Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage

The Vantage name has served Aston Martin for seven decades. We look back at its varied history in the British marque’s range

  • Happy birthday Vantage

    Happy birthday Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    2020 marks the 70th anniversary of one of Aston Martin’s most famous model lines. ‘Vantage’ started life as an equipment specification and eventually became a car in its own right. Here, we celebrate the pivotal role it’s played in Aston Martin’s history.

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  • Vantage through the ages

    Vantage through the ages

    © Aston Martin

    Aston Martin’s history is shot through with Vantages. More than 36,000 cars have sported the name over seven decades.

  • Aston Martin DB2 with Vantage Specification

    Aston Martin DB2 with Vantage Specification

    © Aston Martin

    Vantage started life as an option box DB2 buyers could tick. From day one, it was associated with performance. Vantage Specification in historic Astons means an uprated engine.

  • DB2 Vantage: Le Mans-proven power

    DB2 Vantage: Le Mans-proven power

    © Aston Martin

    In the case of the DB2, that meant SU HV6 carburettors and 8:16:1 compression. This upped the 2.6-litre Lagonda engine’s power by around 20hp, to more than 125hp. A 1951 press release said: ‘On the 1951 Earl’s Court stand will be displayed two DB.II saloons, one fitted with the Vantage engine. The high-speed regularity of which was demonstrated so forcibly at Le Mans this year and last’.

  • Aston Martin DB4 Vantage

    Aston Martin DB4 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    The next of the DBs to get the Vantage treatment was the DB4. Vantage spec gave it uprated carburettors, revised heads, bigger valves and more compression. It shows its Vantage-ness on the outside, too. The DB4 Vantage wears the fared-in headlights of the GT racer, as well as bright aluminium trim.

  • DB4 Vantage: Ad-vantage Mr Bond

    DB4 Vantage: Ad-vantage Mr Bond

    © Aston Martin

    Some of the ‘DB5’ shots in Goldfinger, the famous first flirtation between Aston Martin and James Bond, were actually with DB4s. Specifically, a later DB4 Series V Vantage, referred to by Aston as ‘effectively a prototype DB5’. The DB4 was the basis for the ‘gadget car’.

  • Aston Martin DB5 Vantage

    Aston Martin DB5 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    By now, the Vantage was established as a high-performance variant. So the DB5 was sure to get one. Its triple Weber 4.0-litre engine is good for 330hp – 40hp more than the standard car. However, the Vantage-spec DB5 was much less popular than its predecessors. Just 68 of the saloons were specified as such, and eight convertibles.

  • DB5 Vantage: ‘Rapid acceleration, higher speeds ensured’

    DB5 Vantage: ‘Rapid acceleration, higher speeds ensured’

    © Aston Martin

    Over the years, though, Vantage Specification has become a popular modification for DB5s. The actual badging began with the DB5, too. Speaking of the DB5 at the 1965 Geneva Motor Show, an Aston press release reads: ‘with this extra power, more rapid acceleration and higher average speeds are ensured’.

  • Aston Martin DB6 Vantage

    Aston Martin DB6 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    The formula is now set, and the more spacious DB6 Vantage got similar upgrades. It even retained its DB5 Vantage predecessor’s 330hp output. These, like the DB5, are also rare and desirable.

  • Aston Martin DBS Vantage

    Aston Martin DBS Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    Towards the end of the 1960s, change was on the way for Aston. The arrival of the DBS added William Towns-penned muscle car looks to a previously curvaceous range. When it came to upgrading the model’s straight-six engine, Vantage Specification introduced more aggressive camshafts.

  • AM Vantage

    AM Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    Then, in 1972, Vantage evolved, pushing DBS aside to be a new model, rather than a trim level. Oddly, though, the AM Vantage was the least potent model Aston offered.

  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    Then came the V8 Vantage, the name we all know. ‘Britain’s first supercar’ debuted in 1977, with a top speed of 170mph, plus Ferrari-beating acceleration. High-performance cams, increased compression, larger valves and bigger carbs gave the Lagonda V8 more muscle. Vantage was back!

  • AM V8 – ‘a true British bruiser’

    AM V8 – ‘a true British bruiser’

    © Aston Martin

    Indeed, car magazines had the V8 Vantage giving the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari 512 BB and Porsche 911 Turbo a bloody nose. While 380hp is what they are understood to have made today, back then Aston simply said power was ‘adequate’.

  • V8 Vantage – Embracing aero, re-introducing Zagato

    V8 Vantage – Embracing aero, re-introducing Zagato

    © Aston Martin

    Such was the V8 Vantage’s performance, much of its design was dictated by aerodynamics. An air dam, large spoiler and blanked-off grille are trademarks of Aston’s original muscle car. Towards the end of its reign, Zagato got hold of it for a re-body and weight-loss programme, with one eye on the racetrack.

  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage Supercharged

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage Supercharged

    © Aston Martin

    The 1990s saw Aston take the V8 Vantage’s status as Britain’s supercar to an all-new level. What became known as the Supercharged Vantage featured a twin-supercharged V8 with over 550hp. In 1993!

  • Supercharged Vantage – the ‘brute in a suit’

    Supercharged Vantage – the ‘brute in a suit’

    © Aston Martin

    It needed the power, though. At 1,990kg, the Vantage was no featherweight, but 362mm disc brakes with four-piston AP Racing calipers helped slow it down. They were the biggest brakes of any road car at the time.

