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Aston Martin DB7: Buying guide and review (1994-2003)

Aston Martin DB7: Buying guide and review (1994-2003) Classic and Performance Car
Aston Martin DB7 side profile Aston Martin DB7 interior Aston Martin DB7 engine The Aston Martin DB7 is a car to polarise opinions. Devotees will tell you that it was the first Aston truly dependable enough to be driven every day, the first you could leave out in the street and be sure it would function in the morning as, say, a Porsche would. It was also the first Aston built with modern high(ish)-volume methods to proper, consistent quality standards, and it sowed the seed of the company Aston Martin has since become.

Today a DB7 can seem almost irresistibly cheap for a car with those looks and that badge, never mind the pace potential. You can buy one for as little as £16,000. So how can you lose?

A powerful part of its appeal 19 years after launch is that it was the car that saved the company. So, how did the DB7 come to be? Aston Martin had been floundering after the Victor Gauntlett era, as it had so often before, and this particular new dawn involved the Ford Motor Company, which already owned Jaguar. Ford needed the venerable Aston brand to pay its way and forge a future.

This called for a cheaper model able to be built in greater numbers, and a rummage through the corporate cupboard uncovered just the starting point – an abandoned proposal for a Jaguar XJS replacement. Designer Ian Callum reworked the ingredients into a svelte and credible Aston Martin shape.

Under the bonnet was an AJ16 Jaguar straight-six engine, which gained an Eaton supercharger to help extract 335bhp from the 3.2-litre capacity, and while the XJS-derived platform was clearly dated, having first appeared 19 years before the DB7’s 1994 launch, it did the job.

Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) carried out the development and ran the factory at Bloxham, Oxfordshire where the DB7 would be built, having just finished producing Jaguar XJ220s. The DB7 was also the first (and last) Aston Martin with a steel monococque structure, although it did add some newer bodywork technology with its heat-pressed composite front wings and bootlid. Early cars had composite bonnets, too, but the panel gaps proved both inconsistent and heat-relatedly mobile, so later cars had a steel panel.

So there’s not as much bespoke Aston Martin in a DB7 as a purist might like. The ‘Jag in drag’ references of the time are a bit harsh, though, because even the Jaguar-derived parts had Aston-specific calibration and development, and a DB7 looks like a proper Aston both outside and in.

It’s better to think of the DB7 as a new beginning, as the starting point for today’s company with its Gaydon factory and the V12 engine, which began life in 1999’s DB7 Vantage.

Which one to buy?

The DB7 was made in bigger numbers than any Aston before it, with 2451 six-cylinder cars leaving the factory before the V12 replaced them and took production to its 2003 end. In total, 7091 DB7s were built, including Volante convertibles. Today’s Aston production rate, however, far eclipses those figures.

Now that the DB7 is coming out of its wilderness years, this means that really good ones can be worth more than commonplace early DB9s and V8 Vantages.

Because a DB7 is more exclusive than the Jag XK8 rival, it looks sleeker and, perversely, its imperfections now take on the aura of a classic car’s character. Besides which, a six-cylinder one handles beautifully and goes with great verve, although the more common (75 per cent of production) four-speed automatic with the engine detuned to 317bhp might not be a petrolhead's cup of Earl Grey and is worth around 20 per cent less.

Or there’s the V12, initially with 420bhp, later with 435 as the Vantage GT; it’s very quick and sounds wonderful, the GT especially covetable with its mesh grille, bonnet vents, shorter gearing, uprated brakes and keener handling. Manuals are more common with this engine at around 40 per cent of production. Although early cars were never the the most accomplished drivers' cars, the last-of-the-line Vantage GT is a much improved proposition – something that is reflected in the price. 
 
The Aston Martin DB7 was also the basis for a couple of special Zagato-bodied cars. Just 99 standard coupe versions were built, as well as 99 AR1 models. AR1 actually stands for America Roadster 1, due to being exclusively offered in the USA, although obviously a handful made it to other countries. 

