Left hand drive 2000 Aston Martin SWB Vantage Volante Special Edition Registration no. German Registered Chassis no. SCFDAM2C3YBL71006 Engine no. 590/R/71006/M
Due to some considerable early success and a great number of customer requests, the Special Projects Team at Aston Martin's Works Service facility began a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of building the ultimate convertible Aston Martin. This was to become the Supercharged V8 Vantage Volante Special Edition. Under the direction and guidance of Works Service Director Kingsley Riding-Felce, the Special Projects Team had become synonymous with the development and building of many significant coachbuilt Aston Martin and Lagonda models for discerning owners around the world. A great deal of research was carried out and the business decision made to manufacture nine 'last of the line' Vantage Volantes to a unique specification.
The Volante convertible version of the Virage coupé had first appeared in 1992 and in 1998 was re-engineered along V8 Coupé lines with a wheelbase longer by 200mm (8"). By this time 233 of the original Volantes had been sold and Aston Martin would go on to complete a further 63 of the revised, long-wheelbase model before production ended in 2000. There had never been a convertible variant of the Vantage before the creation of this very special limited edition run of just nine cars, one of which would be built to former long-wheelbase Volante specification while the remaining eight would all become 'SWB' Vantage Volantes on the Vantage coupé's shorter wheelbase. Of these, three were built to European left-hand drive specification and five were UK right-hand drive.
'Brutal' was a word used more than once to described the fastest Aston Martin ever on its introduction in 1992, but as the Vantage had no less than 550bhp available to propel its two tons, the choice can only be judged fair comment. The Vantage was based on the normally aspirated Virage coupé. A consummate fast tourer, the Virage left room at the top of the range for an out-and-out sports car, hence the Vantage. Although the two models appear superficially similar, few panels are shared, and beneath the skin the Vantage chassis boasted the kind of extensive re-engineering required to cope with the massive increase in performance. The latter came courtesy of a blown version of Aston's 5,340cc V8, twin mechanically driven Eaton superchargers being preferred to turbo-charging on the grounds of superior throttle response. Quite apart from its stupendous maximum output, remarkable enough in itself, the engine was monstrously torquey, producing 550lb/ft at 4,000rpm, a figure that made even the mighty Chrysler Viper V10's 450lb/ft seem puny by way of comparison and the ZF manual gearbox's six-speeds an unnecessary luxury.
On test with Autocar magazine, a development Vantage raced to 60mph in a Ferrari 512TR-destroying 4.6 seconds, reaching the 'ton' just 5.5 seconds later. Autocar summed up the Vantage as, 'a real Aston Martin; a big, very beautiful, very fast, albeit expensive GT with so much appeal and purpose behind it that it is more an experience than it is mere transport.'
The special Vantage Volante project encompassed all the development, skill and expertise amassed in the creation of Aston Martin's V8 product range spanning 30 years, and these special Works Service versions were fully homologated and type-approved. This programme was the pinnacle of a special era of hand-built Newport Pagnell cars unlikely to be repeated again. Such was the enthusiasm and dedication of the owners, that the Works Service team built each car to a different specification, a situation not unlike that of the 19 DB4GT Zagatos built in the 1960s. Some incorporated the limited edition Vantage Le Mans Coupé features while others added items of their own or elected to have the engine performance upgraded to 600bhp after the car had been registered. Because these eight Aston Martins were built as the last of the line, their assembly was with unsurpassed care and a passion that has become synonymous with Aston Martin over the years.
A limited edition of special chassis numbers was allocated to the cars and a certificate was produced and personally signed by Robert A Dover, the Chairman of the company at that time. Each owner's handbook was specially written for each car to incorporate its unique individual characteristics. In addition a special limited edition brochure was produced and the whole of the manufacturing process for each car was photographed and placed into an album to record for prosperity that special moment in the company's history.
From the time of the original release of the eight V8 Vantage Volante Special Edition Aston Martins, these cars have rarely become available for sale. Delivered new to first owner, a German businessman and avid Aston enthusiast, left-hand drive chassis number '71006' retains its original livery of Cumberland Grey metallic paintwork and is trimmed in Smoke Green hide with dark walnut veneers, suede green headlining, green tonneau and dark brown hood. Lavishly equipped in the very best Aston Martin tradition, '71006' features the six-speed manual transmission, electrically adjustable heated seats, Becker Traffic Pro stereo system, tinted glass, power mirrors, automatic climate control, car 'phone, electric windows, alarm system and alloy wheels. The car also carries an engraved commemorative plaque bearing the legend: 'Aston Martin Works Coachbuilt V8 Vantage Volante Special Edition'.
The accompanying stamped service booklet shows that the first service was carried out by Emil Frey AG Autocenter in Safenwil, Switzerland. There are five further entries, the last stamped by Aston Martin agents Autohaus Kronberg in April 2011 at 10,366 kilometres.
Purchased by the current owner in London in July 2003 (at 7,140 kilometres), the car comes with the purchase invoice and full service history relating to the vendor's ten-year period of ownership. This consists of the aforementioned service booklet and bills issued by Autohaus Kronberg, which record the odometer reading rising from 9,579 kilometres in September 2005 to 10,649 in September 2012, a distance of only 1,070 kilometres (approximately 664 miles) in seven years. The current odometer reading is 10,650 kilometres (approximately 6,600 miles). Further documentation consists of the manufacturer's EEC Certificate of Conformity, Certificate of Origin and original supply details, expert's valuation report (December 2009) and current German registration papers.
This unique and rare Aston Martin is available for purchase with minimal mileage and in the condition one would expect given its relatively limited use and documented ongoing maintenance. This may be the only opportunity to purchase one of these very special and unrepeatable motor cars, perhaps for very many years to come.