loading Loading please wait....

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
expand this

Aston Martin Db7 cars for sale

18 Search results
Aston Martin Db7
15950 49950 GBP
  • --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 15 hours old

    • Mileage: 22000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • --Special Order Black Emerald (Extremely Dark Green metallic) with Forest Green over Parchment Aniline leather interior with Forest Green carpeting, 2,000 miles from new, 6-speed manual transmission, Rare LHD, #78 of a total of 99 manufactured for the world wide market. The DB7 Vantage Zagato is derived from DB7 - the most successful Aston Martin of all time. It boasts revised body styling with coachwork by Zagato of Italy. It incorporates a number of dynamic elements, which have been finely engineered to offer a new dimension to the Aston Martin driving experience. Available only as a two-seater, the DB7 Zagato has a large distinctive radiator grille and accentuating rear wheel arches, while the carefully detailed features such as the reverse/fog light combination provide graphic evidence of intricate hand craftsmanship and quality that has become an Aston Martin trademark. The car is powered by an up-rated 'GT' version of the V12, with power up to 435 bhp and torque to 410 lb ft. The active sports exhaust system with rear muffler by-pass valves - as used on the V12 Vanquish - provide the DB7 Zagato with a very distinctive exhaust note. The DB7 Zagato is also fitted with the DB7 G

    • Year: 2003

    • Last update: about 15 hours old

    • Mileage: 2000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • --Aston Martin Racing Green with Fern Green over Saddle Tan with Green carpeting, 12,000 miles from new, Touchtronic transmission. Factory options include: Factory Mesh Upper and Lower Grilles, Carbon Fiber Center Console/Facia, Aluminum Pedal Pads, Sport Exhaust, Wind Deflector, Factory Dymag Sport Wheels and Factory overmats with AM logo. It has also been update with a superb McIntosh Stereo System and Remove Center Console Navigation System. 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 recent been through a major service to bring it to superb and ready to use condition throughout.

    • Year: 2001

    • Last update: about 15 hours old

    • Mileage: 12000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • --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: about 15 hours old

    • Mileage: 44000 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • --Cairngorm Grey with Dark Grey leather with Charcoal carpeting, 18,100 miles from new, Touchtronic transmission. Factory options include: Carpet Piping, Factory Mesh Upper and Lower Grilles, Premium Audio System, Aluminum Center Console/Facia, Aluminum Pedal Pads, Sport Exhaust with Large Bore Tailpipes and Walnut Sport Steering Wheel. 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. Always serviced properly, this DB7 Vantage is in excellent condition throughout and ready for immediate use.

    • Year: 2002

    • Last update: about 15 hours old

    • Mileage: 18100 mi

    For sale
  • Autosport Designs Inc
    (631) 726-0770
    see details
  • 435 bhp, 5,935 cc V-12 engine with four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, six-speed manual transmission with a twin-plate racing clutch, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel Brembo disc brakes. Wheelbase: 100 in. The 40th of 99 examples produced Single ownership and less than 500 miles from new Finished in stunning Aston Martin Green (Code 1959) Zagato and Aston Martin first crossed paths in 1960 with the DB4GT Zagato, which was an exquisitely beautiful restyling of Aston Martin’s already potent and attractive DB4 GT. The car, bodied in feather-light aluminum, stole the show at the 1960 London Motor Show and only 19 examples were produced. To this day, they are considered to be the most valuable Aston Martins ever produced, commanding a substantial premium over standard DB4s and even the DB4GT. The DB4GT Zagato proved to be a largely influential car for both Aston Martin and Zagato, and some of the design cues first seen on the DB4GT Zagato found their way onto future Astons. Despite all the car did for both companies, Aston Martin and Zagato would only team up twice more over the next 40 years, once in 1985 for the V8 Vantage Zagato and again in 2002 fo

    • Year: 2003

    • Last update: 6 days old

    For sale
  • RM Auctions
    +1 954 566 2209
    see details
  • £23,995 £23,995

    This Chiltern Green DB7 represents just one of around 850 ‘i6’ coupes ever to be made; because of their scarcity these cars are perennially identified as the investment Aston Martins to go for. The Burr Walnut and Ivory / Forest Leather interior is in wonderful condition which is commensurate with the unbelievable low mileage of just 53,000; further reassurance can be found in the equally incredible service history that details no fewer than 18 stamps!! Featuring a Nardi steering Wheel and a wonderful pre-airbag interior this is a quite exceptional example of these sought after Aston Martins. Buy one now while you can.......!

