1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante
|Model||V8 Vantage Volante|
|Ext. Color||Balmoral Green|
|Int. Color||Tan Leather|
Powering this beautifully finished Volante, the potent quad-cam V8 aluminum alloy engine delivered 300 bhp allowing the car to reach 100 mph in the quarter mile at 14 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph. The coupes were even faster reaching a top speed of 160 mph. These performance numbers competed handily against other top sports cars of the period, but more importantly did so with elegance and refinement allowing Aston Martin Chairman Victor Gauntlett to confidently proclaim the Volante as “a stylish thoroughbred, beautifully built, luxurious, fast and immensely safe”. During the eleven-year run a total of 849 V8 Volantes and Vantage Volantes were built, of which fewer than 500 were factory carbureted Volantes.
This particular Volante, production sequence number 15429, was completed in October 1985 and registered as a 1986 model. This US delivery Aston Martin was shipped to Star Motor Cars in Houston, Texas and sold to its first owner, Ms. Susan L. Smith on February 5, 1987. Originally delivered in dark metallic grey, the car was trimmed in tan Connolly leather with matching Wilton carpets. Ms. Smith retained the car until selling it in August 2003 to the second owner, Mr. James Taylor, Los Gatos, CA.
During this period of ownership considerable work was performed on the car at Autosport Designs, NJ. The improvements included a ZF 5-speed gearbox and selected pieces of the interior wood panels were refinished.
The third and current owner purchased the car from Mr. Taylor in May 2011. Determined to make the car the best it could be, the current owner performed a detailed review of all mechanical and electrical components and began a program of upgrading and restoring the car that was carried out over several years.
The brakes, bushings, suspension components and many other items were either replaced or upgraded.
In 2012, Aston Martin specialists at Proto-Tech Services Ltd in Edmonton, Alberta were contracted by the current owner to bring the car to a high level of performance while meeting exacting mechanical standards. The original matching numbers engine was removed, disassembled, and rebuilt to Aston Martin “Vantage” specifications – with the exception of the carburetors.
During the engine rebuild, the engine was bored from 5.2 liter to 5.7-liter displacement; compression increased from 8:1 to 10:1; four Vantage specification cam shafts were installed; both timing chains were replaced, and the heads were hand ported and tested on a flow bench achieving a 15% increase in air flow. During this time, the factory specified 42 mm Weber carburetors were rebuilt and tuned to the correct specifications. Importantly, while Vantage specification engines utilized 48 mm Weber carburetors, the original 42 mm carbs were retained as they offer superior mid-range performance more suited to typical recreational driving. Continuing with the mechanical refinements, a new clutch was installed, and all peripheral engine components were rebuilt, replaced or upgraded including the water pump, fuel pump, starter, alternator, and power steering pump. The air box and cam shaft covers were ceramic coated for durability and appearance. Full length Vantage headers and a proper Vantage cruciform exhaust were installed along with an improved MSD ignition. The two US smog pumps and four catalytic converters were removed for further performance gains. A European specification air box was installed. Upgrades to the engine resulted in dramatically improved performance for an already potent car. In September 2018 Alpine Autowerks of Calgary, Alberta, tuned and dyno tested the engine which revealed 314 horsepower at the rear axle at 5,400 rpm. Rear axle horsepower is equivalent to 393 brake horsepower at the flywheel, representing an approximate 30% increase over stock specifications.