Performance and spec

Engine In-line 6-cyl, 3228cc, supercharged
Power 335bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque 361lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual (or four-speed automatic), rear-wheel drive, limited-slip diff
Weight 1700kg
0-60mph 5.8sec
Top speed 157mph

Common problems

• A full and detailed service history is a very nice thing to have, because infrequent oil changes can clog the hydraulic timing-chain tensioner in the otherwise very durable straight-six. The rattly chain that will eventually develop is pricy to replace. 
 
• The V12 is also a very reliable engine on the whole, and it was the first appearance of an engine that has remained in production to this very day. There are a couple of things to look out for though, one of which is the engine's occasional habit of breaking down one of the 12 individual coil packs. This is generally due to heat and age, causing misfires. It's often easy to miss on a test drive, as even on 11 cylinders the Aston Martin remains smooth and refined. As they are hard to get at, replacement can be expensive – so proof of recent replacement  (of all 12) by a specialist, although generally not always necessary is always a bonus.
 
• Have a good look underneath, where rust can take hold – more likely in a V12, oddly, because cost-cutting led to less protection. Front floorpans, inner wings and suspension turrets, rear radius-arm mountings and rear chassis legs are the trouble spots. Getting the car on a ramp is the best way to see everything, and it will pay in the long run to get a car with no structural issues.
 
• Although much easier to spot, you should also be on the look out for the beginnings of rust on the the wheelarches and door bottoms. Another possible area for concern is the bottom corner of the rear window aperture, which can make an otherwise nice example look scruffy.
 
• Look in the service history for checks of the suspension’s fully adjustable alignment, too; the tyres wear quickly if it’s out, while the car will not feel planted on the road. 

• You’re unlikely to find an original composite bonnet on an early car because most have been replaced with a steel one. As well as the gap problems, a composite panel goes porous if its outer layer is perforated and bubbles duly appear.

• The six-cylinder DB7’s boot-mounted badge can trigger this, which is why the V12 doesn’t have one.

• On the steel panels, rear wheelarch lips and the bottom corners of the rear window aperture are worth a close check.

• The sumptuous interior is durable and high in quality, but try the air-con because blockages can blow the evaporator apart if the car isn’t used regularly. Fixing this involves removing most of the interior.

• Damp carpets could be from a failed windscreen-to-scuttle seal.

Model history

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.

Useful clubs and websites

- www.amoc.org
- www.amocna.org

Summary and prices

‘Any six-cylinder DB7 worth having will start at around £25,000,’ cautions Derek Campbell, MD of the Chiltern Aston Centre (www.chilternaston.co.uk). ‘Any less than this and you must have it inspected thoroughly. Provenance and how it has been looked after are vital. And low-mileage, manual cars are worth the most.’

At the other end of the scale, late Vantages can nudge £50,000, especially if it’s the open Volante version or the final, limited-run GT. And if you find one of the 99 Zagato-bodied versions, you'll encounter a price tag far into six figures.

Words: Vantage Magazine
Aston Martin DB7 side profile Aston Martin DB7 interior Aston Martin DB7 engine
Last updated: 30th Mar 2016
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Aston Martin DB7 cars for sale

18 Search results
Aston Martin DB7
27950 295000 GBP
  • Aston Martin DB7

    £32,950 £32,950

    Variant name:VANTAGE ,Variant: Vantage

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 49970 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
    HWM-HWM Aston Martin of Walton-on-Thames
  • Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante

    £35,000 £35,000

    Chassis Number: SCFAB32302K403265 Engine Number: AM2/03344 UK Registration Number: D 8 TRH Date of first reg: 1st September 2002 Exterior colour: Aysgarth Blue Metallic Hood: Blue Mohair Interior colour: Parchment with Pacific Current Odometer reading: 53,300 Mileage Warranty: Steering: Right Transmission: Touch Tronic Options: 18" Alloy Wheels Background Background: The Volante or soft top version of the DB7 was planned from the beginning and the development of a dedicated convertible design began once the form of the coupe had been established. But the two cars were treated as separate entities with no thought of compromise. “We actually clay modelled the raised roof” recalled Ian Callum in a recent interview, “and I worked closely with the trimmers at Aston Martin to learn the constraints coming from the hood material and the folding mechanism, and to ensure that the hood had the correct form. The skills of the trimmers ensured that the silhouette of the raised roof reflects the purity and elegance that characterised the rest of the car.” The end result is a car that, from the edge of the doors forward, the Volante is virtually identical to the coupe. However the rear panels are

    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 i 6 VOLANTE

    £37,995 £37,995

    About this Aston Martin DB7 i 6 VOLANTE SORRY NOW RESERVED First registered January 1997 (P reg) this Aston Martin DB7 i6 Volante is in lovely condition and presents beautifully in Mendip Blue with Ivory Leather piped Navy Blue. Specification includes: Automatic Gearbox, Electrically Adjustable Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Power Hood,etc. The Service History is replete with stamps from Aston Martin Works Service (4 Stamps) The Aston Martin Heritage Centre (9 Stamps) and Stratstone (3 Stamps). Always sought after especially as the market commentators have earmarked this model for strong future appreciation. In our opinion this is one of the best examples currently available and by no means the most expensive.

    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 VANTAGE VOLANTE

    £39,995 £39,995

    About this Aston Martin DB7 VANTAGE VOLANTE Building on the success of the in-line 6 cylinder DB7 the new Vantage models featured an all new 420bhp, 6.0 litre V12 engine. First registered January 2004, (53 Reg), supplied by Aston Martin Sales Mayfair and presented in Bowland Black, with Charcoal Black Leather and Carbon Fibre Veneers, plus the following specification: 19 inch Nine Spoke Alloys, Black Aston Martin Engraved Brake Calipers, Bright Mesh Grilles, Heated Front and Rear Screens, Heated Seats, Electric Seats and Airconditioning. Additionally, this car is fitted with the Touchtronic Gearbox option. The service history, comprises nine stamps with Aston Martin Main Dealers and one independent specialist. We have just fitted new Coil Packs and Plugs to this vehicle and it will be serviced by us (and stamped accordingly) prior to delivery along with our 120 Point Pre-Delivery Inspection. A very striking car this vehicle presents its new owner with the prospect of Aston Martin V12 ownership at very competitive price and in our opinion values of well maintained DB7 Vantages are now likely to climb. All post 2000 vehicles are supplied fully inspected and with a minimum six month p

    • Mileage: 48000 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 i 6 VOLANTE

    £44,995 £44,995

    About this Aston Martin DB7 i 6 VOLANTE VEHICLE RESERVED - The DB7 i6 is based on a semi-monocoque shell with composite materials used for some outer panels; it is powered by a 24 valve light alloy six cylinder in-line 3,228 cc engine derived from the Jaguar AJ6 coupled with a Eaton Roots type Supercharger and Zytec electronic fuel injection. The power developed was a claimed 335 bhp at 5,600 rpm with a peak torque figure of 368lb.ft at 3,000 rpm. Typically 18 inch alloy wheels shod with 245/40 ZR18 Bridgestone Tyres provide contact with the road at each corner mounted on an independent wishbone suspension system that is coupled with coils springs and monotube dampers. Braking is provided by outboard Telvis anti-lock disc brakes. First registered May 1998 (R Reg) this two owner rare Manual transmission DB7 i6 Volante was built towards the last of quartile in the production of the six cylinder cars. Presented in immaculate Solent Silver with Grey Leather and Blue Hood this very low mileage example, just 19,800 miles has had just two owners from new. Originally supplied in Paris to its first keeper the Service History shows three stamps with Lancaster Sevenoaks and a further three s