  • V8 Vantage V600 Le Mans

    V8 Vantage V600 Le Mans

    © Aston Martin

    The supercharged Vantage moved through V600 and Le Mans special editions, bumping up power and improving handling. Just 40 V600 Le Mans models were made, with lightweight wheels, plus revised suspension and gearing. Not to mention over 600hp. There were 40 cars to match the 40 years (in 1999) since Aston’s 1959 Le Mans win. What some refer to as the last truly hand-built Aston Martin went out of production in 2000.

  • Aston Martin Project Vantage

    Aston Martin Project Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    Vantage as a model disappeared, effectively replaced by the Vanquish. But Project Vantage previewed the coming 20 years of curvaceous V12 (and V8) powered sports coupes in 1998.

  • Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage

    Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    While Vantage as a model line died in 2000, Vantage as a specification had been reintroduced a year before. It was a return to the Vantage name’s origins, but up to the next level. Instead of fettling the DB7’s straight-six, Aston dropped in a new 6.0-litre V12. With just over 420hp, this engine had a way to go before it reached its 600hp+ final form.

  • Aston Martin AMV8 Concept

    Aston Martin AMV8 Concept

    © Aston Martin

    In 2003, with the successful introduction of the DB9 as an Aston Martin of the new millennium, the firm turned its attention to the Vantage model line once again. Unlike the brutes of the 1990s, the AMV8 Concept of 2003 previewed a sinewy entry-level sports car.

  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    Then, in 2005, based on the ‘VH’ architecture of the DB9, the V8 Vantage was revealed. It was almost identical to the beautiful AMV8 that previewed it, and there wasn’t a supercharger in sight. With a revvy 4.3-litre 380hp+ V8, plus a kerb weight of just 1,570kg, the car was now an athlete. A soft-top Roadster followed in 2007.

  • Aston Martin Vantage – 4.7 V8 and V12

    Aston Martin Vantage – 4.7 V8 and V12

    © Aston Martin

    Aston didn’t stop there, though. Many variants of the Vantage came out, including a boost in engine size to 4.7 litres for over 420hp. There were also race versions and the Vantage RS Concept, which previewed a V12 model. While the Concept packed 600hp, the production car ‘made do’ with a 510hp V12, courtesy of the flagship DBS. That made for a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds, plus a top speed of 190mph.

  • V12 Vantage Zagato and V12 Vantage S

    V12 Vantage Zagato and V12 Vantage S

    © Aston Martin

    The Zagato-styled V12 Zagato arrived in 2012. Just a handful were made, and it was raced at the Nurburgring 24 hours. Then followed the V12 Vantage S, which upped power to nearly 570hp, reducing the 0-62mph time to under four seconds. Although paddle-shift to begin with, a seven-speed ‘dog-leg’ manual was reintroduced in 2017. That transmission lives on in the new Vantage.

  • GT12 and GT8

    GT12 and GT8

    © Aston Martin

    But before that, the ‘VH’ V8 Vantage had to go out with a bang. And boy did it! Enter the GT12 and GT8. The former packs a 600hp version of the mighty V12, while the GT8 upped the V8’s muscle to nearly 450hp. Both were significantly widened, while their chassis were tuned and their bodies draped in carbon fibre. A one-off roadster version of the GT12 was also created.

  • V600

    V600

    © Aston Martin

    Wings, bright colours and carbon fibre. It’s all rather garish, given we often think of Aston Martin as cool, sleek and svelte. So the last VH Vantage couldn’t be the GT8 or GT12. Happily, the re-bodied, ultra-limited V600 sent the car off in style. And like the Le Mans of 1999, the V600 had 600hp, courtesy of the GT12’s hopped-up V12.

  • Le Mans winner

    Le Mans winner

    © Aston Martin

    The VH Vantage has racing provenance too. After campaigning Vantages at Le Mans for four years, the marque got its GTE win in 2017, right at the end of the car’s racing life. Now that is a sendoff.

  • The new Aston Martin Vantage

    The new Aston Martin Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    In 2018, Aston Martin revealed the eagerly-anticipated new Vantage. Aston CEO Andy Palmer called the new car “a true sports car with a sharper look and a keener dynamic edge. The new Vantage is the Aston Martin pure driving machine enthusiasts have been waiting for”. Power comes courtesy of a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with over 500hp, giving the new Vantage a top speed of 195mph and a 0-62mph time under four seconds.

  • Vantage AMR and manual gearbox

    Vantage AMR and manual gearbox

    © Aston Martin

    While that sounds great, and indeed the new Vantage looks aggressive and driver-focused, it was missing one thing: a manual gearbox. The ultra-limited Vantage AMR debuted a seven-speed manual ’box. Now, all new Vantages can now be optioned with it.

  • Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

    Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

    © Aston Martin

    The new Vantage Roadster debuts in this, the Vantage name’s 70th year. If you’re not quite into the Vulcan-aping mesh-lined mouth of the new Vantage, fear not. The Roadster brings the option of a more traditional grille and less aggressive look. We like it very much.

  • Aston Martin V12 Speedster

    Aston Martin V12 Speedster

    © Aston Martin

    The Geneva period also saw the introduction of the new Aston Martin V12 Speedster. It joins the DB10 and Rapide as an Aston model that borrows heavily from the Vantage, without actually using the name. The former is the Bond car built on Vantage underpinnings. The latter uses the VH Vantage’s rear-end design. Does this mean we can expect a new V12 Vantage at some point? We hope so.

  • More Aston Martin Vantage photos

    More Aston Martin Vantage photos

    © Aston Martin

    Keep clicking for more photos of classic Aston Martin Vantages, as well as the new V8 Roadster.

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

       Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line

  • Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    Aston Martin Vantage at 70: in pictures

    © Aston Martin

     Celebrating 70 years of the Aston Martin Vantage line