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Aston Martin DB7 buying guide (1994-2003)

Aston Martin DB7 side profile Aston Martin DB7 interior Aston Martin DB7 engine If it hadn’t been for the DB7, Aston Martin would almost certainly be nothing more than a footnote in the motoring hall of fame by now. With just a handful of cars trickling out of the Newport Pagnell gates by the early 1990s, Aston Martin was a basket case that needed some serious investment: something new owner Ford was able to provide. Okay, so there were plenty of XJ-S parts under the DB7’s skin, but when the outer wrapping was as good as this, did anybody care? It didn’t seem so; the DB7 stole the show at the 1993 Geneva Salon.

The lithe, muscular shape was universally admired but, while everyone was rooting for Ford’s latest offshoot, those who tested the first cars felt the beauty was merely skin deep. It may have been an Aston but the ergonomics, build quality and braking all needed work.

As a result, the series 2 cars, unveiled for the 1997 model year in 1996, were a big improvement. However, while the firm created a car that was more worthy of the badge, it wasn’t until the V12-engined Vantage of 1999 that the DB7 finally came of age. Even then, it was only with the final incarnation, the GT, that the DB7 could really give its key rivals a run for their money dynamically.

Chiltern Aston is arguably the UK’s premier DB7 specialist, and Derek Campbell is their sales director. Says Derek: ‘There are two distinct types of buyer: those who want to use their car and those who want to mothball it. The first kind will typically want a late six-cylinder auto, while the latter choose an early six-cylinder manual or a GT.

‘Series 1 DB7s are more rewarding to drive and have a purer interior design than the series 2; those are the cars with airbags, comfier seats and softer damping, but more powerful brakes and headlights.’ Derek continues: ‘Although Volantes aren’t especially sought after, they still carry a 10% premium over the coupé. 

‘That leaves the run-out models, the GT and GTA. Because the GTA is essentially only a restyled Vantage, it isn’t worth a premium over the standard car. But with its Vanquish-spec V12, just 84 were made in right-hand drive form, and there’s not much chance of values going down a lot further.’

ENGINE

The six- and 12-cylinder powerplants are both strong, but they’re not vice-free. Being all-alloy units it’s essential that anti-freeze levels are maintained if they’re not to suffer from internal corrosion. Replacing the coolant every two years is advised; if this hasn’t been adhered to, the engine will overheat. Crucially, V12s use OAT anti-freeze and nothing else; if the system has been topped up with standard fluid, the two will have reacted and turned to jelly, wreaking havoc in the process.

The supercharger belt should have been replaced every 30,000 miles; it’ll snap if it isn’t renewed. That won’t cause any damage, however: you’ll just end up with the horsepower count being much reduced when you end up with a naturally aspirated straight-six.

The exhaust tends not to cause problems because it’s part-stainless and well protected underneath the car. However, six-cylinder manifolds can crack where they go from three into one; replacements cost £140 plus fitting, and there are two of them.

Six-cylinder DB7 buyers could choose between a five-speed manual Getrag gearbox or a four-ratio GM automatic; Vantage buyers were offered a six-speed Tremec manual or five-ratio ZF auto. All units are very strong and easily capable of transmitting the power without problems, but still do the usual checks for intact synchro on the manual and smooth changes on the auto.

Differentials need to have their oil renewed every 30,000 miles; if this hasn’t been done, wear will have occurred. It’s hard to spot, though, because all DB7 axles whine to a degree. Rebuilt units are available off the shelf, with the total replacement cost a very reasonable £1100 or so.

SUSPENSION, STEERING AND BRAKES

Although the suspension isn’t renowned for giving problems, it is of paramount importance that the geometry at the front is spot-on. If it isn’t, the tyres will wear unevenly, perhaps to the point where the inside edges are worn through. Turn the wheels to check.

Cars with the Driving Dynamics package are highly sought after, carrying a 20-25% premium as long as they have everything installed. This package allowed owners to pick and mix between brake, suspension, wheel and bodywork upgrades; but most chose to buy one or two bits rather than the whole lot. The kit used to cost £15,000, but it’s now available off the shelf for around a third less; choosing the chassis improvements alone is money well spent.

