Aston Martin Volante – today's V8 Brit tempter

By: Unique Cars magazine

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IMG 4824 Aston Martin Volante IMG 4824

Ultimate coast cruiser

YOU HAVE TO admit that if someone says the word "convertible", Aston Martin is unlikely to be in the first few marques that spring to mind. Best known for its hardtops, it has nevertheless put together a decent catalogue of convertibles.

What you’re seeing here is a 1979 Volante and we had a close look at a very similar car some time back, with young John Bowe on board, and walked away impressed. In their day they were a very expensive and exclusive cruiser, with just 878 built between 1978 and 1986.

As we noted with JB, this 1978-on generation was based on the hardtop and set up more as a fast cruiser than an all-out sports car. It ran the then very sophisticated quad-cam (two valves per cylinder) 5.4 litre V8, fed by four twin-choke Weber carburettors. That was good for over 300 horses, tied to either a five-speed manual or a three-speed auto. The latter was a Chrysler Torqueflite, then arguably the best automatic transmission available, and that’s what will be in this car.

Inside, pretty much every available feature was thrown at the model. That included a powered roof, central locking, climate control, of course acres of Connolly leather and a generous helping of walnut trim.

That lot added up to a substantial 1800kg, braked by power-assisted Girling discs all round.

For the parent company, this represented good times. It had recovered from some rocky periods in the fifties and sixties and by this stage was blessed with some fresh investment and reasonably healthy forward orders. The clear link for the marque with the successful James Bond film franchise helped, as did having some high-profile customers, including the English royal family.

And the Volante name? The derivation depends on who you’re talking to: light and rapid if they’re a music teacher, or flying if they happen to be Italian. In any case, in Aston-speak it means you’re referring to a convertible.

Very much out of the grand tourer mould, the low numbers and hand-built nature of these cars means they tend to be carefully assembled and, as a result, hang together well. Plus, they were used sparingly, so low mileages are fairly typical.

This one shows 33,400 miles (53,800km), is priced at $238,500 and is with Brooklands Classic Cars in Vic

 

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