The DB7 has often been referred to as one of the ‘prettiest’ of the more modern Aston classics and the Vantage V12 is a prime example of this train of thought. This week commercial car photographer Tim Wallace was commissioned to shoot the DB7 V12 Vantage for our client Aston as part of a heritage project.
Introduced in 1994, the Ian Callum designed coupe looked sensational then, and the quality of its design is still apparent today. The Volante, a term adopted by Aston Martin for its convertibles, was introduced two years later, in 1996. Those early cars were powered by a 3.2-litre V6, the 6.0-litre V12 ‘Vantage’ version joining the range in 1999. And despite a hefty price hike, such was the interest in the V12 Vantage version that the V6-powered DB7 was soon redundant, Aston Martin subsequently only offering the DB7 with V12 power, in ‘Vantage’ (high performance) specification. Overall the DB7 has been an extraordinary success and to put that into perspective, over its 87-year history, Aston Martin has only ever made 16,000 cars – of which more than 5000 have been DB7s….
The DB7 Vantage Volante nestles in an exclusive club of £100,000+ open topped cars designed for those who enjoy, and can afford, the finer things in life. Price-wise, there’s very little direct; the majority of its rivals tend to be priced around the £60-80,000 mark – and that encompasses cars like Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet, Jaguar’s XKR Cabriolet, the Maserati Spyder and the Mercedes SL55 AMG. If you go to the other side of the £103,000 that you’d pay for the DB7 Volante, there’s always the £112,000 Ferrari 360 Modena Spider too. And once you’re into the realms of paying £100,000 and more for a car, you’re likely to be working to a different set of principles from the typical car buyer – so the £30-40,000 difference between the Aston and its on-paper rivals is less likely to be a decisive purchase factor.
It seems that this is the Aston Martin for the masses. With more than 5,000 examples having been built since it was introduced in 1994, it’s easily the most popular Aston Martin ever. It’s not difficult to see why. It’s rare to meet anyone who isn’t impressed by the DB7′s lithe yet discrete, and even with the roof lopped off in the Volante version it makes many other cars look clumsy. It also has the right image. Rivals like the Jaguar XKR convertible may offer similar performance (even, given that Ford owns both Jaguar and Aston Martin, some common parts), but Aston Martin has far more cachet than its rival marque from Coventry. Even Ferrari struggles to match the prestige and exclusivity associated with Aston. The company may now be under the ultimate control of Ford, but Aston Martin remains a quintessentially English marque and is proud of its heritage. So if you crave exclusivity, style and class (and have the necessary funds) the DB7 is likely to appeal – but if you’re after a real driver’s car then you might want to look at the Italian alternative.
It turns heads for the right reasons. Unlike brasher supercars or more showy sports cars, the DB7 oozes class, its unmistakable style marking you out as someone with exquisite taste. The big 6.0-litre V12, when mated to the smooth five-speed automatic transmission, makes the DB7 a relaxed cruiser, with the potential to turn into a very fast cross country machine should you chance upon a clear country road. Being an Aston Martin, the specification is infinitely variable to your exact requirements. If you want the paint colour to match your favourite jumper you can have it, and interior trim and specification can also be tailored to suit your preferences – the only limiting factors being your imagination and the health of your bank balance.
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