Although the DB7’s brakes are not a weak spot as such, they could be stronger. If the car is driven really hard, it can lead to overheated brakes and warped discs. The juddering will be obvious. The cure is fresh discs and pads, at £83 and £137 respectively (£199 and £187 for the Vantage).

DB7s were fitted with 8x18in alloy wheels as standard, with 9x18in rims on the rear of the V12. The wheels can distort if the car has been driven quickly on poorly surfaced roads, because the inside of the rim isn’t supported adequately. The wider rear wheels of the Vantage are even more prone to distortion, and they’re even more costly at £447 each; the six-cylinder car’s wheels are £376 apiece. If the optional three-piece Aliseo alloys have been fitted, make sure the lacquer is intact, because it often isn’t.

When it comes to tyres, pressures and brands make a big difference to wear rates and handling. It’s best to stick to the Bridgestone Expedias (S01 on DB7 and S02 on Vantage) originally specified by the factory; they suit the DB7’s chassis better than anything else available.

BODYWORK

Serious rust isn’t an issue for any DB7 that’s been properly cared for, although there are a few areas underneath that can suffer from minor corrosion. You need to check the jacking points, radius arm mountings and front bulkhead, as these will be the first areas to succumb. The scuttle and air-conditioning drain tubes also get blocked, leading to water collecting in the double-skinned bulkhead. This then makes a bid for freedom by eating away the metal; by the time the problem is noticeable, it’s too late as it’s an MoT failure point. Putting everything right means removing the dash and engine (or at least the cylinder head), at a cost of between £2000 and £4000.

Although corrosion can be an issue, it’s crash damage that you really need to be on the look-out for. Your first port of call must be HPI (+44 (0)1722 422422), to check the car’s history. If everything comes up okay, you still need to be vigilant for poorly repaired damage.

Front-end impacts are common. If the car’s nose has been crunched, the chassis rails under the engine may be distorted, along with the subframe that carries the engine. Once this subframe has deformed, uneven tyre wear and odd handling traits will be evident, so be wary if the car has a fresh set of boots.

Panel gaps are usually tight and even, although some early DB7s weren’t that great. However, if you’re buying a later car you can expect a much better fit and finish. Again, it’s the front of the vehicle that you need to inspect the most closely, especially the bonnet and wing gaps. If it looks as though the composite wings, boot lid and bonnet are suffering from rust bubbles, it’s actually because the panels have been inexpertly repaired – although the bonnet was made of steel from the 1997 model year. New panels are the only long-lasting cure, with wings £470 apiece while a bonnet is £1700 and a boot lid is £1000. Bear in mind that all these prices are for the parts alone; you’ll need to add painting and fitting.

In the car’s history, see if it has been given a new windscreen at any point. If so, the plastic scuttle trim may have been incorrectly refitted; it often is, leading to water getting into the cabin. Once this happens, the carpet can rot, along with the floorpans. Also, the two ventilation fans can be ruined: they’re £620 new (£375 exchange) each.

ELECTRICS AND TRIM

A Cobra alarm was fitted to early cars, but from the 1997 model year there was a factory-developed system installed. This has a remote operation for the door and boot locks, but it’s easy to press the latter by mistake. The boot lid then opens only fractionally and it’s often unnoticed – but the luggage bay light comes on and the battery goes flat, stranding the car. Don’t dismiss a damaged headlamp on a six-cylinder car, because these units are now obsolete. The only cure is to replace both lights with the V12 version, and they’re £871 each.

Also don’t ignore a non-functioning air-conditioning system, either. It may simply need a £100 recharge but more likely the evaporator needs renewing; at £400 the part isn’t too costly but it takes two days to do the job and suddenly the bill leaps to £3000. Part of the problem lies in the way DB7s are used – occasional driving is bad news for any air-con system.

