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1979 Aston Martin V8 Volante

  • 1979 Aston Martin V8 Volante
  • Rare right-hand-drive UK-market car
  • Original colour of Tourmaline Blue
  • Only two owners for almost 40 years

Retained by its first owner for 30 years, this Aston Martin V8 Volante is a rare example of the Newport Pagnell marque’s luxurious Grand Tourer. Only 157 right-hand-drive examples were built using Weber carburettors, before the model switched to fuel injection.

Chassis number V8/COR/15133 was built on 19 October 1979 and despatched on 11 January 1980. An original UK home-market car, it was finished in Tourmaline Blue with Magnolia leather and an Off White hood, and was fitted with the three-speed automatic gearbox.

The Aston Martin’s first owner was James McNeil and initially it was registered in the name of his Glasgow-based company – WJ Harte Construction Ltd – and wore the registration number 6 WJH. McNeil registered it in his own name in 1989, and held on to it until 2010.

It then passed to a new owner who used it for travelling between an underground garage in Scotland and his summer home in Ascona, Switzerland. In 2018, the underside of the V8 Volante was treated to an extensive refresh, with work being carried out on the suspension and brakes. The history file includes photographs of that process, plus two service books featuring stamps going back to 1980, the period sales brochure, leather tool roll and the original Owner’s Manual.

The diamond cut wheels have recently been refurbished and the Aston is presented in its original colour combination. It was featured in issue 228 of Octane magazine, with an impressed Robert Coucher writing that ‘its engine is the heart of the beast. Once fired, it is loud and proud and the whole car throbs with soulful verve… depress the throttle pedal to the stop [and] the big V8 wakes up and bellows, the Aston squats on its rear de Dion axle and takes off.’

Having had only four owners from new – and with two of those accounting for nearly 40 years – this Aston Martin V8 Volante is now offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub in exceptional condition, and is ready to impress its next custodian with its own unique blend of performance and luxury.

Model history

Introduced in 1978, the convertible Volante was intended to broaden the appeal of Aston Martin’s V8 range, which had started with the William Towns-designed DBS V8. Introduced in 1969, that car subsequently morphed into the V8 and progressed through various incarnations. The styling was subtly tweaked and mechanical changes included a switch from fuel injection to less-troublesome Weber carburettors – then back again for the Series 5 of 1986.

There was also a monstrous Vantage model, which was launched a year before the Volante and offered supercar performance. The acceleration of this flagship V8 was described in Motor Sport magazine as being ‘simply stupendous and relentless’.

Aston Martins were still very much hand-built during this period, the brochure for the V8 stating that ‘the quality of craftsmanship and exclusivity is a dying art… But not in the Buckinghamshire market town of Newport Pagnell. For there, in the green country belt between London and the Midlands, is found the Aston Martin factory. A factory where only the best is good enough, and where skill, dedication and loyalty are by-words of a world-famous product.’

It’s said that 1200 hours went into making each V8 Volante, which featured an aluminium body and a 5340cc quad-cam V8 producing 300bhp. There was a choice of five-speed manual or three-speed automatic gearboxes, and this luxuriously finished Aston could sprint to 60mph in only seven seconds and carry on to a top speed of more than 140mph.

Detail differences between coupé and Volante included the latter’s closed bonnet bulge – a feature that was also adopted on the Series 4 ‘Oscar India’ coupé shortly afterwards – plus a burr walnut dashboard. The Volante chassis was also strengthened along the sills and around the windscreen pillars.

The Series 1 Volante lasted until 1986, when it adopted the same upgrades that were applied to the new Series 5 coupé. Production of the V8 – which had done so much to keep Aston Martin going through troubled financial times – lasted until 1989, when the Virage model was introduced.

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