Mention among Aston enthusiasts and it immediately conjures up images of high performance">

Mention among Aston enthusiasts and it immediately conjures up images of high performance, far exceeding that of the normal cars. While the Vantage name has been used since the early 1950’s it's origin has remained obscure and a detailed analysis of the cars has never been made. A new book by Kean Rogers sheds light on Vantage history and details Britain’s first real “Supercar” the V8 Vantage.

The "Vantage" first appeared in the sales brochures of January 1951, in the guise of a more powerful engine option for the DB2. For over 38 years the origin of the name had remained obscure until a chance meeting at Aston Martin Lagonda in 1997.     A tour of the works had been organised by a young Mr. Robertson for himself and his father, an ex-Aston employee from the Feltham days. As it transpired Robertson Sr. had in fact penned the "Vantage" moniker.  Alan Robertson, newly arrived from the David Brown parent company in Huddersfield, shared an office with John Wyer at Feltham, both having arrived at the same time in early 1950. 

DB2 Vantage

The first: db2 Vantage LML/50/19

  The name "Vantage" was chosen after leafing through a thesaurus looking for suitable tags for higher performance variants of the then current model, the DB Mk II.  Offering 125bhp, versus 105 bhp for the standard engine, Vantage represented the tuned state for Aston Martin's fine handcrafted automobiles and was easily distinguished by a "V" in the engine number and obviously higher levels of performance.

Interest in marketing the name had waned by 1953 when the Vantage engine became standard issue on the DB2/4, with no mention of it appearing in sales information, the "V" in the engine number the only indication.  It wasn't until early 1962 that the Vantage name appeared once again in Aston's marketing literature.

DB4 Vantage

db4 Vantage DB4/983/R

  For the first time "Vantage" appeared as a distinct model name in the form of the DB4 Vantage. The Series IV DB4 was the recipient of the name; however, it represented more than just an uprated engine specification.     Visually it was distinguished from the standard car by a restyled front-end with sloping faired-in headlights.  Until the advent of the V8 Vantage in 1977, these were the only Vantage models to carry body modifications distinct from the standard car.

DB5 Vantage

db5 Vantage

  Subsequent Aston Martins models of all body styles were offered with the Vantage engine option. The difference between these and the standard car was only the state of engine tune, offering approximately 10% more horsepower.  From the DB5 of September 1964 onwards, through DB6, DB6 MKII and DBS these tuned models carried Vantage badges affixed to the side air intakes behind the front wheels, outwardly distinguishing them from their lesser brethren. Upon closer inspection the suffix /V can also be found in the engine number.

DB6 Vantage

db6 mk2 Vantage

  Plans were made to offer the DBSV8, the first of the V8-engined Astons introduced in 1969, in uprated Vantage form but they never saw production. 

dbs V8 Vantage prototype DBS/5002/R

  The classic, single-headlight AM V8 saloon (no longer a 'DB', the company's post-war savior David Brown having sold the company in February 1972) appeared in May of 1972 and alongside it the AM Vantage, a tuned six cylinder car rather than a Vantage version of the V8.  It represented a departure from custom as Vantage was usually reserved for the tuned version of the standard production series of car. This was unusual in the fact that no standard six cylinder car was available.  It was to be another five years - and after another change of ownership - before the first V8 Vantage joined the range.

  At last Aston - and Britain - had its first top-drawer 'supercar'. The V8 Vantage car that went on sale in February 1977 was quite different from anything that had gone before. It was now a distinct model, although that was not the original intent, as opposed to a higher performance variant of the standard car.  During the V8 Vantage's 12 years of production Volante and Zagato variants were also introduced.

V8 Vantage

The next Vantage to appear was loosely based on the Virage.  Revised nose and tail treatments identified the car externally while a supercharged V8, revised chassis and suspension were less visible under the skin.  The most powerful Aston ever built, it has also proven to be the most successful and remains in production until 2000.

V8 Vantage Le Mans

V8 Vantage Volante SWB

The last of the breed: the final V8 engined Vantages were a special run of eight Vantage Volantes with the shorter wheelbase of the V8 Vantage coupe.  Offered only by special invitation to Aston's most loyal customers, each was finished to the owner's individual requirements.  Options included the Le Mans bodywork, 600 bhp engine option and various body enhancements.

  The promise of things to come.  A concept car developed to showcase Aston Martin's capabilities but with no basis in production.  The 2001 V12 Vanquish continues the theme but with simpler suspension and a less radical interior. Visual and interior elements along with the engine had already been incorporated into the DB7 Vantage.

project Vantage Concept Car

  The latest in the line, the DB7 Vantage incorporates the engine and styling cues first seen on the Project Vantage.  Touchtronic shift buttons on the steering wheel to control the 5-speed automatic transmission were introduced January 2000.

db7 Vantage

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