All DB7s featured leather trim as standard; it isn’t especially durable so make sure there’s no serious wear. The trim should have been treated every year or two as preventative maintenance to stop the hide deteriorating; if this hasn’t been done, there may be cracking and possibly even splits. Also likely are broken seat catches: they’re plastic and easily damaged. But they’re also easily replaced, with fresh ones costing only £4 each. If you’re buying a Volante you need to cast an eye over the roof because problems can arise. The hood iron bolts in the rear quarters are provided with rubber covers to protect the fabric; these sometimes disappear, allowing the frame to create holes in the roof. The only permanent fix involves letting in fresh material – something that has to be done by a soft-top specialist.

CONCLUSION

The original six-cylinder DB7 is rarer than you might think, with just 2461 examples built, including 885 Volantes. The Vantage is more common, with 4100 produced, around half of which were drop-tops.

There are open or closed cars, six-cylinder or V12 models and manuals or autos – in any combination. Whatever you buy, you must ensure it has a full service history: the car should have received attention every 7500 miles or six months according to the factory. However, because most models cover few miles each year, an annual service is usually sufficient. The key ones to watch for are at 30,000-mile intervals for six-cylinder cars and 45,000 miles for the V12.

You’ll pay a premium for buying from a dealer or specialist, but it’s usually worth it. If you take the private route, have an inspection of the car done; since the DB7 went out of production, many parts costs have been slashed yet others have increased massively. But then, if you do your homework before buying, you’re not going to have to buy too many spares – as long as you use the car regularly. Which shouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

TIMELINE

1993: DB7 makes debut at Geneva
1994: First customer cars delivered
1996: Volante launched
1999: V12 Vantage replaces six-pot DB7
2002: Run-out DB7 on sale (GT, GTA); Zagato launched (delivered 2003)
2003: Zagato Vantage Volante, DB AR1, unveiled; 99 made. Final DB7s built.

Thanks to Derek Campbell of Chiltern Aston.

Words: Richard Dredge
Aston Martin DB7 side profile Aston Martin DB7 interior Aston Martin DB7 engine
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Aston Martin DB7 cars for sale

19 Search results
Aston Martin DB7
15950 71060 GBP
  • Building on the successful platform of the DB7 Vantage, the GTA offered the 420bhp 6.0 V12 with the 5 speed Touchtronic transmission mated to the driving dynamics of the more focused GT. Larger, more powerful brakes along with stiffer springs and dampers kept the chassis in check, whilst aerodynamic upgrades not only helped airflow, but also styling. In the rarefied world of Aston Martin, the DB7 GTA is one of the most exclusive with just 112 cars ever built by the factory in Bloxham, and we are pleased to present here one of the finest. Finished in Tungsten Silver with Light Grey & Pacific Blue interior and Black Oak veneers, this stunning 21,000 mile example is fitted with 19” alloy wheels, Becker Traffic-Pro satellite navigation, Premium Audio System, powerfold door mirrors and heated front screen. A comprehensive service and MOT history accompanies the car that was last owned by a true enthusiast and collector of the marque. Offered for sale with a service to schedule, 12 months warranty and roadside assistance as well as our detailed inspection carried out by one of our Heritage Technicians. This car warrants your attention and is available to view at our showroom in West Lond

    • Year: 2004

    Last update: 3 Days Old

    • Mileage: 21200 mi

    For sale
  • Nicholas Mee
    020 8741 8822
    see details
  • Metallic British racing green with magnolia hide. Specification includes: 18” alloy wheels, climate control, heated electric seats, green piping and heated front screen. Surely one of the prettiest Aston Martins of the modern era and representing fabulous value for money, the DB7 has now reached modern-classic status and this particular example supplied new by JCT 600 of Bradford really does belie its mileage. It benefits from a comprehensive service history with 17 stamps in the service book along with many receipts and invoices from Aston Martin main dealers & well known marque specialists. Most recently, this example benefitted from a new stainless steel exhaust system, gearbox rebuild and aircon re-gas and will come fully serviced by ourselves prior to sale. The paintwork is in good order, the alloy wheels clean & tidy with a good set of tyres. The car drives very well, and offers Aston Martin ownership at a very low entry cost with the added reassurance that the previous owner has spared no expense on their prized possession.

