1973 Aston Martin Vantage £159,950
An Aston Vantage, but with a more reticent character than the version usually associated with the name, reveals Rob Scorah
This rather rare (only 70 built) six-cylinder AM Vantage has served its life in the ownership of one family. During that time it has covered only 20,000 miles or so, and also spent some years in the early 2000s in the more steel-friendly climate of Spain. Despite the low mileage, the son of the original owner brought the car to the Aston Workshop for recommissioning work in 2016. Its history file naturally carries the records. The work done included a cylinder head rebuild to unleaded spec, a front suspension overhaul, new sills and jacking points and a respray (with all glass removed) in Royal Claret Metallic.
Understandably, the deep gloss paintwork remains largely blemish-free, save for a tiny scratch under the nose badge. Brightwork around the windows is excellent, with no cracks creeping into the joins in the metal. Rubbers and seals were also replaced. There is the lightest pitting in the original wide chrome bumpers, and the finish is a little worn around the securing bolts. The black-finished apron below the front bumper remains stonechip-free. Those bright chromed sill covers don’t look like they’re hiding rust and the car’s underside is very clean too.
Panel fit is largely excellent, although the passenger door doesn’t fit quite as snugly as its opposite number.
Opening either door reveals a very pleasingly authentic cabin, with just enough patina to let you know this is the real thing. Seats were refoamed (again in 2016), so you feel well supported when you slide on to the original leather, and the Aston’s interior has the perfect classic car aroma.
Sitting in a very tidy engine bay, the straight-six fires up readily – probably more so since it had an upgraded alternator and electronic ignition. It settles quickly into an even, burbling tickover. And that delicatelooking auto gearshift couples up motor and drivetrain without any jarring shunt.
Out on the A-roads, all that mechanical fettling comes together in a car that simply feels right. The Aston Workshop replaced the suspension bushes, which goes a long way to giving it poise and the driver confidence to push it through the bends on its pretty-new-looking 215-section Avons. The wire wheels (this was the last series Aston to have them) are in fine form too.
Pushing along, the water temperature needle sits mid-gauge, and oil pressure between 85 and 90psi. The motor doles out its most usable power in the 1500-3500rpm band, and does so in a smooth, unflustered manner, its muted growl always in a low register. Assertive acceleration is always there when you need it, with no smoke from the rear pipes to suggest any worn cylinders or piston rings.
The Vantage’s road manners and demeanour make it a consummate sporting tourer, though its personality is a little more understated than the V8’s. The next owner’s biggest problem, however, may be trying to keep the mileage down.
This Vantage spent some time in Spain. Bodywork and new paint is largely flawless
Interior has a pleasing original feel about it
Straight-six has been upgraded