Estimate: £22,000 - £26,000
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, as also Mazda – from the Japanese market 323 Familia estate. Perhaps just stick to the XJ220 links then, shall we?
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’.
Initially, DB7s all came with a supercharged inline six-cylinder engine, but at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show the V12-engined Vantage was revealed and soon became the mainstay of the range. Both manual and automatic models were offered with or without a roof, though manuals made up less than 10% of sales despite their increased performance and greater sense of drama.
This one is also unique in that it is finished in a one-off colour, commissioned by its original owner. The actual colour (should you need a cheap bottle of touch-up paint) is BMW Turkish Green (seen commonly on E36 3-Series and E39 5-Series models), but Aston developed its own – identical - shade with its own paint code to maintain a semblance of independence.
The DB7 has an astonishing service history, backed up by comprehensive collection of bills and history right back to Day One. It was registered on 4th July 2000 and was looked after by Aston Martin Works Service for the first six years of its life, with the book stamped as follows:
- Running in service @ Aston Martin Works 978 miles
It then passed to its second owner, who had it serviced independently at 58,193 and 62,976 miles.
Its third owner was a well-known and highly regarded Rolls-Royce and Bentley Specialist and it was one of the owner’s personal cars. It was serviced by his Rolls-Royce and Bentley-trained mechanics until he sold it to the current owner in late 2016. The book is further stamped by the Bentley specialist as follows:
- 26-6-15 mileage not noted
- 14-10-15 at 80,838 (service + suspension bushes)
- 22-12-15 at 81,258, where a further £5,000 was spent including full suspension strip down, new brakes, engine mounts, anti-roll bars, drive belt, strip down and underseal.
The car has since been serviced twice by an independent specialist at 82,500 and 83,575 miles. It had a new air con compressor and clutch in 2017 and in 2019 had all engine gaskets and breathers replaced and the front dampers swapped for genuine Aston Martin parts. In total, it has had 22 services in 20 years.
For a 20-year old Aston that has seen a fairly decent amount of use, this Vantage is in lovely condition. It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s in overall superb condition, with only a couple of touched-in stone chips to the Turkish Green paintwork to detract from the overall image.
The rear badge is a little warped and the rear lamp surrounds are a bit discoloured, but these really are the only detractions from a car that’s otherwise remarkably well-presented and clearly well-loved.
The alloy wheels are in great condition, offering a tantalising glimpse of those recently refurbished Aston Martin-branded callipers beneath, while it sports high quality Bridgestone rubber all-round.
Inside, the cabin is an alluring mix of pale cream and dark green leathers, offset by walnut veneers and thick green carpets, making this Aston a truly enjoyable place to be sat.
The seats have only the slightest of wear and are beautifully presented, while the DB7 also benefits from a period Becker Traffic Pro head unit with integrated sat nav – a massively expensive option back in 2000, especially as the head unit bears Aston Martin branding. Indeed, the radio itself is collectible and would probably command four figures if sold separately, even if it does lack functionality in a modern context.
There’s something really quite special about the cabin of this Aston, while the car itself gives a lasting impression of one that’s in excellent health and has enjoyed nothing but fanatical levels of care and dedication throughout its life, something that is reflected by the current owner, who has compiled a digital record of the car’s history and his experiences with it during his ownership.
Officially a 6.0-litre in Aston parlance, the DB7 Vantage is actually closer to being a 5.9 – the V12 essentially comprises two Ford 3.0 V6s melded together to form a V12. And while a Ford may seem a vast leap from an Aston, make no mistake, that V6 was formidable and engineered to the nth degree.
The V12 not only sounds glorious, but it also has a record of being one of the most reliable engines ever offered by Aston Martin. The DB7 Vantage was essentially the testbed for the V12 Vanquish that arrived the following year and elevated Aston Martin to true supercar territory.
But in real terms, the DB7 V12 Vantage doesn’t fall far short of a supercar itself. Quite apart from that beguiling soundtrack (and nothing sounds as good as 12 cylinders on full chat), in manual form it’s a rapid car with a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds and a top speed allegedly somewhere around 185mph.
The manual gear-change gives it a completely different character to the far more prevalent auto models as well, with a heavy clutch and heavy, short-throw gear-change giving it a butch and somewhat mechanical feel – to its credit rather than detriment. The clutch on this veicle is biting strong and reassuringly. The auto DB7s may be the easier cars to drive, but it’s the rare manual that feels like the true red-blooded sports car – and this one is a good one.
The DB7 is a car that’s on the cusp of realising its true collectability, and an example like this one has plenty of pedigree behind it.
It’s a manual – a rare thing and a hugely likeable one at that – and a V12 Vantage, making it about as desirable as a DB7 can get. Add in that beautiful cabin and you have a car that will never fail to satisfy from behind the wheel.
Then there’s the pedigree – it was ordered from the factory in a unique colour scheme and the story about Aston Martin matching and inventing its own paint colour code instead of just buying in the paint from BMW is a great tale to tell. It also makes the car unique – to the best of our knowledge there are no other Turkish Green DB7s in existence.
Buy it, appreciate it and enjoy it, but most of all look after it, as we can’t help but think this is a really good long-term investment proposition as well as a stunningly beautiful car.