility and opening up the ports to X-Pack specification. However, the carburettors are 48mm Webers, which do form part of the X-Pack specification.
'12183' is finished in Ravens' Black with red leather interior (its original colour combination) while other noteworthy features include Ronal wheels, air conditioning, electric mirrors, and central locking. This car is without doubt one of the best examples in existence today, benefiting from an interior re-trim costing in excess of £16,000 alone, while the bodywork has had in excess of £25,000 spent on it and recent mechanical bills total over £15,000.
Dating back to when the car was new, the history file contains three service books; almost every MoT from new; correspondence from previous owners; bills of sale; and a receipt for every penny spent on it from 1980 to date. This car's quality cannot be overstated, and the history file is one of the most comprehensive we have ever seen. '12183' is described by the private vendor as in pristine condition throughout, looking and sounding wonderful.