Mind you, some of the best cars in my opinion started out in prototype stage in the late 80’s, and became production realities in the 90’s. I’m referring to cars like the Bugatti EB110, the Cizeta V16T, and the topic of today’s post, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
First, let’s not get this car confused with the Vantage that is in the showrooms currently – that model has been around for a decade, and while a nice car, it is just too mainstream to be considered special.
The 90’s era V8 Vantage was based on the boxy-yet-awesome original Virage model, which first appeared at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show in UK.
The Virage was an attractive, gentleman’s sports car, but with just 330 hp from its normally-aspirated 5.3L V8, this 1,790 kg coupe wasn’t exactly fast. The sprint from 0 to 96 km/h took 6.5 seconds, and its top speed was around 254 km/h – some sedans of this era were actually faster.
What the Virage needed was some steroids, and boy did it get just that. In September of 1992, Aston Martin brought out the V8 Vantage. Based on the chassis of the Virage, the V8 Vantage was pumped up in every conceivable way. The body was sleeker and meaner, the interior was even more luxurious, but the main difference was under the hood. The V8 Vantage still had a 5.3L V8, but now it boasts two superchargers. Net result was 550 hp, and 550 lb-ft of torque. All this grunt was sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
Hook it up correctly, and the V8 Vantage would dash from 0 to 96 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, while top speed was in the 300 km/h range. This is a proper supercar!
I first fell in love with it when the car was first featured on an episode of Top Gear, in which Jeremy Clarkson borrowed a test mule from the factory, and took it to Santa Pod raceway, to drag race against a Lamborghini Diablo. While I am fully convinced the results were rigged – a British car won over an Italian car on a British TV show that’s funded by the BBC, how convenient!
Despite the results, the way the V8 Vantage looked, sounded, plus the promise of its performance, just made a very positive impression on my teenage mind.
These 90’s V8 Vantage models were offered for sale in most parts of the world, but not in North America. As a result, the production numbers of these cars are remarkably small – only about 280 units produced in its eight-year lifespan, Aston Martin makes more than 500 units of the current Vantage per-year.
That makes the example sitting at Autosport Designs a very rare piece, especially since its sitting in America, a market this car was never intended for. As you can see from >>>this link<<< – the dealer is asking $299,500 for this 1995 example, that has covered just 15,852 km.