The true V8 Vantage Volante, first shown at the 1986 Birmingham Motor Show (see below), was distinctly more than Volante with powerful Vantage spec engine. The powerful convertible was visually distinguished by a huge front air dam, extra wide wheel arches, massively flared sills and a smart flip tail. The styling was unique to the Vantage Volante and was not generally made available on the closed Vantage although a few modified example exist.
As well as dark blue, the colour combination of Suffolk Red with magnolia piped red was popular on the V8 in the late ’80’s. AM cognoscenti now refer to such cars as ‘Lipstick Specials’ and are often found keenly priced by dealers. Twenty five years later, it is extremely rare to see such a bold colour on a new AM.
With a maximum speed in excess of 160 mph, these were the fastest four seater convertible cars of their time. Indeed even a mid 90’s Virage Volante couldn’t keep up with one of these – although a 6.3 Volante would come close. The Cumberland Grey car below is, believe it or not, approaching 160mph on the runway at RAF Cottesmore during an AMOC meeting in 2007.
Below is I think my only photograph that shows a standard V8 Vantage Volante in the company of a PoW specification Vantage Volante. Essentially the same car but so different in attitude.
A much coveted car in it’s day (it was the late 1980’s after all), yet during much of the 1990’s the Vantage Volante was seen by some as somewhat overt and lacking in good taste. Certainly the excess of bodywork add-ons weren’t really necessary for aerodynamic performance but did lend the car real road presence. Twenty years on and there is something of a 1980’s renascence, the V8 Vantage Volante is coming back into vogue with prices edging upwards towards £100,000 again. During a production run of just 3 years, a total of just 167 examples of the V8 Vantage Volante were built. Of the 167 cars, 58 left hand drive examples were exported (principally to the USA) with the less powerful Weber Marelli Fuel Injected engine (see the next page). In the late 1980’s, is was perhaps Aston’s most popular model even though the price had jumped to an enormous £135,000 in 1989.
So this leaves a total of 109 true V8 Vantage Volantes with the full ‘580X-pack’ 400+ bhp engine of which 30 are automatics and 79 manuals. 33 of these cars were left hand drive (principally for the European market) and 76 with right hand drive for the UK market.
One of my all time favourite Astons………….