AM Vantage Description
In production: April 1972 - July 1973
Chassis numbers: AM/6001/RA - AM/6070/R
The Aston Martin Vantage, a car nowadays described as the AM Vantage due to the AM/ chassis number prefix, was introduced in April 1972 alongside the visually similar AM V8. Ever since the DB2 was given the more powerful LB6V engine, the name ‘Vantage’ was applied to the more performance orientated Aston Martin. The 1972 AM Vantage changed all that since it was, if any Aston Martin can be described as such, the ‘economy’ model, out performed by the mighty V8. That said, almost all were built with the most powerful ‘Vantage’ version of the Tadek Marek designed six-cylinder four-litre engine with three twin choke Weber carburettors, claimed to produce 325 bhp.
Effectively a restyled DBS, the AM Vantage had one massive advantage over the AMV8 in that it was considerably less expensive at £6,949, a huge saving of £2,000.
At the time of introduction, AML had just passed into the hands of new owners, Company Developments, although the car had almost certainly been on the drawing board under the ownership of Sir David Brown. Thus it is not at all unusual to see examples of the AM Vantage with the ‘David Brown Aston Martin’ wings badges as old stock was used up.
Modifications to the car from the previous DBS match with those of the contemporary AM V8, particularly the adoption of the twin 7” quartz iodine headlamp and separate black mesh grille. There were a number of detailed modifications too, which included the use of the same ratios in the manual five-speed gearbox as were used in the AM V8, with the 3.73:1 back axle (3.54:1 with Borg-Warner Model 8 automatic transmission). The dished steering wheel was leather covered and the spare wheel was stowed flat in the boot to allow for greater useful luggage space.
The engine of the AM Vantage is virtually identical to that of the DB6 and DBS Vantage and almost all were given the /SVC suffix. The final two cars, the only ones built left hand drive for export were fitted with non-Vantage engines using triple SU carburettors instead of Webers and carrying the suffix /S to the engine numbers. As with the previous DBS, engine numbers bear no relationship to the chassis number.
The dimensions were the almost the same as those of the DBS, except that the length is reported to have increased by 4cm to a total of 462cm or 15’ 2” in old money.
Identification of the AM Vantage is quite straightforward as the car combines the familiar AM V8 twin headlamp and grille treatment together with wire wheels, the very last Aston Martin to have these fitted as standard equipment.
It may be significant that no period road tests of this car have every been found as the company would have surely preferred to promote the much more expensive and profitable AM V8.
The chassis numbers all start with AM/ with the suffix /R for right hand drive or /L for left hand drive. Also the addition of the letter ‘C’ to the suffix indicated the fitting of Coolair air conditioning, and ‘A’ indicated acrylic paint, not automatic transmission.
Production of the car lasted for a little over a year with only 70 examples having been built before the six-cylinder engine was phased out altogether. Another 21 years would pass until another Aston Martin model, the DB7, was powered by a straight six-cylinder engine.
The following prices were quoted (prices in brackets include U.K. purchase tax):
AM Vantage£5,750 (£6,949) Optional extras:
- Air conditioning £295 (£356)
- Webasto sliding roof £172 (£208)
- Radiomobile radio/stereo cartridge £66 (£80)
- Non-standard paint £80 (£97)
- Non-standard trim £80 (£97)