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Aston Martin Vanquish: Buying guide and review (2001-2007)

Aston Martin Vanquish: Buying guide and review (2001-2007) Classic and Performance Car
Damnably seductive, the original Vanquish. It’s a car with vivid performance, a tremendous warmth of character and a rousing delivery that grips you from the moment you press that big red starter button and never lets you go. As when new, its charisma more than compensates for its few failings, and cements its place as one of the great Aston Martins. With early examples available for as little as £50,000, they are horribly tempting.
 
This was the last extensively hand-built Aston and the last to come from the old Newport Pagnell works, which to some makes it the last ‘real’ Aston. Not that it’s a dinosaur. In many respects it was also the first of the new-era Astons. The first to be launched under the stewardship of Dr Ulrich Bez, and the first to be built around a structure of extruded, bonded aluminium and advanced composites. 
Another break with tradition was the automated six-speed manual gearbox, which did away with a clutch pedal and introduced paddles for the first time on an Aston, side-stepping the notoriously heavyweight manual gearshifts of previous flagship models.
 
And then there was the 460bhp 5.9-litre V12, a Cosworth-led evolution of the engine that had first seen service in the DB7 Vantage. It endowed the Vanquish with suitably vivid performance – 0-60 in under 5sec, a top speed of around 190mph and a rousing soundtrack to match – while the stiff platform and beautifully controlled suspension gave the Vanquish a light-on-its-toes demeanour that was a revelation after the previous supercharged Vantage flagship. And all clothed in a body of undeniable muscularity and ‘presence’, Ian Callum’s first clean-sheet Aston design.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Any Vanquish is a desirable package, but the biggest choice you have to make is early or late model. The model evolved over the years, and the character of a launch spec Vanquish is considerably different to a last of the line Vanquish S. 
 
A really worthwhile option to seek out is the Sports Dynamic Pack, available from 2003. This added uprated suspension and brakes, but the Vanquish S, introduced in 2004 (from chassis 1506), incorporated these as standard. Along with the handling upgrades, a new aero package, improved gearshift and a power increase to 520bhp completed the package.
 
Towards the end of Vanquish production, Aston Martin Works Service was sanctioned to develop a manual gearshift conversion. Almost 70 cars have been converted so far – although a well set-up automated car is a delight in itself.
 
The Linn audio system that replaced the original Alpine hi-fi for the 2003 model year is desirable, as is full leather (some Vanquishes have Alcantara centre panels on the seats), while 2+2s are slightly more sought-after. 007-spec Tungsten paint adds value; conversely, dark blues and greens are not so saleable.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine V12, 5935cc 
Power 460bhp @ 6500rpm 
Torque 400lb ft @ 5000rpm
Transmission Six-speed automated manual
0-60mph 5.0sec 
Top speed 190mph 
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2690mm
Length 4665mm
Width 1923mm
Height 1318mm
Kerb weight 1820kg
 
Common problems
 
A well-kept Vanquish should present with undamaged bodywork, a clean, unmarked interior and a well-populated service file – although it’s unrealistic to expect that low-mileage cars will have been religiously serviced every six months, you should still expect to see stamps and invoices for annual work. You’re unlikely to be inspecting the quality of restoration work, although few Vanquishes are still in original hands.
 
• A full service history by reputable specialists is the first box in need of ticking. Ideally Vanquishes should be serviced every six months or 7500 miles; if a car’s had anything less than an annual service it should certainly put you on your guard

• The good news is that the V12 engine is very strong, and serious faults are rare. The most common problem is with the coil packs, which suffer both from heat damage and occasionally from water ingress causing shorting. Any misfiring points to problems.

• Potentially the most serious issue is oil consumption caused by the engine ingesting its own oil vapour because the reed-type valves in the breather system have stuck open. A low oil level could eventually lead to starved big end bearings at the back of the engine. So look inside the air filter for a heavy oil deposit; anything more than a light misting could spell trouble.

• Don’t be put off by the automated manual – properly set up and driven with a little sensitivity, it’s a decent system. The Magnetti Marelli hardware sits on the back of the transaxle, providing electro-hydraulic actuation of the gearchanges.

• Early cars had analogue gear position sensors, which can wear, which is when you can get problems. Later cars (chassis 600 onwards) had magnetic sensors, which are much more robust. Most early cars have had them retro-fitted when the clutch has been replaced. The shift has benefited from software updates over the years, too.

• Unsurprisingly, clutch wear varies hugely depending on driving style. Clutches can last as few as 15,000 miles or as many as 40,000. On the test drive you’re looking for a nice crisp pull-away and a crisp change, with no slip, no untoward noises and no serious vibrations. A whistling sound as you pull away suggests spigot shaft bearing wear, which is a £2000 repair; £5000 if the shaft needs replacing too.

