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Aston Martin Vantage V550, V600 & Le Mans: Buying guide and review (1992-2000)

Aston Martin Vantage V550, V600 & Le Mans: Buying guide and review (1992-2000) Classic and Performance Car
Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550
The euphoria that greeted the launch of the Virage in 1989 didn’t last very long. The first completely new Aston Martin in two decades had been warmly welcomed by the press, and by Aston’s loyal fanbase, but within a couple of years sales had fallen off and the mood had changed. The general feeling was that the Virage lacked both firepower and road presence.
  
The boys in Works Service were first to respond to the clamour for something a bit ballsier, and in January 1992 began offering a 465bhp 6.3-litre engine conversion, together with bigger brakes, firmer suspension, wider wheels and tyres, and bulging wheelarches. 
 
It was a bit of a hotrod, but it worked. The press lapped it up, and Works eventually converted 40 cars. (At around £60k a pop, on top of the £132,000 it cost to buy the standard Virage, the boost to Aston’s coffers was as welcome as the boost to the Virage’s image.)
 
Meanwhile, the engineering department was developing the ‘official’ super-Virage, and in September 1992 it made its debut at the British motor show. Simply called Vantage, everything about it seemed right, its wide, low, muscular stance oozing presence but also sophistication, from its jutting chin and fared-in headlamps (three per side, a system borrowed from the late-80s Alfa SZ), through its sculpted sills and evocatively flared arches, to its subtly flicked-up tail and four round tail-lights. John Heffernan and Ken Greenley had worked a remarkable transformation on their original Virage design (in fact only roof and doors were carried over). 
 
Under the newly louvred bonnet, the big news was the addition of twin superchargers, lifting the output of the standard-capacity 5.3-litre V8 to 550bhp, with a matching 550lb ft of torque at 4000rpm. It was by some margin the most powerful production car the company had yet built and, at the time, the world’s most powerful production engine. The top speed was 186mph (measured, not claimed) and the 0-100mph time, despite a kerbweight of almost two tons, just 10.1 seconds. Aston Martin was back in the supercar business.
 
Tellingly, nowhere in the launch blurb was the Virage name mentioned; this was, as far as Aston was concerned, a wholly new model. The interior had been redesigned and now had airbags as an option for the first time (though the air-bagged steering wheel was particularly ugly). The rear suspension ditched the Virage’s complex A-frame and went back to the classic de Dion set-up, while springs, dampers and anti-roll bars were all beefed-up. The 18in wheels, the Goodyear Eagle tyres, the mammoth 362mm front discs and Group C calipers, all were unique to the Vantage, as was the ZF six-speed gearbox, one of very few deemed robust enough to handle the torque. Final development miles were completed by one Jackie Stewart, at the time a member of the Aston Martin board.
 
Deliveries started in late 1993, and, while the Vantage was never going to sell in huge numbers (that was the soon-to-be launched DB7’s job), it hit the mark with well-heeled customers of the old school. Road testers loved it, and schoolboys everywhere had a new poster car. 
 
There was even more to come. In 1998, Works announced the V600 upgrade, which, as the name suggested, lifted peak power and torque to 600bhp and 600lb ft respectively, achieved mainly by adding extra intercoolers to keep the intake temperature down and thereby increase boost, with a little extra help from a freer-flowing exhaust. The extra power, combined with a five-speed version of the gearbox with longer ratios that allowed the V600 to hit 61mph in first, dropped the 0-60mph time to just 3.9sec and 0-100 to 9.9sec, while the quoted top speed was now ‘over 200mph’. The full V600 package included gargantuan 385mm front discs with six-pot AP Racing calipers, while the suspension had stiffer springs, revised rebound rates and an uprated front anti-roll bar connected by spherical joints. 
 
The full package cost £43,000, which, when added to the cost of a stock Vantage, brought the total to £232,950. Initially you had to buy and register your standard Vantage (retrospectively known as the V550), then take it back to Works for the upgrade, but after a few months it was decreed new cars could be registered as V600s. It’s a moot distinction. If you want to be sure a car is what it purports to be, give the chassis number to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust.
 
The last hurrah for the supercharged Vantage, and for the great V8 engine first sketched by Tadek Marek in the early ’60s, was the Le Mans. Unveiled in 1999 to mark the 40th anniversary of Aston’s famous win in the 24 Hours, it had a unique grille treatment, new wheels, revised suspension and special trim. Just 40 were built, and that rarity has certainly supercharged their recent rise in value. 
 

