V8 Vantage (V540)

V8 Vantage (V540) Description

V8 Vantage V540 'bolt on'

In production: May 1977 – December 1977

Chassis numbers: V8/11470/RCAC and V8/11563/RCA (prototypes - AM V8 conversions); V8/11640/RCAV to V8/11758/RCAV with a V in the suffix (production)

- in the same series as the V8 Weber carburettor saloons

The first 16 production cars were all built with exactly the same body as the regular AM V8 but with the addition of the front airdam, grille blacking plate, separate cover for the air scoop on the power bulge and a bolted on flip tail spoiler. The first four cars also had small 5 inch Cibie driving lights and Perspex covers on the headlights. After the first four cars, the driving lights grew to 7 inch diameter type, the Perspex headlight covers were deleted and the anti-roll bar reverted to the same type as fitted to the regular AM V8.

Only two of these original Vantages were built left hand drive for overseas markets, one of which, with a full Vantage engine went to the US as a demonstrator. Subsequently, in order to stay in the US after testing by the enthusiastic press, it was fitted with a Federal specification engine.

V8 Vantage V540 ‘flip tail’

In production: December 1977 – September 1978

Chassis numbers: V8/11815/LCAV to V8/12028/RCAV

From chassis V8/11815/LCAV, the coachwork of the Vantage was somewhat tidied up. The rear flip tail became integral to the boot lid and the bonnet bulge opening was welded shut in production. The flip tail Vantage was sought after due to its unique integral body features that were not shared with the contemporary AM V8 saloon. Also the earlier cars were the lightest Vantages because, as time progressed, owners demanded higher levels of comfort and sophistication which added weight. In total, 23 were built, all with manual transmission and full specification Vantage engine. Only seven of these cars were built left hand drive for export to Germany and the Middle East.

Early in 1978, the Vantage was released for sale into the North American market, however, because of the emission regulations, these cars had the Federal specification, low compression, lead free LFM engine, or in one case, the automatic LFA. These additional 11 cars were all left hand drive and described as 'Cosmetic Vantage', the first of which was V8/11841/LCAV. Most of the surviving cars have been subsequently brought up to full European Vantage specification in the US states which has less draconian emission regulations for older cars. The similar Canadian S specification 'Vantage' is covered in the AM V8 section as it is not a true Vantage.

V8 Vantage (V540) Specification

Body / Coachwork
Two-door 2+2 coupe
Steel platform chassis with handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels
Dual 7'' quartz-halogen headlamps with additional Cibie 6'' or 7'' driving lights in blanked off grille
Front airdam and separate 'fliptail' added, later made fully integral. Bonnet scoop plugged, later sealed
Interior
Connolly leather interior, black vinyl on the dash and top roll
Coolair air-conditioning system
Bucket seats with tilting squabs to allow access to the rear seats
Engine
Front-mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank. Engine number prefix V540/, suffix /V
Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 9.25:1
Four Weber 48 IDF 3/150 downdraught carburettors
Fuel supplied by SU AUF 412 electric pump
Maximum power: not quoted at the time but now believed to be 375 bhp @ 5,800 rpm
Maximum torque: not quoted at the time but now believed to be 380 lb.ft @ 4,000 rpm
Air injection system: AC Delco air pump
Ignition system: Lucas 'OPUS' Mk 2 electronic. 12 volt coil and engine driven Lucas 35D8 distributor
Transmission
Manual: five-speed ZF. Hydraulically-operated 10½" Borg and Beck single dry-plate diaphragm clutch. No official automatic option
Final drive: Salisbury hypoid bevel with Powr-Lok limited slip differential
Final drive ratio: 3.54:1
Steering
Power-assisted Adwest rack and pinion 2.9 turns lock to lock. Turning circle 11.58 metres
Wheels and Tyres
Bolt-on, 5-stud, GKN Kent 15 x 7 '' light alloy wheels
Pirelli CN12 255/60 VR15
Suspension
Front: independent, unequal transverse wishbones, coil springs and co-axial uprated telescopic Koni shock absorbers with an anti-roll bar
Rear: de Dion axle tube located by parallel trailing links and a Watts linkage. Coil springs and double-acting uprated Koni telescopic dampers
Brakes
Front: Girling, ventilated discs, 1.25'' thick, 11.5" diameter
Rear: Girling, inboard ventilated steel discs, 10.8'' diameter
Tandem master cylinders and dual vacuum servo assistance
Dimensions
Length: 4,667 mm
Width: 1,829 mm
Height: 1,327 mm
Kerb weight: 1,727 kg
Wheelbase: 2,610 mm
Front track: 1,499 mm
Rear track: 1,520 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 113.6 litres
Performance
Maximum speed: claimed 170 mph
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 5.4 seconds
Prices (including UK purchase tax/VAT and car tax where applicable)
May 1977: £20,000
October 1977: £23,000

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