    • Year: 1995

    Last update: 4 Days Old

    • Mileage: 117660 mi

    For sale
  • Hilton & Moss
    01279 813907
    see details
  • Aston Martin DB7 5.9 V12 Vantage 5 Speed Automatic registered June 2002 and finished in Grigio Titanio Silver, 18 Inch 10 Spoke Alloy Wheels, All New Avon Tyres All Round, Charcoal and Grey Leather with Walnut Dash and Trim, Electric Heated Front Seats with Lumbar Control, Xenon Headlamps, Climate Control, Push Button Start, Electric Windows and Door Mirrors, Alcantara Headlining, Leather and Walnut Steering Wheel with Tilt and Reach Adjustment, Becker Radio and Cassette Player with 6 CD Changer, Front Fogs Lamps, Rear Windscreen Integrated Demister, Traction Control, Remote Alarm and Engine Immobiliser, Service History at Reg Vardy on 04/07/02 at 1,120; 14/01/03 at 5,582; 27/06/03 at 9,032; 21/10/03 at 9,258; 09/05/05 at 14,985; 16/12/05 at 16,585, Grange 03/08/06 at 17,993; 16/02/07 at 21,595; 01/11/07 at 23,254; 15/05/08 at 26,185; 01/06/09 at 28,561; 24/05/10 at 31,436, Darymple North Berwick on 30/06/11 at 37,909 and 29/05/13 at 41,877. Finance available on request - subject to status. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; 12 Months MOT; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Year: 2002

    Last update: 4 Days Old
    For sale
  • Targa Florio
    01243 641117
    see details
  • By the end of its production in 2004, the DB7 had become the most successful model in Aston Martin’s history. With just over 7,000 cars built over a 10 year production cycle it meant that by then, one in every 3 Aston Martins ever built was a DB7, cementing the future of the company going into the 21st century. In the tradition of its DB4 ancestor, the DB7 was also produced in Vantage, Zagato and GT derivatives, and whilst rare, the GTA was to be the rarest of them all. Just 112 cars were produced, 60 of which were built for the UK market. Visually it adopted the more aerodynamic form of its GT stablemate as well as that car’s bigger brakes, stiffer springs & dampers and 18” 5-spoke alloy wheels, whilst mating the 420bhp 6.0 V12 to a 5 speed Touchtronic transmission. This example is finished in the stunning special order Ferrari colour of Nero Daytona metallic with Charcoal leather & alcantara interior and Black Oak veneers. Having now covered just 31,500 with a comprehensive service history, this GTA is fitted with sports exhaust, Premium Audio System, heated front screen, powerfold door mirrors and red brake calipers. A rare and covetable DB7, this GTA will be supplied with a 12

    • Year: 2003

    Last update: 5 Days Old

    • Mileage: 31500 mi

    For sale
  • Nicholas Mee
    020 8741 8822
    see details
  • Although initially to be offered alongside the standard 3.2 litre 6 cylinder car, it was later deemed that the superiority of the new 6.0 litre V12 engined Vantage, for not much of a price premium, was to draw an early retirement plan for the “I6” car. With just 4,444 Vantage’s being built over a four year period, the DB7 Vantage has now passed into the pantheon of classics in the marque’s back catalogue. Often thought of one of the world’s most beautiful cars, the DB7 has, rightfully, won the hearts of many. This particular example has been cared for by just 2 private owners since 2003, the first of whom was its custodian for 9 years before he sold the car to his close personal friend. Finished in Stronsay Silver with Pacific Blue leather interior, chassis number 303892 is fitted with the 5 speed ZF automatic transmission, Becker Traffic Pro satellite navigation, powerfold door mirrors, heated front windscreen, large bore tailpipes, alloy pedal pads and 19” alloy road wheels. A well-cared for example with lovely provenance and service history, this car will be presented with a fresh service and 12 months MOT as well as our usual level of after-sales care and warranty. This car is

