Why now is the right time to buy a classic Aston
Here’s a headline-grabber for you: it’s now possible to buy a classic Aston Martin DB7 for less than £20,000. Nearly 25 years on from its launch, you could own this beautiful game-changer for less than the price of a new Ford Focus. Tempted? You’re not alone – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are inevitably some things you need to be aware of…
Obviously, buying a classic Aston isn’t like buying a secondhand Ford. This is a hand-built luxury GT which, today, can commonly suffer body and chassis corrosion. Engines and gearboxes need care and attention. Even fixing the air con is complex: you have to take the dashboard out.
So where do you start? By first choosing which engine you want. Earlier cars had a 335bhp supercharged 3.2-litre Jaguar straight six. Later cars had a 420bhp normally aspirated 5.9-litre V12. Pick up a clean, historied 3.2 from £30k, or a V12 from £40k. Note, the DB7 was renamed when the 5.9 arrived: DB7 Vantage. Not to be confused with the DB7 Volante – that’s the convertible version, which arrived in 1996.
The most collectable of all DB7s is the 2002 DB7 Vantage GT. Power was upped to 435bhp, styling was sharpened and, today, prices start from around £50,000. For a sure-fire collector’s special, that’s not hard to justify to collectors, as expert Matt Franklin from McGurk Performance Cars confirms.
“Prices of the rarer manual cars are rising,” he also reveals, although he does advise buyers are wary of anything with more than 100,000 miles on the clock. But “you can buy a good one for less than £30,000,” provided you do your homework. So what should you look for?
The V12 needs a thorough checking-over. Make sure it isn’t misfiring, that it has had an upgraded cooling system, and that it runs smoothly at low speed. With the 3.2, look for leaks, that the supercharger whine isn’t too loud and that the timing chain isn’t rattling.
Worn suspension bushes are common – listen for clonks on the move – and cars that haven’t had expensive wheel alignment will pull to the left under braking. As for brakes, the V12’s are brilliant, but expensive to replace. As mentioned, so is fixing the air con system, while even a broken electric window can raise a £1,500 bill for new motor and regulator.
As for rust, peer at both ends of the body side sills, near the wheelarches. The floor can rust, usually around the footwells, and it can also crop up behind the front dampers and on top of the front suspension mounts.
Get a good one that passes all these checks, though, and you’ve a sure-fire investment whose prices surely can only go one way.
Used Aston Martin DB7 price guide
£19k-£25k: Early 3.2 coupes
£25k-£28k: 5.9 V12s, low-mileage 3.2s
£28k-£33k: The pick of the 3.2 coupes
£33k-£37k: The pick of the 5.9 coupes, early 3.2 Volantes
£37k-£46k: The best of the best