V8 Vantage (Oscar India)

V8 Vantage (Oscar India) Description

V8 Vantage V540 ‘Oscar India’

In production: October 1978 – March 1980

Chassis numbers: 12040 to 12244 with a 'V' in position 8 in the VIN

- in the same series as the V8 Oscar India saloons

With the introduction of the Oscar India AM V8, from chassis V8VOR 12040 in October 1978, the Vantage lost much its unique coachwork. Both the new integral rear flip tail and smoother bonnet was shared with the standard car. The interior also came in for special treatment with leather replacing vinyl covering and the cloth headlining. The interior was still devoid of wood trim unless the customer really insisted, in the belief that stray reflections would distract the committed driver! The first production car was V8VOR 12040, where the second ‘V’ in the chassis number denoted it as a Vantage. In all there were 44 cars built to V540 Oscar India specification, 35 RHD and 9 LHD including a single ‘cosmetic’ for the North American market. Only a single car was built with automatic transmission.

V8 Vantage V580 ‘Oscar India’

In production: March 1980 – December 1982 (GKN alloys); January 1983 – December 1985 (BBS alloys)

Chassis numbers: 12248 to 12506 with a 'V' in position 8 in the VIN

- in the same series as the V8 Oscar India saloons

From early 1980, a revised engine, identified as the V580 series, was introduced in order to have a common basic specification throughout the entire V8 range. The new cylinder head was similar to that already fitted on the Lagonda, retaining the 1.35 inch exhaust valves but with 2.1 inch inlet valves. With a new piston standardised across the range (with the exception of Federal engines), all V8s shared the same 9.3:1 compression ratio. The major difference between the regular V8 and a Vantage specification V8 was the specification of the camshafts. A further development in 1982 was the adoption of the Lucas 'Constant Energy Ignition' system which gave a better spark throughout the rev range and replaced the outdated Lucas OPUS system. Burr walnut dash and cappings whilst still optional were appearing in more and more cars. The first V580 engined Vantage was V8VOR 12248 and a total of 42 cars, 27 right hand drive and 15 left hand drive and again with a single car with automatic transmission. None are believed to have been built to cosmetic Vantage specification or sold in the USA.

V8 Vantage V580 BBS

From the introduction of the Vantage, the Pirelli CN12 255/60 VR 15 had been the favoured tyre on the GKN wheel with a 7 inch rim. However, Pirelli had difficulty maintaining consistent quality with that tyre, so in 1978 it was replaced with the ‘fashionable’ Pirelli P7 of the same size. These did not really suit the Vantage and handling was adversely affected. From May 1981, a larger P7, 275/55 VR15 was fitted to improve grip, but to stay in place on the 7 inch rim, required inflation to high pressure which again was detrimental to both ride and handling. Thus the solution from early 1983 was the adoption of 8 inch wide BBS wheels which proved very much more satisfactory, allowing the tyre to be run at a lower pressure and yet sit on the road with more effect. To accommodate the wider wheel and tyre combination, the top of the wheel arches gained a noticeably wider lip. So far as we can tell, burr walnut had become a standard feature of the Vantage. The first V580 BBS Vantage was V8VOR12353, followed by V8VOR12360.

A little later in 1984, the steering column was changed to one supplied by General Motors with tilt adjustment and revised control stalks. Also a neat, new, two-spoke steering wheel completely covered in leather replaced the previous three-spoke item.

Total V580 BBS Vantage production reached 94 cars, of which 53 were right hand drive mostly for the British market and 41 left hand drive for mainland Europe and the Middle East. Two of these were sold with automatic transmission although this was still not an official option for the car.

V8 Vantage (Oscar India) Specification

Body / Coachwork
2-door 2+2 coupe
Steel platform chassis with handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels
Dual 7'' quartz-halogen headlamps with additional Cibie 7'' driving lights in blanked off grille. Mesh grille in hot climates
Front airdam and integral 'tea-tray' rear spoiler
Full Connolly leather interior including leather dash, top-roll and headlining
Coolair air-conditioning system
Bucket seats with tilting squabs to allow access to the rear seats
Burr Walnut facia and cappings optional
Front-mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank. Engine number prefix V540/, suffix /V, later V580/, suffix /V
Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 9.25:1 (V540) later 9.3:1 (V580)
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
Lucas 35 DM8 CE (Constant Energy) system from 1982
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
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 (to 1983)
Bolt-on, 5-stud, 15 x 8J BBS Mahle cast aluminium alloy wheels (from 1983)
Pirelli CN12 255/60 VR15 (to late 1978)
Pirelli P7 255/60 VR15 (from late 1978)
Pirelli P7 275/55 VR15 (from 1981)
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
Front: ventilated steel discs, 267 mm (10.51") diameter
Rear: ventilated steel discs, 264 mm (10.39") diameter mounted inboard
Tandem master cylinders and dual vacuum servo assistance
Length: 4,667 mm, 4,700 mm with overriders
Width: 1,829 mm, from 1983 with BBS wheels, 1,892 mm
Height: 1,327 mm
Kerb weight: 1,727 kg, later quoted as 1,818 kg
Wheelbase: 2,610 mm
Front track: 1,499 mm, 1,520 mm with GKN wheels and 275/55 tyres, 1,554 mm with BBS wheels
Rear track: 1,520 mm, 1,539 mm with GKN wheels and 275/55 tyres, 1,586 mm with BBS wheels
Fuel tank capacity: 113.6 litres, later stated as 104.6 litres
Performance (Motor Magazine, April 1981)
Maximum speed: claimed 168 mph
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 5.2 seconds
Prices (including UK purchase tax/VAT and car tax where applicable)
October 1978: £25,998
April 1979: £29,000
November 1979: £32,500
April 1980: £37,000
March 1981: £40,000
February 1982: £42,500
February 1983: £45,000
April 1984: £50,000
June 1985: £57,000
January 1986: £59,500

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