    • Year: 1996

    • Last update: 10 days old

    • Mileage: 53000 mi

    For sale
  • Arun Ltd
    01798 874477
    see details
  • Launched alongside its Coupe brethren at the 1999 Geneva Auto Salon, the DB7 Vantage Volante ushered in V12 power with open-air style. This beautiful, 29,000 mile example is finished in the stunning colour of Braemar Blue with Mid Grey and Pacific Blue Connolly hide to the interior and complemented by Burr Walnut veneers. Fitted with a 5 speed automatic transmission, it also comes with the desirable Works Service satellite navigation system, polished alloy foot pedals, wind deflector, Premium Audio System and a wire mesh grille. Previously supplied and cared for by ourselves, and complete with a full service history, the car will benefit from a fresh service and MOT prior to delivery. This DB7 Vantage Volante will also come with our usual high standard of preparation as well as a 12 month warranty including roadside assistance. A car that is worthy of your attention, and available to view and test drive now from our West London showroom.

    • Year: 2000

    • Last update: 14 days old

    • Mileage: 28000 mi

    For sale
  • Nicholas Mee
    020 8741 8822
    see details
  • Aston Martin DB7 Volante Vantage Left Hand Drive £49,750 Aston Martin Volante Vantage 2002 Left Hand drive Finished in solway Silver with cherry red hide interior,and with a matching power top, walnut veneers, overugs, touchtronic, power steering,power windows, sat nav, stereo, cd, air con, special aston L [Product Details...]

    • Year: 2002

    • Last update: 20 days old

    For sale
  • Peter Jarvis
    01332 669081
    see details
  • £25,995 £25,995

    Another superb Aston Martin from Arun, this DB7 V12 was first ordered and delivered into Jersey; in addition to the normal specification it was fitted with a rear wiper costing just under £2000.00 and a luggage conversion; both of which are the first we have seen. We have the original involve and the purchaser did not get much change out of £100K ! Finished in the gorgeous (and highly prized) Derwent Green over Magnolia Hide this low mileage example with its comprehensive service history represents a serious investment opportunity. Truly Outstanding.... Please scroll down for a full specification. This is an automated service so errors may occur.

    • Year: 2001

    • Last update: 23 days old

    • Mileage: 45000 mi

    For sale
  • Arun Ltd
    01798 874477
    see details
  • DB7 I6 coupe Year 1995 Engine size 3.2 Doors 2 Colour Aston Martin green Interior Parchment piped green Mileage 60000 print this Ref: 00378

    • Year: 1995

    • Last update: 25 days old

    • Mileage: 60000 mi

    For sale
  • Oselli
    01993 849610
    see details
  • £33,950 £33,950

    A superb Aston Martin DB7 Vantage in the classic colour combination of Buckinghamshire Green with Parchment / Green hide interior. Automatic / touchtronic transmission. Fitted with optional extras including wire mesh front grille, heated front seats, heated front screen and sports exhausts. This much cherished example has had just 3 owners, including the last owner since 2005 and has been very well maintained by Aston Martin main agent and a well respected marquee specialist. One of the best preserved and well presented DB7 Vantage's we have seen! Dont miss it!

    • Year: 2001

    • Last update: 25 days old

    • Mileage: 38000 mi

    For sale
  • Nicholas Mee
    020 8741 8822
    see details
  • £25,995 £25,995

    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: 9 days old

    For sale
  • Targa Florio
    01243 641117
    see details
  • £15,950 £15,950

    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: 19 days old

    • Mileage: 117660 mi

    For sale
  • Hilton & Moss
    01279 813907
    see details
  • £30,439 £30,439

    The Classic Car Gallery is proud to present this stunning 2003 Aston Martin DB7 GT finished in Nero Black over Charcoal and Alcantara. Powered by a 5.9L V12 and mated to a desirable 6 speed transmission, the DB7 GT produces 435hp and 400lb ft of torque. Aston Martin produced only 190 of these grand tourers for the world and only 88 of those featured a 6-speed manual transmission. Mint condition in and out, with just 13,000 pampered miles this GT must be one of the finest on the market. Outfitted with the following GT features; hood vents, large vented Brembo brakes, power folding mirrors, mesh grill, lower final drive ratio, GT only 18” wheels, rear spoiler, premium audio, first aid kit, embroidered floor mats, and a VentureShield clear bra. Additionally, the standard features include a full Connolly leather interior, push button start, Alcantara headliner, heated sport seats with Alcantara inserts, adjustable lumbar support, 6-Disc CD changer and 18-inch wheels shod with Pirelli P-Zero tires. Service records, spare key, all books and manuals, and a copy of the window sticker all come with the car. Boasting a sticker price of $166,665, she can be owned today for a fraction of her o

    • Year: 2003

    • Last update: 19 days old

    • Mileage: 13000 mi

    For sale
  • see details