    • Mileage: 19800 mi
    For sale
  • DB7 i6 Coupe

    £29,950 £29,950

    These early 6 cylinder DB7s are becoming increasingly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors looking to enter the world of classic Aston Martin ownership. Representing incredible value when compared with new, low mileage examples such as this are also getting harder to source. As can be seen from the photographs, this particular DB7 i6 looks absolutely stunning in Cotswold Metallic with Charcoal interior, a very rare livery indeed. An Aston Martin that you can use daily or save for those special weekend jaunts, this a classic you can buy with your head as well as your heart. For further info please contact a member of our sales team: +44 (0)1207 233 525 Photographs Media Additional Details Enhancements available Convert to R Hand or L Hand drive Fit Auto or Manual gearbox Fit Sat Nav Tweet Services Aston Car Sales Body Centre Enhancements Aston Gifts Aston Parts Enginology Aston Art Servicing Crash Repair Restoration Aston Bespoke Transport Information How to find us Free Publications Watch our Videos Browse the Gallery News Newsletters 2017 Calendar About us Sell your Aston Contact us Links Customer Comments Careers Subscribe to our FREE eNewsletter Enter your details below. S

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 67980 mi
    For sale
  • 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante

    £49,950 £49,950

    Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante First registered 3/9/02 Finished in Rolls Royce Black Sapphire (special order) with complementing blue hood. Light grey and Atlantic blue bicolour leather interior with carbon fibre trim. 33,500 documented miles with supporting history. Full Aston Martin service history. Tiptronic transmission.

    • Year: 2002
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 Volante convertible

    £32,850 £32,850

    The name of Aston Martin resonates throughout British automotive history and is one of the true legends. The DB7 is the famous Ian Callum design which effectively saved Aston Martin and put it where it is today. Own a part of the story! This car is a 1 January 1998 Volante convertible automatic with an Alfred Dunhill body kit including front and rear spoiler and split rim alloys.

    • Year: 1998
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 GTA

    £59,995 £59,995

    Registered 2003 Mileage 39,004 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 14.3 mpg Registered 2003 Registration LJ53FDX Previous Owners 4 Fuel Consumption 14.3 mpg Tax Band K Tax Cost £295 Colour Black Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Bowland Black Doors 2 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Coupe Mileage 39,004 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing and intended for comparisons between vehicles. They are unlikely to represent real world efficiency. Left Right Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Warranty Technical Spec Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Fitted Options Satellite Navigation System Sports Suspension Heated Rear Screen Central Locking Air Conditioning Front Arm Rest Heated Front Screen Sports Pack with 5 Spoke Alloys Traction Control (TC)

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 39004 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB7 GTA V12

    £47,950 £47,950

    Chassis Number: SCFAB12353K 304219 Engine Number: AM2/04182 UK Registration Number: Y 1 GTA Date of first reg: 10th November 2003 Exterior colour: Ferrari Grigio Titanio Hood: Interior colour: Charcoal Leather Current Odometer reading: 52,579 Mileage Warranty: Steering: Right Transmission: Touch Tronic Options: Heated Front Screen, Satellite Navigation, Alloy Wheels, Tracker Background Background In 1993, at the invitation of Walter Hayes, Sir David Brown became life president of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. This provided the perfect opportunity to revive the DB prefix. The new production was established at Bloxham, near Banbury and Aston Martin Oxford Ltd was born. Chassis number sequence begins at: 100,001. Code named NPX, the new design was subjected to far more development testing that any previous Aston Martin. Approximately 30 prototypes were driven in some of the most diverse areas in the world. From the altitude and heat of Arizona to the intense cold of Scandinavia. Also full use was made of Ford’s own test facilities. The body is a semi-monocoque shell with composite materials used for some of the outer panels. The designed by Ian Callum captures the very essence of ‘Aston M

    For sale
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