Performance and specs

 
Engine V8, 5340cc, twin-supercharged 
Power 550bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 550lb ft @ 4000rpm
0-60mph 4.6sec (V600 3.9sec)
Top speed 186mph (V600 200+mph)
Transmission Six-speed manual (five-speed in V600), rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2610mm
Length 4745mm
Width 1924mm
Height 1330mm
Kerb weight 1990kg
 

Common Problems

 
• Crash damage is one of the things you need to be alert to, as is rust. The Virage family was built on the classic V8 platform, specifically a shortened version of the ’80s Lagonda. The triangulated chassis sections under the sill pods tend to trap water, and it also gets in the B-pillar, so you get rust inside the door-shuts. You can also find it bubbling up on the leading edge of the front wing.
 
• Pay particular attention to the chin spoiler because if it needs to come off it means removing the intercoolers and oil coolers and all the pipes that go with them, so it’s a really big job.
 
• The spoiler might have been bashed because the front springs sag, and the car is very nose-down. Even if the miles are very low – and that applies to most of them – springs, dampers and bushes degrade over time and need replacing. With all the weight, bushes get a hard time generally, as do the gearbox and differential mountings with all the torque.
 
• Look for oil weeping from the head gaskets and also the oil supply pipe at the back of the engine; it’s enormously difficult to get to because it’s right up against bulkhead, so it’s probably something you’d live with until you needed to pull the engine forward or remove a cylinder head for other work.
 
• The good news is that the engine itself and both manual gearboxes are generally robust and give few problems. The rare auto is less suited to the massive torque. 
 
• You rarely see issues with the superchargers, though belts and pulleys do wear – a whistling sound is the clue here. The water pump is a weak point, as it takes the strain of all the auxiliary belts. 
 
• Make sure all the electrics work. Some of the little black boxes are fiendishly difficult to get hold of or are very expensive. 
 
• Servicing requirements are essentially the same as any other V8-engined Aston of the ’80s and ’90s. Budget around £1800-£2000 for routine servicing, with another £1500 a year for non-service items that will inevitably need replacing. Tyres, for example, are £500 a corner.  
 
• Fuel thirst is almost comically extreme: when Autocar tested a V550, they recorded an average of 11.6mpg. But then no-one buys a Vantage for its fuel economy. It’s the last of the old-school handbuilt Astons, a dinosaur in some ways, but definitely T Rex. With twin superchargers. 
 

Owners’ clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.amoc.org – Aston Martin Owners’ Club
• www.amocna.org – North American Aston Martin Owners’ Club
• www.astonmartinworks.com – Aston Martin Works
 

Summary and prices

 
To put current values and running costs into context, it’s worth recognising that with a new price of £177,600 in 1993 (V600 £232,950 in 1998), this was one of the most expensive cars on the market. Where are values today? Expect to pay £175,000-£350,000 for the V550 and V600, while the extra special Le Mans is £450,000-plus today. In May’s Bonhams Works sale, an as-new LM sold for £449,500, and the same car today might well fetch half a million. 
 
The real problem for a potential Vantage buyer is actually finding one. A total of just 244 V550 and V600 models means there’s usually only a handful for sale at any one time, and their prices, too, have climbed steeply over the last 18 months or so. 
 
Words: Peter Tomalin // Images: Matthew Howell
Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550 Aston Martin Vantage V550
Last updated: 20th Jan 2017
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Aston Martin Vantage cars for sale

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Aston Martin Vantage
34990 285000 GBP
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £44,995 £44,995