While much of the mechanical systems were being improved, the original BBS wheels were trued, balanced, and the outside edges custom polished. The shock absorbers were replaced with factory specified “Vantage” Koni units. New rear coil springs were installed with a 20% higher rating than the factory springs, eliminating sag to the rear of the car and improving cornering ability. The interior was tended to, including refurbishing the front seat leather, matched to the original tan color. All wool carpeting in the cabin and trunk were replaced with correct Wilton carpeting purchased from England. The convertible top was replaced in 2016 with all rubber weatherproofing strips needing attention replaced with Aston Martin parts. The hydraulic pump for operating the convertible top was rebuilt. A new power antenna was installed, and the interior leather door panels were removed so that the power window slides could be properly lubricated. All electrical motors such as the power mirrors, trunk opener, fuel flaps, etc. were serviced and tested for smooth operation. In April 2019, the car was repainted by McKay Auto Body in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and finished in Rolls Royce Balmoral Green, a period correct Aston Martin color. The paint was applied to all exterior surfaces, door jambs, and underside surfaces of all opening body features. New stainless-steel bumpers, stainless steel bumper brackets, and new rear red fog lights were sourced and replaced. The rear bumpers, valence and lights now appear exactly as they left the factory for non-US cars.
Today, with just over 50,000 miles showing, this beautifully restored and upgraded Aston Martin presents as an elegant statement of power and prestige. The Emerald green paint is smooth and glossy with a deep luster containing just the right amount of metal flake to make the reflections glimmer in the sunlight. The body work and paint are of very high quality with excellent finish throughout the exterior surfaces. The door jambs, and inner panels have been finished with equal attention to detail. The polished BBS wheels are in excellent condition, shod with a set of contemporary tires showing ample tread remaining. Lenses, glass and lighting are clean and without notable blemishes including the gaskets and various polished trim surrounding these features.
In 2021 All emblems and exterior paint details was professionally polished and Ceramic Coated by Wergs Automotive out of Sarasota, FL
The interior is elegant, refined and while showing only modest use in a few areas, still conveys a fresh appearance. The premium leather seating surfaces, center console, and dashboard are all sumptuously presented, with the front seats bottom cushions just mildly relaxed from enjoyable use. Aston Martin interiors have always been bespoke, offering the finest materials and features, particularly in such elegant color combinations. The dashboard and assorted instrumentation vividly depict the performance heritage, complemented by glossy lacquered burled walnut inserts, and a centrally located clock. The condition of the carpeting, door panels, and other soft interior surfaces is excellent throughout. The convertible top raises and lowers smoothly displaying very good material finishes inside and out. The trunk is in excellent condition with matching tan carpeting, garnished with turned alloy luggage scuff plates draped over the entry sill. The trunk contains an appropriate spare tire mounted on a factory original wheel and jack.
Under the hood, the 5.7-liter matching numbers Aston Martin V8 engine is a gorgeous work of mechanical artistry. The unmistakable quad-cam covers proudly display the Aston Martin name. Four Weber carburetors, the intake manifold casting, and other remarkably clean components that make up the restored engine compartment all offer a commanding presence under the hood. All materials, hardware, and lines are representative of the original specifications including the functional air conditioning. Clearly the time and money spent just on the engine rebuild is evident in the quality the car conveys today. The underside has been properly maintained, reflective of the miles the car has traveled, modestly clean but not detailed for show. The car shows no evidence of structural compromise, though modest scuff marks and weathering to some of the painted suspension components is evident. The geometry of the frame of the car was examined in detail by laser equipment to confirm the car is well within factory tolerances.
Entering the car and nestling into the leather seat, a panoramic view of the impressive hood and expansive dashboard gives you a sense of power and control. The engine starts immediately, erupting into a brutish exhaust note that settles into a deep-toned idle. The 5-speed ZF gearbox is the perfect upgrade, mated with a smoothly engaging clutch which delivers easy shifting even under more spirited acceleration. The power and torque from the quad cam V8 are legendary particularly as the Weber’s deliver that open-throttle roar, releasing 5.7 liters of commanding performance. Handling is smooth but sporty, and perfectly balanced when accelerating or downshifting while reminding the driver of Aston Martin’s racing heritage. Accompanying the car is a substantial file of records from the current owner outlining the details of the restoration work, copiously noted engine rebuild references and parts lists, dyno test results, maintenance and parts records, a copy of the Aston Martin build sheet, and build order.