Aston Martin Definition
I've started with the above statement not because it is necessarily true, but it always brings a smile to my face. Most of the visitors to this website do not own an Aston Martin - but at some time in the future, many wish to become ‘members of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world’. I have written this simple guide for enthusiasts (like me) with dreams bigger than their wallet. It should give you a very brief overview of the cars available but I cannot go into great detail about the pros and cons of each model.
Now the biggest problem with Aston Martin ownership is the huge initial cost of these wonderful cars. A brand new DBS costs about as much as an average house in the UK making new ownership feasible for only a very few wealthy people. So, many a first time Aston Martin owner will have to start with a ‘previously owned' example (I couldn’t ever call an Aston Martin ‘second hand’). There is so much to know about Astons before you part with your hard earned cash and this site should only be a starting point. I’m not a mechanic so don't expect me to be able to give detailed advice on chassis condition, engines, problem areas, corrosion, servicing, parts etc - I'll leave such things to the experts. But I hope that this short article will help to focus your mind on some important points you may find useful in preparation for that ultimate automotive purchase. Buying your first Aston Martin should be one of the greatest moments in your life; but getting it wrong could spell the end of a life-long dream. Thankfully with each successive Aston purchase, the process becomes easier!
Since this page first appeared on this website in 2001, I have been overwhelmed by the interest that it has created and the numbers of visitors that have gone ahead and purchased an Aston Martin. Thankfully, a vast majority are incredibly well satisfied and feel that what I have written has been of great help. If, after reading this, you too are about to buy a car, please feel free to let me know.
1. Decide exactly the model that your looking for. Just wanting ‘an Aston Martin’ isn’t really enough. Pick a model, an engine/transmission specification etc. and go for that. I also think you need an idea of what colours you prefer. Colours can be model dependant, silver suits most AM's, red works well on 1980's V8's, green is always popular although I don't do green Astons myself and dark colours are always popular on any model. There must be nothing worse than having a silver automatic DB6 when you really wanted a red 80's V8 Vantage with a 5 speed box.
Check the size of your garage. A V8 is a wide car with wide doors - you might get it through the door, but can you get out comfortably without damaging the car? And the V8 wedge Lagonda is not really that wide, but very long too - an especially large garage is essential. Most owners like to keep their AM garaged, certainly the coachbuilt models. Gaydon AM's a re a bit more resistant to the inclement weather.
2. Join the Aston Martin Owners Club www.amoc.org, get the register (an important document available to members only), read the magazines and meet up with as many owners as possible, even if you only do this using the web forum. It's got a huge worldwide membership with 1000's of friendly and knowledgeable people (who have helped me to understand and enjoy Astons so much more). I cannot recommend the AMOC web forum highly enough to you. With hundreds of members on-line from around the world, you will find great, sometimes conflicting advice and fellowship from people who have been there.
3. Read up on the sort of cars that you will be looking for. Get your hands on the books that cover the model and also any contemporary or recent road tests and magazine articles on your chosen model. If I can help you by sourcing a magazine article please let me know.
4. It’s always better to buy the car in the best condition that you can find. The cost of restoration is almost always greater than the difference between the purchase price of a poor car and a top draw example. All Astons are quite sophisticated cars needing specialist restoration skills - really it would be unwise to buy a restoration project for your first Aston Martin unless you have time, space, tools and experience on your side. Nowadays, DB4's and 5's needing full restorations have sold for in excess of £100,000, sometimes as much as £250,000 - unbelievable. Restoration case 1970's V8's, (see eBay!) can be very cheap but can need very extensive rebuilding costing tens of thousands of pounds.
5. I think originality is important. I even think that cars should only be repainted in their original colours. But Astons are a little like Vintage Bentleys - owners like to have things changed and modified to suit their personal tastes. Cars can be changed from auto to manual (and vice versa), engines uprated to ‘Vantage’ specification, left and right hand drive conversions and interior trim updated to a later model specification. Such cars never quite sell for as much as original well preserved examples but they might not necessarily be bad buys. It's up to you to choose. The more history you can get like service records and invoices, the better able you'll know the quality of any modifications. Anything done by the factory or well known specialists should be of high quality.
Check through the history very carefully indeed. Cars with big gaps should cause a worry, however wonderful they appear. It is not unknown for DB's to be rebuilt from only a few rusty parts and a chassis plate because of the good availability of parts for older cars . These cars can be very hard to spot but they are not genuine, original Aston Martins - beware of such 'fakes'