    Variant name:Coupe ,Variant: Coupe 4.3 V8 N400 Nurburgring Sports Shift 2008 '08' reg with 18,650 miles. Bergwerk Black with Obsidian Black Leather, Silver Contrast Stitching, Micro Spin Alloy Facia Panels, Taylors Grey Headlining, High Spec Alarm, Red Brake Calipers, Garage Door Opener with Automatic Dimming Mirror. Full Aston Martin Service History and Beautiful Condition. Coming in this week. The Vantage N400 featured a useful power upgrade to the 4.3 litre V8 engine, lifting peak power to 400 bhp and peak torque to 420 Nm. The car also came equipped with a new Sports Pack as standard which offered subtly different driving dynamics tailored to enthusiasts who were seeking even more responsive handling. The Sports Pack comprised of unique lightweight graphite-finished aluminium wheel type with diamond turning, up-rated springs and dampers and a new rear anti-roll bar (for the Coupe only). The Vantage N400 also included a number of exterior design changes, including a revised side sill design, Magnum Silver bonnet and side strake meshes, clear rear lamp lenses and a bright finish grille. Interior enhancements included perforated black leather seats, micro-spin alloy facia trim and a unique numbered sill plaque. The Vantage N400 was only available in three new exterior colours; Bergwerk Black, Lightning Silver or Karussell Orange, with either Sportshift or conventional manual transmission. Additionally, the Vantage N400 came equipped with a range of optional equipment fitted as standard, including Satellite Navigation, 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System, Bluetooth telephone preparation, HID headlamps, cruise control and memory/heated seats. Black and silver cars used either course silver or red thread for contrast stitching and the Nurburgring Emblem on the armrest. It was also possible to specify a rather more discrete black thread. AML limited production of the N400 to just 480 examples (240 coupes, 240 Roadsters) – why 480? well that’s how many seconds are in 8 minutes, the time that the N400 could lap the Nürburgring. Almost all cars were built during March and April 2008. It is now believed that far fewer cars were actually built making the N400 especially desirable to collectors.

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 18650 mi
    • Engine size: 4.3
    For sale
    Clinkard Performance Cars-Clinkard Performance Cars
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £77,490 £77,490

    Aston Martin N430 4.7 V8 Vantage Manual registered September 2015 (65 reg) finished in Stealth Colour Combination featuring Jet Black Paint with contrasting Silver Clubsport Graphics, Full Argento Grey Leather interior, Lightweight Carbon Back Electric Memory Seats, Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, 19 Inch N430 10-Spoke Alloy Wheels, 700W Premium Sound System, Glass Interior Switches, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth Connectivity, Cruise Control, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, Alcantara Steering Wheel and Binnacle Cover, Red Brake Calipers, Leather ECU Pouch, Rear Parking Sensors, Original Floor Mats, Tracker Fitted, One Owner From New. First Service Completed at 6,569 miles on 11/08/2016 at Aston Martin Sevenoaks. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Mileage: 9100 mi
    • Engine size: 4735
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £47,995 £47,995

    Variant name:V8 Coupe ,Variant: 4.7 V8 Vantage Finished in Midnight blue metallic, full Caspian blue leather interior with contrast silver stitching. OPTIONAL FEATURES FITTED TO THIS CAR Satellite navigation Bluetooth connectivity 19” 5 spoke Diamond turned alloy wheels Heated front screen HID xenon headlights Cruise control Auto dimming rear view mirror Vantage V12 gear stick Tracking system Caspian blue contrast carpet floor mats STANDARD FEATURES Heated seats Aston Martin audio interface Electric adjustable seats Rear parking sensors Multi-function steering wheel Warm Charcoal seat belts Tyre pressure monitoring LED interior lighting Tailors grey Alcantara headlining This stunning V8 coupe is offered in outstanding condition having covered only 36200 miles. Car comes complete with a full service history including a documented history file full of receipts.

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 32600 mi
    • Engine size: 4.7
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage S Coupe Manual

    £97,995 £97,995

    Registered 2017 Mileage 1,850 miles Engine Size 4.7l Transmission Manual Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 20.5 mpg Registered 2017 Registration LF66POV Previous Owners N/A Fuel Consumption 20.5 mpg Tax Band M Tax Cost £535 Colour White Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Stratus White Doors 3 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Coupe Mileage 1,850 miles Engine Size 4.7l Transmission Manual 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 Garmin Satellite Navigation Electric Lumber Support Heated Front Seats Memory Front Seats Steering Wheel - Black Alcantara 2017 Model Year Black Headlamp Bezels Clear Rear Lamps Cruise Control Front and Rear Parking Sensors Facia Trim - Piano Black Aston Martin DAB Radio Black Textured Tailpipe Finisher Black Window Surround Black Vaned Front Grille Brake Calipers - Red Glass Switches Alarm & Immobiliser Xenon Headlamps Power Wash Headlamps Automatic Headlights Climate Control Aston Martin Sports Exhaust Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror Tyr

