Aston Martin DB7 GT | Long Term Tests | Car Reviews | evo

3 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Aston Martin DB7 GT | Long Term Tests | Car Reviews | evo
Aston Martin DB7

It was back in April 2003 that I confidently predicted ‘Life with the DB7 is going to be pretty special’. Mind you, having just been to Aston Martin’s Bloxham factory to collect a DB7 GT built to my own personal specification, life was unlikely to be anything but. However, nearly a year down the line, it’s clear the only thing I hadn’t considered on that euphoric March morning was how life would be without it.

February 2004

It was back in April 2003 that I confidently predicted ‘Life with the DB7 is going to be pretty special’. Mind you, having just been to Aston Martin’s Bloxham factory to collect a DB7 GT built to my own personal specification, life was unlikely to be anything but. However, nearly a year down the line, it’s clear the only thing I hadn’t considered on that euphoric March morning was how life would be without it.

Now it’s gone, my temporary, privileged access to a lavish motoring lifestyle has gone with it, and I’m afraid to say every journey feels decidedly real world.

I first clapped eyes on a GT at the British motor show at the NEC towards the end of 2001, when the car was officially launched. Then in January, I made a trip to Bloxham to choose the specification. With countless colour and trim options available, I plumped for a thoroughly ‘evo’ spec: Nero black metallic paint, Charcoal leather seats, door panels and Alcantara headlining, carbon trim, Becker hi-fi/ satnav – and a manual gearbox.

It was then a case of waiting three months for the car to be built. Prison sentences must pass quicker.

Returning to Bloxham to take delivery is a day I’ll always remember. Glinting in the airy, converted barn that forms Bloxham’s customer collection showroom, OY52 TFU looked magnificent. Keys were handed over, the doors thrown open and away I went: an Aston Martin owner in all but bank balance.

The three things that impressed me on that first journey were the things that never failed to impress me every time I subsequently drove the car. First and most obvious is the way the car looks. Old it may be, but the DB7 remains a wonderful shape; the GT’s comprehensive aerodynamic tweaks, along with lower suspension, new wheels and a more curvaceous bonnet simply give it more visual muscle.

Second was the way it delivered its prodigious performance. The tweaked 6-litre V12 had breathtaking urge from seemingly no revs, and a voice to rival all but the most exotic Italian machines. With a supple chassis that managed to smother the worst road surfaces but involve on an altogether different level from any previous DB7, the GT was conclusive proof there was life in the old girl yet.

Finally, what always came as a pleasant surprise was how, without exception, everyone seemed to love it. Other drivers, pedestrians, neighbours and total strangers. All felt compelled to signal their approval, either via big grins and a thumbs-up, or lengthy chats over the pumps at my local filling station. Resentment never reared its ugly head, which, given that the Aston cost the thick end of ΂£107,000, coupled with the fact that I only look good for ΂£7K of that, is a tad unusual.

Just ask a Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini driver.

Unsurprisingly the miles piled on easily – it wasn’t a chore, honest – and by the time it went back to Bloxham almost 15,000 miles had been covered. With 7500-mile service intervals we made only one trip to the famous Works Service department, and while the bill wasn’t what you’d call small (alright, it was a whopping ΂£1337), a new set of Bridgestone tyres accounted for more than half of that.

As we’d done a few laps at Bedford Autodrome, plus a few nervously riding shotgun alongside the reasonably committed Jonathan Palmer, who clearly enjoyed his first taste of a V12 DB7, this was fair enough. Suffice to say, with less frantic use you should get a set to last beyond 10,000 miles.

Downsides? Some found the clutch and gearshift heavy work. The cockpit looked and felt very old-fashioned, and taller drivers found the driving position cramped. But that was about it. Worryingly, the GT appeared to have blotted its copybook just before it went back, when the whiff of hot coolant could be detected after a brisk drive.

Fearing the worst, I checked both oil and water for signs of head gasket woes, but all seemed fine. Then I noticed a dribble of water from a seam in the header tank. Phew!

Had the car not being going back the following week, it would have been rectified under warranty.

It’s funny, but I don’t remember missing a car quite as much as TFU. Never a day went by when I didn’t get a buzz spying it from the office window or prodding the red illuminated starter button and hearing the exuberant flare of revs as the gently silenced V12 erupted into life. Someone at Aston told me that once you’ve owned an Aston you rarely stray back to another brand. Clearly I’m the exception to that, but certainly not out of choice.

For those of you who dream, as I did, of having an Aston, I’m pleased to say the reality is as sweet as you’d hope.

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