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

Classic Cars (UK) - - Driven -

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

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