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 1850 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage S Roadster Manual

    £174,995 £174,995

    Registered 2017 Mileage 650 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Manual Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 16.6 mpg Registered 2017 Registration LD17SHZ Previous Owners N/A Fuel Consumption 16.6 mpg Tax Band N/A Tax Cost £0 Colour Skyfall Silver Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Skyfall Silver Doors 2 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Convertible Mileage 650 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Manual 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 1000W B&O BeoSound Audio System Cruise Control Black Front & Side Mesh Black Headlamp Bezels Black Window Surround Steering Wheel - Black Alcantara Carbon Ceramic Brakes Carbon Bonnet Louvres Carbon Exterior Door Releases Carbon Exterior Pack Carbon Gear Surround Garmin Satellite Navigation Carbon Fibre Splitter and Diffuser Front and Rear Parking Sensors Heated Front Seats Reversing Camera Electric Lumber Support Carbon Side Strakes Facia Trim - Carbon Fibre Clear Rear Lamps Special Q Features Climate Control Aston Martin DA

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 650 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage GT8 Manual

    £260,000 £260,000

    Registered 2017 Mileage 487 miles Engine Size 4.7l Transmission Manual Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 20.6 mpg Registered 2017 Registration GT08FGT Previous Owners N/A Fuel Consumption 20.6 mpg Tax Band M Tax Cost £535 Colour Silver Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Scintilla Silver Doors 3 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Hatchback Mileage 487 miles Engine Size 4.7l Transmission Manual 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 Aero Pack Bluetooth Phone Connection Reversing Camera Special Q Features Embroided Logo in Headrest Special Q Red 12 O Clock Steering Wheel Stripe Special Q Red Grille Details Special Q Red Red Mirror Caps Special Q Red Wing End Plates Red Accents Alarm & Immobiliser 7 Spoke Satin Forged Alloys 1 Owner Vehicle Supplied by

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 487 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £39,950 £39,950

    Variant name:V8 Coupe ,Variant: 2dr Aston Martin Edinburgh present this V8 Vantage in a rare Sapphire Blue with Caspian Blue interior leather with a full AM service history. It's the only one available in the UK and comes fully Aston Martin approved with 12 months Aston Martin warranty and 12 months MOT. Contact our team to find out more about this fantastic V8 Vantage. Tailored finance packages available. Nationwide delivery available. Video available on request

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 44497 mi
    • Engine size: 4.3
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £49,989 £49,989

    Variant name:V8 ROADSTER ,Derivative:VH2 ,Variant: Vantage V8 Roadster 4.3 Sportshift 2dr Auto Black Leather, 19" 7 Spoke Anthracite Alloy Wheels, Satellite Navigation, Telephone Preparation, Vantage Premium Audio, Electric Memory Seats, Heated Seats, Power Fold Mirrors, Cruise Control, Bi-Xenon Headlamps, Reverse Park Assist, Red Aston Martin Callipers, Piano Black Veneer. All Aston Martin Main Dealer History. Part Exchange Welcome. Please Ask For A Finance Quotation.

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 19000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.3
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage S 4.7 V8 Coupe Sportshift II

    £71,950 £71,950

    Obsidian black leather seats, Silver stitching, Tailors Grey headlining, piano black facia trim, electric memory sports seats, heated seats, Vantage S logo embossed seats, sport suspension, automatic 7-speed Sportshift II, 19in V-spoke Graphite DT Wheels, black painted brake calipers, Carbon front splitter, Carbon rear diffuser, DAB digital radio, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth phone preparation, Universal Communication Interface (UCI), Aston Martin 700w Premium Audio, Park Distance Control Front & Rear, electric windows, electric heated mirrors, auto-dim interior mirror, remote central locking, ABS, front and side airbags, trip computer, LED Daytime running lights, Bi-Xenon headlights, headlamps washing system, decorative inlays in piano black, bright finish front grille, Aston Glass Key, two private owners from new, full Aston Martin service history

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 16000 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £85,995 £85,995