• The standard brakes aren’t up to track-work but are fine for anything but the most extreme road driving. Cross drillings should be cleaned as part of a service; if they’re blocked it can lead to corrosion, particularly on the inner face.

• look for bubbling at the edges of the aluminium body panels, the first signs of electrolytic corrosion, which if it develops will eventually necessitate a respray. 

• Also check the front wing strakes – they’re cast on some cars and also prone to bubbling (replacements cost around £300 each).

• The single biggest problem with the Vanquish, though, is its steel front subframe. Water gets trapped between undertray and frame, causing rust. If it’s extensive it may require replacement (£5000-plus). So remove the tray and check. 

• Also check the small steel bracket at the end of each sill. Corrosion here can spread through the mounting bolts and cause electrolytic reaction in the tub itself. The carbonfibre crash structure front and rear is visible underneath so check for signs of damage, though it is repairable.
 
Model history
 
1998: Project Vantage show car previews the Vanquish at the New York Auto Show 
2001: Production V12 Vanquish launched, minutely changed in every detail over the show car 
2003: Vanquich SDP (Sports Dynamic Pack) offered 
2004: Vanquish S launched (from chassis no 1506); more power, improves chassis and aerodynamics 
2007: Production ceases at Newport Pagnell after 2593 Vanquishes built in total, including final 40 Ultimate Edition cars
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.astonmartinworks.com
• www.nicholasmee.co.uk
• www.amoc.org 
• www.amocna.org
 
Summary and prices
 
This was (and remains) a car of strong character, great style and effortless (200mph!) performance, with a unique place in history as the last of the artisan Astons – and prices seem set to continue rising. Fancy a Vanquish? Better act quick.
 
Well-cared-for examples are creeping up in value. Expect to pay from £55,000 upwards for a well-maintained early Vanquish today. Values are just starting to move ahead, and early cars are starting to sell for between £60,000 and £75,000, while a nice S is £100,000 and an Ultimate Edition [the run-out model, just 50 made] is way beyond that. Predictably, mileage, service history and condition count most, but specification also plays a part.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin/Vantage magazine
Last updated: 26th Jan 2016
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Aston Martin Vanquish cars for sale

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Aston Martin Vanquish
97517 247000 GBP
  • ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH S 2+2 Auto

    £189,995 £189,995

    Type: Used Year: 2007 Make: ASTON MARTIN Model: VANQUISH Trim: S 2+2 Auto Body: Coupe Trans: Automatic Mileage: 5528 Engine Size: Ext Color: Onyx Black

    • Mileage: 5528 mi
    For sale
    Kahn Automobiles
    01270869747 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Aston Martin Vanquish 'S' 2 + 2

    £125,000 £125,000

    Chassis Number: SCFAC143X5B 501710 Engine Number: AM06/10074 UK Registration Number: LF 05 GSV Date of first reg: 22nd March 2005 Exterior colour: Black Hood: Interior colour: Charcoal Current Odometer reading: 39,500 Mileage Warranty: Steering: Right Transmission: Semi-Auto Options: Heated seats,Heated windscreen,2 + 2 Specification,Air conditioning,Power assisted steering,Electric windows,Sequential 6 speed transmission, switchable Sports Exhaust Background Background: The Vanquish had a controversial birth. It had been given a big build up in time for its UK debut at the 2000 Birmingham Motor Show, but it created more headlines by not appearing at the NEC. It was reported that Dr Ulrich Bez, the Chief Executive of Aston Martin, was unhappy with the fact that the Vanquish was using dashboard air vents from a Ford Ka. Despite the quality of the parts, he was not prepared for a £164,000 flagship supercar to share parts quite so obviously with a £7,000 shopping special. It reflects Aston Martin’s approach to the Vanquish – it was a flagship model designed to compete with the Ferrari 550 Maranello, a car that Aston Martin forensically examined to understand the quality standards requ

    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vanquish

    £144,950 £144,950

    Variant name:Coupe ,Variant: V12 [568] 2+2 2dr Touchtronic Auto Aston Martin Edinburgh present this beautiful Vanquish Coupe finished in the rare Morning Frost Metallic. The interior is finished in Obsidian Black with full red stitching which compliments the red brake calipers perfectly. This Vanquish comes fully approved under the Aston Martin Timeless programme with a full AM service history and carries the manufacturer's warranty until December 2018. Contact our team for more information, tailored finance packages available, nationwide delivery available.

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 4562 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
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