A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £202,500
The first Aston Martin V8 Volante rolled off the production line at Newport Pagnell in 1978 to worldwide acclaim and went on to be Aston's saviour as, much like its older siblings, the DB5 and DB6, the V8 Volante kept the order books full by conquering the North American market. As the convertible version of the new luxury Oscar India V8, the car had the brutish good looks of an aristocratic rugby player and the interior refinement of a gentleman's club. If the contemporary Ferrari of its day was likened to a 'prancing playboy in snakeskin loafers' the Aston V8 Volante was the solid chap in burnished brogues, equally at ease in town or country.
When Timothy Dalton took over as James Bond in the 1987 film The Living Daylights he did so behind the wheel of the most appropriate car of the era, a V8 Vantage Volante. Bestowing the virtues of its heritage, luxury and power, the V8 Vantage Volante helped ease Mr Dalton into the role of the quintessentially British spy. The car was to feature prominently throughout the film, with the "Winterised" version eventually falling foul of its own self-destruct button. The Cumberland Grey Vantage Volante that starred in early scenes of the film belonged to the, then, Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, Victor Gauntlett, who lent it to EON Productions for filming. A Cumberland Grey V8 Vantage Coupe with standard 'Oscar India' coachwork, bearing the same registration number as the earlier screen Volante will return in the latest Bond film No Time To Die.
Mr Gauntlett’s car, and indeed this superb example, were two of just six cars benefiting from factory engine upgrades to Vantage specification before delivery as customer special orders, clothed in standard Series I Volante bodies. The upgrade to Vantage specification on this car, chassis # 15321, was carried out by Aston Martin Lagonda’s Special Department in January 1984 in the month of first registration. The increase in power and performance was significant and these six cars retained the slender lines of the standard Volantes without the ostentatious side skirts and front and rear spoilers of the brawnier Vantage Volante. Interestingly when HRH Prince Charles ordered his new Vantage Volante in 1987 he preferred the Vantage engine but with the more understated styling of the standard Volante such as this car, and a further 21 Prince of Wales specification cars were produced, which have become highly sought after. It could be argued that this car, with its factory Vantage engine and standard Volante coachwork is the predecessor to the celebrated Prince of Wales specification cars.
Delivered new to its first owner, a Mr T Mitchell of Moorgate, London via Aston Martin (Sales) Ltd. of Sloane Square, the car is accompanied by a comprehensive history file, including many invoices and old MOTs, plus its original handbook, warranty card and fitted luggage. Owned and cherished since 2014 by our vendor, the fifth registered custodian, who re-painted the car from its original Windsor Red to arguably the better colour, Cumberland Grey. A new mohair hood was fitted at this time also. The original cream leather interior is complemented by matching leather tonneau. The car benefited from a conversion to an original Aston manual ZF gearbox by Aston specialists Richards of England, Lincoln and mated to an RS Williams-supplied short shift kit which gives a smooth and quick gear change. The original automatic gearbox has been retained for the next owner. The Ronal alloy wheels and a Prince of Wales specification, Nardi wood-rim steering wheel were also fitted at this time and both original steering wheel and BBS alloys are also included in the sale. The re-painting and mechanical and cosmetic enhancements were all carried out less than 10,000 miles ago and the odometer now reads some 51,000 miles. The performance is as one might expect from such a well-sorted car, the engine bursts into life with three pumps of the accelerator, the hood withdraws with civility and the bark of the exhaust is sufficient to bring a smile but not a raised eyebrow.
To conclude, it is an honour for Silverstone Auctions to offer a car that has so many distinguishing features setting it apart from the standard Volante and be-skirted Vantage Volante. The fact that it’s a factory-upgraded V8 Vantage Volante from new, as confirmed in numerous books and the factory-fitted brass plaque, is special enough but to share the production line with the Victor Gauntlett The Living Daylights car and now finished in an identical colour, is truly special.
In addition, it’s provenance as arguably the predecessor of the eminently desirable Prince of Wales cars, some of which have sold for more than £500,000 in recent years, is the distinguishing feature that offers the buyer a unique opportunity, at a very competitive auction estimate. This car truly has a licence to thrill.