The 1988 British Motor Show was, by any measure, a vintage year for UK automotive. Not only were visitors wowed by the first ‘new’ Aston Martin in 18 years – the Virage – but Jaguar’s mindblowing XJ220 was also revealed to the public.
Perhaps surprisingly, the considerably cheaper Virage actually evolved into a car that was even rarer than the Bloxham-built supercar. Some 280 examples of the XJ220 were eventually sold, compared to 240 of the car below – the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
With only the roof and doors carried over from the Virage, designers John Heffernan (who later penned the Bentley Continental R) and Ken Greenley (who later penned the Ssangyong Rodius) reworked the original design to create something sleeker and ultimately more bespoke. But tooling original features for such low volume vehicles did not come cheap; hence the price tag at the time that works out at around a quarter of a million pounds today.
Debuting at the 1992 British Motor Show, the headline numbers for the V8 Vantage were not just impressive; they were world-beating. The twin supercharged 5.3-litre V8 produced 550bhp, making it the most powerful engine fitted to a production car at the time. Thanks to 500 lb/ft torque, 0-60 was dispatched in well under five seconds, and top speed was – anecdotally at least – nigh on 200mph.
With later, 600bhp models fetching around £40-50,000 more, the asking price of £79,950 for this 1996 Vantage looks hugely tempting. You’ll also be safe in the knowledge that you’re buying from one of the UK’s foremost Aston Martin experts.