Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was hailed at its 1977 introduction as "Britain's First Supercar" for its 170 mph (270 km/h) top speed. Its engine was shared with the Lagonda, but it used high-performance camshafts, increased compression ratio, larger inlet valves and bigger carburettors mounted on new manifolds for increased output. Straight-line performance was the best of the day, with acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, one-tenth of a second quicker than the Ferrari Daytona.

The Vantage name had previously been used on a number of high-performance versions of Aston Martin cars, but this was a separate model. Although based on the Aston Martin V8, numerous detail changes added up to a unique driving experience. One of the most noticeable features was the closed-off hood bulge rather than the open scoop found on the normal V8. The grille area was also closed off, with twin driving lights inserted and a spoiler added to the bootlid.

The Oscar India, introduced in 1978, featured an integrated tea-tray spoiler and smoother bonnet bulge. Inside, wood replaced some of the vinyl padding giving a more luxurious appearance. This line was produced, with some changes, until 1990.

The 1986–1989 580X V8 Vantage was more of a mechanical update. 16-inch (406-mm) wheels were now fitted, as was the more powerful V8 from the limited-edition V8 Zagato.

Cosmetic Vantages were built for the United States market – they lacked the powerful Vantage engine but retained the Vantage name, and the look was changed with a flattened hood. From 1980 they featured DOT-approved 5 mph (8 km/h) safety bumpers front and rear.

A Vantage Volante convertible version was also produced.

James Bond

James Bond's car (registered on 18 March 1985 as B549 WUU; last on the road 1 July 2006) in the 1987 film The Living Daylights.

At the beginning of the film, the car is a V8 Volante (convertible). The car used in these scenes was a Volante owned by Aston Martin Lagonda chairman, Victor Gauntlett. Later, the car is fitted with a hardtop ("winterised") at Q Branch, and these scenes feature a pair of non-Vantage V8 saloons, fitted with the same number plate as the initial car, but with Vantage badges now fitted. Clearly, the later cars are intended to be the same Volante.


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