Twenty years ago a focus on the nearly new Aston Martin market would have been brief and aimed at the financial elite. Today, after more than a decade of ‘new era’ Astons and relative mass production at Gaydon, the picture is rather different. You can now afford something from the esteemed British marque, but is it a good idea, and which model should you buy?
The original Vanquish was the crossover car: half hand-built Newport Pagnell bruiser and half new-era tech-fest. Prices are definitely on the up according to our expert, Bryan McMorran (see below), but be warned: they’re complex cars and you need to do your homework. For example, front subframes corrode and that alone is a £12,000 fix.
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The real temptation lurks in those early V8 Vantages and DB9s at prices beginning with a ‘3’. It’s not a purchase to be taken lightly, but the smaller car in particular can be trouble-free. And they’re still gorgeous.
Sports Pack-equipped manual DB9s have always been a real favourite of evo’s, even if the single-plate clutch and engine calibration make them clumsy cars to drive at low speed. They’re a rare find today, but not the investment choice if you want a manual ‘twelve’. That accolade falls to early DBS coupes, thanks to the glittering veneer of ‘Bond’ status, beauty and all-round ability.
Finally, for all its appeal as a long-distance 2+2 – if not as a genuine saloon car – the Rapide was a financially troubling prospect for from-new owners thanks to savage depreciation. It’s now some ‘family car’ at £60,000.
Bryan McMorran, Sales Manager, Nicholas Mee Aston Martin
Are Vantages at rock-bottom? Plus why the DBS could be the one to have
‘Prices have started to bottom out for the V8 Vantage. You’ll need at least £30,000 for the very first cars and they’re not getting much cheaper. The key is how they’ve been looked after, although they’re very robust little cars. N400s are very desirable but later special editions less so. Roadsters from 2007 start in the early £40,000s and carry a £5000 premium over the coupes, while 4.7-litre cars start around £45,000.
‘The V12 Vantage is a very different car: it’s like owning a lion. They’re starting at just under £70,000 now, but there’s only a £10,000 range up to 2012 cars as no real changes were made. Buy on mileage, condition and colour. Are they an investment? Yes and no; the only downside is that the V12 Vantage S is such a good car.
‘Values are firming on early DB9s, which can be bought for less than the best DB7s now; I just sold a really nice early DB9 for £39,950. Enthusiasts seek out Sports Pack manual cars, but they’re not worth much more. Later cars, from 2009 on, are nicer – from £50,000 – and the Volantes are stiffer, too.
‘The Virage is underrated, and for around £80,000 it’s the look of a new DB9 for a lot less money, but the absolute find is an early manual DBS. I genuinely believe that’s the car: it’s a phenomenally good car, a Bond car. It could be the DB5 of the future. You’ll need at least £70,000 for a 2007 manual.’
The charm of a British GT car
Mark loves his Astons, as you’d expect from the deputy chairman of the Aston Martin Owners Club (amoc.org). Along with some older examples of the marque, he’s owned two DB9 Volantes and is the current custodian of a 2008 DBS manual coupe.
‘I told my dealer I wanted a manual gearbox in the DB9 and both times he refused to let me order one,’ says Mark.
‘I’d given my letter of intent regarding a possible DBS in 2006, when I ordered my first DB9, as Aston Martin have a habit of bringing out a more powerful model a few years after production starts.
‘All of my modern cars have been 100 per cent reliable – they’ve never let me down like the older ones! The DB9s didn’t really differ as I bought them so close together – just a year apart – but the DBS is a completely different animal: it was like going from a GT car to a road-racer.
‘I would never sell my DBS. I may buy another Aston Martin, but won’t get rid of that one. I think you build a relationship with them: they have a personality. It would be like selling your child. It has such a beautiful shape – sometimes I wander down to my garage with a bottle of wine and just look at it.’