    • Year: 2003

    Last update: 5 Days Old

    • Mileage: 37000 mi

    For sale
  • Nicholas Mee
    020 8741 8822
    see details
  • Metallic Silver, Black Full leather interior, Satellite Navigation, Alarm, Alloy Wheels, Tracker. 2 seats, Includes Private plate...Finished in Ferrari Grigio Titanium... Nappa Leather...Sports Steering Wheel...Sports Exhaust...Upgraded Sound...Very Level Clean Car...Hood in nice Condition...Nice Tyres etc...Future Classic. 2 keys available.

    Last update: 4 Days Old

    • Mileage: 91000 mi

    • Engine size: 5.935

    For sale
  • Brooklands (Kent) Ltd
    01322 616 716
    see details
  • With an additional 50bhp over the Vantage this is the most powerful DB7 and final expression of the series. With only 44,475 kms from new this pacific blue GTA has full history and books and receipts. Please contact us for more information.

    • Year: 2015

    Last update: 6 Days Old
    For sale
  • Brooklands Classic Cars
    (intl)+61 3 9584 4909
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  • In 2002 Aston Martin launched the DB7 GTA, an evolution of the standard Vantage that offered a fiery V12 with an increased 430hp. Handmade, only 112 were ever built and featured bonnet vents, GTA insignia, unique 5 spoke wheels and a re-sculptured rear spoiler, twin plate clutch, uprated brakes and suspension and revised undercarriage diffusers to improve aerodynamics. Delivered by Paramount Aston Martin, Derby UK in March of 2004, this beautifully well maintained DB7 GTA offers a striking road presence. Optioned from factory in Stronsay Silver over charcoal leather interior the cockpit surrounds you like a Typhoon Fighter Jet. Aluminium dials, unblemished switches all draped in hand stitched leather and the flawless sports seats with plush black carpets feel brand new. Boasting incredibly low kilometers, this DB7 GTA is also accompanied by a complete leather bound Aston Martin service history with the latest service carried out by Trivett Aston, Alexandria in April of this year. This example also features brand new Bridgestone Potenza tyres. An absolutely stunning example, this DB 7 GTA is incredibly rare and has travelled just 35,000 kms. A true collector′s item that performs bot

    Last update: 21 Days Old
    For sale
  • Classic Throttle Shop
    +61 (0)2 9922 2036
    see details
  • Finished in Chiltern green metallic, full Ivory and Forest green leather interior, 18" Aluminium 10 spoke alloy wheels, heated seats, Alpine stereo , 6x CD changer, electric adjustable front seats, GT bright finish front grill , air conditioning, heated exterior mirrors, Sandstorm Alcantara headlining, Elm wood Veneer interior trim, plus much more standard specification. This stunning V12 DB7 is offered in outstanding condition throughout and has covered only 40300 miles from new. Car comes complete with a full service history. Viewing unreservedly recommended

    • Year: 2000

    Last update: 24 Days Old
    For sale
  • Alexanders Prestige
    01423 325800
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  • Vehicle Specification Located at Our Emerson Park Showroom, Climate Control, Electric Heated Memory Seats, CD Player, Power Hood and Alloys. Full Service History at Aston Martin and Specialist. www.imperials.co.uk ------ Please call us to Confirm which of our 3 Essex Showrooms your desired vehicle is located at before travelling to see us Romford 0208 599 4662, Emerson Park 01708 449726 or Chelmsford 01245 248007 ----- For up to 20 images of this vehicle and an Instant Finance Quote please view our Award Winning Website www.imperials.co.uk. For Out of Office Hours Enquiries please call Tony 07956 564440, Jim 07811 208138, or Kenny 07875 539530 and they will be happy to help. We are also good buyers of all prestige, Sports and 4x4 vehicles so why not give us a call for a price on yours for out of hours call Steve on 07411 461177. Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter. Thank You. www.imperials.co.uk

