The DB7 was given to Aston Martin by then-parent Ford after Jaguar turned it down as replacement for the XJ-S. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Vantage shows what a mistake that may have been on Jaguar’s part. Let’s see if its price might be just as erroneous.
It has long been averred that if you’re not planning on going big then you most certainly should plan to simply go home. Yesterday’s 2006 Infiniti QX56 was about as big as you could go. That was a good thing seeing as its modest but obvious modifications might have been in violation of many homeowners’ association aesthetic standards. The nose wrap, wheels and interior lights that made the QX unique may have made it unsuitable for mass consumption, but an enticing $5,900 price proved able to surmount that and it ended up with a narrow but solid 54 percent Nice Price win.
Let me ask you: what in your mind are the attributes that define an exotic car? Do they include a powerful and sonorous V12 engine? How about a transmission that lets you do some of the work? Finally, should those upper-crust mechanicals be wrapped in the sexiest body this side of Emily Rajat… ? Ratjako… ? Raktatjo… ? Oh hell, you know who I’m talking about.
This 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante possesses all of the major totems of exotic-dom and for good measure piles even more on top.
Let’s start with that V12 engine. Yes, it’s true that the production Aston V12 was based on an engine Ford had cobbled together from a pair of lowly Duratec V6s for a one-off show car. However, from those inauspicious beginnings grew a mill that would single-handedly spark Aston Martin’s emergence from boutique auto maker to series producer.
Hand built in Cologne, Germany, the naturally aspirated 6 litre V12 offered up 420 horsepower and 399 lb-ft of torque when dropped into the DB7. Amazingly for an engine with this sort of displacement and number of moving parts, those peaks are both only had above 5,000 rpm. In this Vantage that engine has been paired with a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual and three-pedal footwell for full driver engagement.
The dealer offering the car claims it to be “one of one.” That’s based on its special order Regent Gray Metallic paint which has been matched with an obsidian and magnolia Connolly leather interior. On top of that the car is fitted with a dealer-installed but factory denoted GT package. That includes a mesh grille up front, bigger brakes under the ten-spoke alloys, a slightly massaged suspension, and a throatier exhaust. Those are all good things.
Also good is this DB7’s appearance. The fighter plane gray paint looks damn-near perfect in the pics and the bodywork underneath that is still sexy enough to make you forget that the car’s tail lights come from a lowly Mazda 323.
The interior presents in equal fashion, with carbon fiber trim on the console and Wilton wool floor mats that will make you want to exclusively drive barefoot. Again, there are a lot of adopted parts in here, this time mostly all of them from Ford. That company of course, was Aston Martin’s sugar daddy at the time of the DB7’s reign. Those cheap seats parts are most obvious in the cheesy HVAC controls which are not befitting a car that once carried an MSRP on the ugly side of two-hundred grand. Still, all those Ford knobs and switches should be easy to source should anything go tits-up down the road.
Speaking of down the road, this Aston has but 36,000 miles on the clock. Obviously if you can afford to own such a car you can afford to have Uber or someone else drive you around so you don’t wear down your investment. For those actually interested in using this DB7 for its intended purpose, the 30K service is said to have been completed so it’s ready to rock.
This being a Volante indicates that it’s a convertible, and the black canvas top is shown in both up and stowed positions in the ad. There’s nothing amiss there either and when down it gets covered in a nice leather tonneau that matches the interior. I think my favorite aspect of the car however, is the boot lid-mounted Aston Martin umbrella. If this car were any closer to me I’d sneak over there and five-finger that. A clean title seals the deal on this DB.
Okay, at the outset I asked you to weigh in on what you think constitutes an exotic car, and we went through a few of the standard indicators. This Aston Martin checks all those boxes, but there’s one more that—at this age at least—it may not. I think that for a car to be considered an exotic it needs to be exclusive and by definition that means expensive. This DB7 once was expensive, originally going out the door well bucket deep into six figures. Now, at $39,979 it’s at least not eye-blisteringly so. I mean, you could get a nice Toyota Avalon for that much. Sure, the Avalon will run forever and will cart you and your friends to the golf course and Olive Garden without complaint, but there’s seriously nothing—and I mean nothing—exotic about it.
This Aston Martin is as exotic as a South Pacific vacation rash but twice as fun to have. It’s also a car that will some day reverse its downward value trend. Wouldn’t you like to be there when it does?
The big question of course is whether this uniquely kitted DB7 is worth that $39,979 asking right now. What do you think, could this sexy exotic command that much? Or, is that price a distinct disad-vantage?
eBay out of Atlanta, GA, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Jason B for the hookup!
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