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2005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage – The Prototype

  • 2005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage prototype
  • Used for the model’s Geneva Motor Show launch
  • Less than 900 miles from new
  • Recommissioned by Aston Martin Works

When Aston Martin introduced the much-anticipated V8 Vantage on 1 March 2005, this very car was displayed on the marque’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show. As such, this prototype V8 Vantage is an important part of Aston Martin history and has an impeccable provenance.

Having been the focus of the world’s press in Geneva, the prototype was shipped to Sydney later in 2005 so that it could be displayed at the Australian International Motor Show. This was a vital new model for Aston Martin, slotting into the range beneath the V12-powered Vanquish and DB9, and giving the marque the long-awaited ‘baby Aston’ that would be a genuine rival to the likes of the Porsche 911.

This prototype is where it all started, and after playing a starring role throughout 2005 it was retained by Aston Martin and kept in storage at its Gaydon factory. It remained there until late 2015, when an extensive recommissioning process was started at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell.

A 140-point check and major service was carried out in December 2015, and in January 2016 more in-depth work was carried out, including the fitment of a new clutch. It was discovered that no filler neck or hose had been fitted for the windscreen washers – something that was due to its prototype status and which was soon rectified – and that standard boot gas struts didn’t fit. New ones were therefore fabricated, a new seal was fitted to the rear screen, and the driver’s side front quarter glass was replaced. All of this work is meticulously catalogued in the car’s file.

In 2017, a chassis number (X20406) was discovered beneath the carpet – as a prototype, it hadn’t been given one in the normal production sequence. This enabled the V8 Vantage to be registered and used on the road, and that year it was entered in the Aston Martin Owners Club Spring Concours at St Athan.

Presented in Light Silver with Obsidian Black trim, it features options such as 19-inch 15-spoke wheels and a heated front screen. Among the few clues to its prototype status is the fact that the stereo is only for show – although it looks standard, it’s not actually wired in!

Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this prototype is the earliest known Aston Martin V8 Vantage. It has still covered only 869 miles, has never been driven in the wet, and represents a unique and unrepeatable part of marque history.

Model history

First shown as a concept car at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the V8 Vantage was intended to appeal to a broader and younger audience than the Vanquish and DB9. Based on Aston Martin’s VH platform – a bonded blend of aluminium, magnesium and composites – it was a compact and beautifully engineered design, the styling being credited to Henrik Fisker.

Beneath the bonnet was a new all-aluminium, 4.3-litre, 380bhp V8 engine that could be mounted low in the body thanks to its use of dry-sump lubrication. The quad-cam 32-valve unit was unique to Aston Martin and was assembled at the company’s new engine production facility in Cologne. It drove through a six-speed transaxle, the manual version later being joined by the Sportshift ‘automated manual’ option.

A 2008 update included an increase in engine capacity to 4.7 litres, and there were various other upgrades such as stiffer suspension and new five-spoke alloy wheels. Aston Martin had also developed the V8 Vantage for competition use, and it became a popular choice for private customers around the world in the FIA GT Championship and the American Le Mans Series.

There were a number of special editions during the V8 Vantage’s long production run, plus a Prodrive tuning package. In 2009, a 5.9-litre V12 Vantage was added to the range, and two years later came the 430bhp V8 Vantage S, which featured further suspension upgrades, a quicker steering rack, and aerodynamic modifications.

The V8 Vantage was a huge success for 12 years and was only replaced by a new-generation Vantage in 2017. The ‘baby Aston’ had most definitely been worth the wait.

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