    • Year: 1997

    Last update: 11 Days Old

    • Mileage: 52000 mi

    For sale
  • Imperials
    01708 449726
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  • --Bowland Black with Charcoal over Stone trim piped Charcoal with Charcoal carpeting edged Stone, 24,000 miles from new, Rare 6-speed manual transmission. Factory options include: Factory Mesh Upper and Lower Grilles, Red Painted Brake calipers, Carbon Fiber Center Console/Facia, Aluminum Pedal Pads, Sport Exhaust, Wind Deflector, Satelitte Navigation, 19” Wheels, Premium Audio System, Leather Convertible Top Boot Cover and Factory overmats with AM logo. All alloy four cam 6.0 liter V-12 developing 420 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 400 ft. lb. of torque @ 5000 rpm. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. This DB7 Vantage Volante has recently been through a major service to bring it to superb and ready to use condition throughout.

    • Year: 2003

    Last update: 26 Days Old

    • Mileage: 24000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • French registration Zagato bodywork No. 009 - One of 99 made - Only 1,555 km from new - Prestigious Zagato bodywork - One owner from new This car was bought new from Aston Martin Dortmund, Germany. Since then, it has covered only 1,555 km. It is equipped with a cover, its owner's guide and its maintenance book. Having been hardly used, it is flawless from every angle, with its sleek bodywork and its special upholstery in a quilted pattern. Its color combination is beautiful with its silver grey body and its tan upholstery. What more can one say about the car's condition other than that it is in an exceptional condition! The DB7 Aston is the model that re-launched Aston Martin. Unveiled in 1993 with the support of Ford and Jaguar, the DB7 is powered by a six-cylinder with a body designed by Ian Callum, and has a few design cues of former Aston Martins integrated into a flowing design. The well-conceived model met with a huge success that allowed Aston Martin to regain lost confidence. The Vantage version was launched in 2000, with a superb 6-liter V12, and it is on this base that the DB7 Zagato was built. Developing 435bhp engine, it has a more aggressive line and production was limited to just 99 copies (plus one for the Aston museum). It includes some specific design features specific to Zagato, like the double hump roof. It is an exclusive model from all points of view: its name, its performance, its shape and its rarity. The example we offer, is additionally, almost new.

    Last update: 4 Months Old
    For sale
  • see details
  • --Special ordered non-standard color Mercedes Benz Midnight Blue with Pacific Blue over Light Grey leather interior, Dark Blue carpeting and Blue Mohair convertible top with Smoke Alcantara convertible top headlining, 22,000 miles from new, Rare 6-speed manual transmission. Factory options include: Color to Sample, Mohair Convertible Top, Premium Audio System, Factory Sport Exhaust with Large Bore Exhaust Tips, Factory Mesh Front Upper and Lower Grilles, Carbon Fiber Veneer and Aluminum Pedals. All alloy four cam 6.0 liter V-12 developing 420 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 400 ft. lb. of torque @ 5000 rpm. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. This DB7 Vantage Volante has recently undergone a $15k major service. It is currently in excellent and ready to use condition throughout with no faults. It is complete with full ownership and maintenance history and complete with original books/manuals, keys, remotes and tools.

    • Year: 2001

    Last update: About 20 Hours Old

    • Mileage: 22000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
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  • --Pentland Green with Forest Green over Light Ivory leather interior, Forest Green carpeting and Green Mohair convertible top, 44,000 miles from new, Rare 6-speed manual transmission. Factory options include: Premium Audio System, Aluminum Pedals, Mesh grilles, Wind Deflector and Leather Convertible Boot Cover. All alloy four cam 6.0 liter V-12 developing 420 bhp @ 6000 rpm and 400 ft. lb. of torque @ 5000 rpm. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. This DB7 Vantage Volante is exceptional throughout with complete service history, original owners manual and factory tools.

    • Year: 2000

    Last update: 26 Days Old

    • Mileage: 44000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
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