The David Brown Corporation had been subsidising the running of AML for some time and eventually due to problems with other companies within the group, the specialist car maker had to be put up for sale in late 1971. The purchasers of the Newport Pagnell factory and the two marques were a Solihull based company, Company Developments Ltd, which had such diverse interests as a furniture business, a bullion company and a house builder, but no previous experience in a car manufacture. Once the deal was completed in January 1972, all previous directors left and S.W. (William) Wilson became the new chairman with Charles Warden the managing director. Sir David Brown remained as President and as the Newport Pagnell factory was not then able to build its own platform chassis, these continued to be supplied from the David Brown Corporation factory in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
Shortly afterwards, on the 24th April 1972, the revised Aston Martin V8 (also known as the AM V8) was announced as the DBS V8’s replacement. It would however be erroneous to assume that the AM V8 had been conceived entirely under the new management. Some time prior to the sale by the David Brown Corporation, an update of the DBS V8 was completed by William Towns and identified by the codename MP219, with a new nose and grille and ‘fast-back' tail. Whilst the two headlight nose with separate grille was introduced on the new AM V8, the fast back tail was not and the new car continued with the familiar ‘coke bottle’ side profile of the DBS V8.
Incredibly, the AM V8 continued in production for another 18 years with a steady run of improvements and modifications to the basic concept to the extent that the differences between a 1972 and 1989 model are perhaps greater than the DB4 - 6 series and the earlier DB2 to MkIII series.. Previously the AMOC Registrar derived a way to identify the major updates introduced with the V8 in an attempt to aid understanding for Members and enthusiasts. The five series of V8 (series 1 being the DBS V8) were neither part of the factory identification system or indeed recognised by them. Where the ‘series’ system really broke down was that the series numbers for the three distinct model lines did not match. Thus late model AM V8s were Series 5s, late V8 Volantes Series 2 and late V8 Vantage were Series 3. The much missed AML archivist and historian, Roger Stowers, was never very happy with the Club system and so the Register has adopted the factory system since 2005.
In over 17 years of production as the staple model of the range, the AM V8 reached a production total of 1,610 examples, a record for any Aston model at that time. Indeed for many years, the AM V8 was the most popular model owned by club Members until it was succeeded in the late 1990s by the DB7.
So, let us briefly review the five major groupings of the AM V8 saloon and use the old AMOC ‘series’ nomenclature for one last time.
DBS V8 1969-1972 (classified by the AMOC as ‘Series 1’)
Made between 1969 and 1972 in the last years of the David Brown era, these have the distinctive four headlight front together with Bosch mechanical fuel injected engines.
AM V8 (Bosch fuel injection) 1972-1973 (‘Series 2’)
Announced following the acquisition of AML by Company developments. Two headlamp design with the same mechanical fuel injected engine as the DBS V8.
AM V8 (Weber carburettors) 1973-1978 (‘Series 3’)
Engine had four twin choke Weber carburettors necessitating a taller, open, bonnet bulge.
AM V8 (Oscar India) 1978-1986 (‘Series 4’)
Modified body styling and an upgraded interior including wood veneers as standard.
AM V8 (Weber efi) 1986-1989 (‘Series 5’)
Visually very similar to the Oscar India but following the introduction of electronic fuel injection (efi), the bulge on the bonnet was no longer necessary and was omitted.