    Variant name:V8 Roadster ,Variant: Roadster Sportshift [420] Finished in Onyx black metallic, full Sandstorm leather interior with contrast black stitching OPTIONAL FEATURES FITTED TO THIS CAR 19” 5 spoke Gloss black Diamond Turned alloy wheels Aston Martin 700w premium audio HDD satellite navigation glass switches sport exhaust front parking sensors memory seats clear tail lights comfort suspension Iridium interior trim pack to include grab handles and vent surrounds in Matt Iridium heated seats reversing camera Magnum silver bonnet and wing meshes bright finish front gill Sportshift II automatic transmission full length Piano black interior trim contrast black stitching cruise control STANDARD FEATURES Bluetooth connectivity DAB radio automatic Bi Xenon headlights with LED front lighting electric adjustable seats black Alcantara headlining rear parking sensors information centre multi-function steering wheel power fold exterior mirrors LED interior lighting This stunning timeless classic has the latest media system, it’s offered in superb condition and has covered only 5400 miles. Car comes complete with the balance of a Aston Martin manufacturer warranty until April 2019.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 5400 mi
    • Engine size: 4.7
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £34,990 £34,990

    Benz Bavarian are proud to offer this stunning Lightening Silver Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Benz Bavarian has been established 30 years as of March 2017. We are backed by our own fully approved service centre so you can buy from us with confidence. Our highest priority is customer service, for any enquiries call us on 01332 840272. Specification Parking Aid (Rear) Climate Control In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD Autochanger) Alloy Wheels (18in) Alarm Upholstery Cloth/Leather

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 50507 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £104,950 £104,950

    Variant name:V12 Coupe Special Editions S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: S 2dr Sportshift III Aston Martin Edinburgh present this immaculate, 1 owner V12 S Sportshift with less than 2,000 miles!!! The car was supplied new and serviced annually by ourselves. It comes with a very stealthy spec. Contact our team to find out more about this fantastic car. Nationwide Delivery Available. Low Rate Finance Available

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 1961 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £43,495 £43,495

    COMPETITIVE NO DEPOSIT 5.9 % APR ON REQUEST, 50 % OFF 3 YEAR PREMIUM WARRANTY OFFER, WEAR & TEAR ''INCLUDING WORN PARTS'', PARTS & LABOUR, NATIONWIDE COVER, UPTO CURRENT MARKET VALUE, NO EXCESS, COURTESY CAR, PRICE MATCH GUARANTEED ON LIKE FOR LIKE VEHICLES, LATE NIGHT VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT, ALL OUR VEHICLES ARE HPI AND MILEAGE VERIFIED An Immaculate Rare Stratus White Aston Martin V8 Sportshift With 7 Aston Martin Dealer Stamps,This Car Has A Very Impressive Specification Including: Satellite Navigation, Electric Heated Obsidian Black Sports Seats With Silver Stitching with Matching Obsidian Black Headlining, Piano Black Facia, Aston Martin Audio System, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Headlamp Wash And Levelling System, Powerfolding Wing Mirrors, Garage Door, Bright Finish Grill, 19'' Anthracite 7 Spoke Alloy Wheels With Black Calipers, A 3Yr Warranty Is Available At A Cost Of £3595, But For A Limited Period We Are Offering 50% Discount Leaving only £1795 To Pay. Low Rate 5.9% Apr Available.

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 4282
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage

    £77,950 £77,950

    Variant name:V8 Coupe S ,Derivative:S ,Variant: S 2dr SP10 Sportshift Aston Martin Edinburgh present this rare V8 Vantage S Coupe SP10 with excellent miles and superb spec. This one owner SP10 has a full service history all from ourselves and was last serviced in Feb 2017. The SP10 is a very special edition V8 Vantage S in Continental Europe that takes its inspiration from the brand’s numerous successes on the race track. Contact our team for more information on this rare SP10. Tailored finance packages available. Nationwide delivery available. HD video available on request.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 5825 mi
    • Engine size: 4.7
    For sale
  • Aston Martin Vantage S Coupe Sportshift III

    £96,990 £96,990

    Registered 2014 Mileage 13,872 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 17.3 mpg Registered 2014 Registration AF64FEJ Previous Owners 2 Fuel Consumption 17.3 mpg Tax Band M Tax Cost £535 Colour Silver Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Quantum Silver Doors 3 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Coupe Mileage 13,872 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 Garmin Satellite Navigation Cruise Control Electric Lumber Support Reversing Camera Front and Rear Parking Sensors Aston Martin 12 Month Warranty Facia Trim - Carbon Fibre Will come freshly serviced by

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 13872 mi
    For sale
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