﹒Finished in Islay Blue with Parchment and Burgundy trim
﹒Original and unspoilt example
In many respects, the DB7 is the last Aston Martin to emerge from the brand’s independent era, even though it was developed while Aston was under Ford ownership.
Codenamed Project XX, the DB7 was commissioned by Aston’s eccentric and charismatic CEO, the late Walter Hayes, who saw an opportunity to capitalise on a project that had been cancelled elsewhere within Ford-owned brands.
The new ‘Baby Aston’ evolved from the cancelled Jaguar F-Type sports car and was based on a heavily modified Jaguar XJ-S platform, with styling from Keith Helfet, who penned the Jaguar XJ220, and Ian Callum, who went on to be Jaguar’s global head of design.
It’s no surprise, then, that the DB7 is a stunning looking car, even if parts of it use components from other cars – the Jaguar XJ door mirrors, for example, or the taillights from a Mazda 323F. The door handles, incidentally, are also Mazda – from the Japanese market 323 Familia estate. Perhaps just stick to the XJ220 links then, shall we?
It was such a success that it inspired a rethink in Jaguar that resulted in the XK8, a car that’s built on similar principles, but by no means to the same standard as the affordable ‘baby’ Aston.
Between 1994 and 2004, the DB7 became the fastest-selling Aston Martin ever, though production was still carried out by hand at the brand’s Newport Pagnell ‘Works’.
This example is one of the very first – car number 147 off the line, finished in the spring of 1995 and first registered in July of that year in Norfolk.
DB7 number 147 was supplied new by the Stratton Motor Company of Long Stratton, Norfolk – a reputable Aston Martin and Lotus specialist that is still going strong today.
It changed hands twice between 1995 and 2001 and found its way to Worcester, where it was maintained by a specialist.
In 2001, the DB7 was bought by a Mr Wood who then kept it long-term, owning it for almost 20 years.
The DB7 is supplied with a current V5C and several bills and receipts backing up its low mileage, which saw the Aston regularly cover less than 1,000 miles a year during Mr Wood’s ownership.
The service book is stamped up until 40,717 miles in 2007 (the current mileage is just 48,474) and there are several hand-written receipts for servicing thereafter. The most recent service bill was in 2019 at 48,427 miles.
The book is stamped as follows:
28/06/95 – 76 miles – pre-delivery inspection, Stratton Motor Company, Norfolk
12/07/95 – 965 miles – Stratton Motor Company, Norfolk
11/12/95 – 3,359 miles – Stratton Motor Company, Norfolk
06/02/97 – 8,295 miles – Paramount Cars, Stourbridge
22/10/97 – 13,295 miles – Paramount Cars, Stourbridge
18/08/98 – 18,228 miles – Paramount Cars, Stourbridge
07/09/99 – 25,188 miles – Paramount Cars, Stourbridge
11/11/00 – 29,062 miles – PJ Evans, Birmingham
14/06/02 – 31,611 miles – PJ Evans Birmingham
19/09/07 – 40,717 miles – Defford Motors, Worcester
There are then a number of receipts from Defford Motors (which is listed in the Good Garage Guide) documenting regular servicing and general repairs and maintenance up to 2016, and a receipt from an independent specialist for a full service at 48,427 miles.
Also included are the original owners folder including handbook, dealer directory and a guide to Connolly Leather.
Finished in unusual Islay Blue, the pale metallic bodywork catches the light more boldly than some of the darker DB7 hues and really sets off the car’s curvaceous profile, which is an all-time classic shape.
It presents beautifully from all angles, with no major visible flaws. The original 12-spoke alloys are in excellent order, the paint retains a good shine and there are no dents or ripples down either flank.
Structurally, it is reportedly sound – repairs to both sills were carried out in 2014 by an independent specialist, meaning the one area where DB7s are known for problems has been professionally sorted.
There’s a real sense of occasion to the DB7’s cabin, which features parchment leather complemented by burgundy carpets and a matching dark red dash.
The interior is very well presented and is extremely rare – the pre-airbag models were only made for the first six months of production and the earlier steering wheels are much prettier and less cumbersome. Being colour-coded in Aubergine Red this is a particularly rare one.
The Connolly hide is in excellent condition with no obvious defects, the carpets are excellent and the walnut veneers in good order, while all the dials and gauges work as they should. There’s also a period correct Sony radio-cassette complete with Aston Martin logos on the tape flap – a prized item among DB7 collectors today.
We were able to drive the Aston over a very short distance and can report that it feels right – all gears engage as they should via the auto box and with very smooth take-up of drive, there are no untoward noises from the brakes, steering or suspension and it sits ‘right’.
The supercharged in-line six is a thing of beauty to look at and it sounds amazing, too. It holds good oil pressure and temperature and ran perfectly on test. It also has a Thatcham-approved Cobra alarm system to ensure it only gets started by those who are approved to do so…
The DB7’s time is now – for years, it was the ‘cheap’ Aston Martin, but collector interest in the model has really picked up over the past 12 months and examples such as this one are hot property. For starters, it’s one of the first of the breed. Aston Martin built around 7,500 DB7s, and this is car number 147 from the first year of production, with some of the rare early car features such as the 12-spoke alloys and pre-airbag steering wheel.
It’s also a genuine, low-mileage car from long-term cherished ownership, finished in a rare colour and wonderful to look at. Look after it and it’s a sure-fire future investment as well as a thoroughly enjoyable example of a modern thoroughbred classic.
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