The DB7 marked another major step change in Aston Martin history. A DB4 for the 1990s, the DB7 was smaller and more affordable than the big V8s that preceded it. With beautiful Ian Callum-designed bodywork, the DB7 was developed by the TWR Group and manufactured in Bloxham, Oxfordshire with production commencing in 1994. Utilising a Jaguar XJ-derived chassis, the early DB7s had a 3,228cc 335bhp supercharged straight-6 engine. Quoted performance was 0-62 in 5.8 and 165mph max. Subsequently produced in a number of guises including Volantes, approximately 7,000 DB7s were built up until late 2004
The DB7 was significantly enhanced in 1999 by the introduction of the DB7 Vantage - the first V12-powered Aston Martin. Its Cosworth-developed quad cam, 48-valve 5,935cc engine produced 420bhp and 400lb/ft of torque, and the manual DB7 Vantage could accelerate to 62mph in 5 secs and reach 185mph. Many subtle, Callum-designed styling enhancements were also implemented, along with revised suspension and braking systems. Customer reaction was phenomenal; by 2001 DB7 sales had increased by nearly 50% from 1999 levels.
DB7 VANTAGE VOLANTE
From Sept 1999 to Sept 2003 the convertible DB7 Vantage Volante was produced at TWR's Bloxham plant alongside the fixed-head coupé version. With 420bhp, these DB7s were the first Aston Martins to be powered by a V12 engine and they featured wider front grilles for for extra cooling along with larger front driving lamps and beefed-up bodywork. The 6-litre motor had sufficient grunt for 0-62mph in 5.0 secs and, for the speed-restricted Volante, a top speed of 165mph.
The most powerful DB7 road car was built from Jan 2003 to Sept 2004. Based on the 420bhp 6-litre V12-engined DB7 Vantage, the 5-speed Touchtronic GTA's power remained the same but the 6-speed manual GT's power was raised to 435bhp. Both featured stiffened suspension, more powerful brakes and an active sports exhaust system, while subtle aerodynamic revisions reduced lift. New 18-inch alloys further enhanced performance and appearance. Claimed performance was 0-62 in 5.0 secs (GTA 5.1 secs) and in excess of 185mph top speed (GTA 165mph).
Just 99 DB7 Vantage Zagatos were built in 2003 with the aluminium bodies made in Italy and final assembly at Bloxham. The famous ‘double-bubble' roof and large radiator grille were unmistakably ‘Zagato', while the body, mounted on a shortened DB7 Vantage Volante platform, offered a 60kg weight reduction over the standard car. Other enhancements included 18" Zagato-styled wheels with revised offset to give a wider track, up-rated brakes, revised suspension and gearing, and analine hides used for the interiors. Powered by a revised version of the 6-litre V12, top speed was quoted at 190mph.