Aston Martin first put a V-8 in their cars in 1969, and through the Seventies, it became obvious the engine had the capability to do much more. Announced on February 18, 1977, the V8 Vantage shared a 5,340 CC displacement with the DBS V-8, but revised camshafts, air box, larger inlet valves and carburetors, new inlet manifolds and different plugs, provided 10% more torque and 40% more power. With 380 brake horsepower at 6,000 RPM, it was one of the worldâ€™s most powerful supercars. The same ZF manual gearbox as in the V8 Saloon was standard equipment. This was enough to give a top speed of about 170 MPH and accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.3 seconds.
Then they took the top off.
By 1978, few new open cars were being built anywhere in the world, and no American automaker was building one. Aston saw prices of their used dropheads in America heading upwards, and with demand from potential customers, decided to offer a convertible for the US market.
In specification, the Volante resembled the Lagonda sedan, meaning instead of the high-compression (now 400hp Vantage V-8), it "only" got the 350hp base V-8. An L82 Corvette could muster all of 220hp in 1978; by 1980, the year of the car offered here, that had crept up to 230; of course, Corvettes didnâ€™t cost $72,000, either. But then, what did? A V-12 Jaguarâ€”coupe onlyâ€”made 244hp. Youâ€™d have to have found a gray-market Ferrari 512BB or 400i to compete and even then, you still couldnâ€™t lower the top.
Inside is pure luxury as only the English can do it: Polished burr walnut, leather, wool and a fully lined power top. With 400 massive lbs.ft. of torque from the V-8, Aston used a four-speed, moving the 3,950-pound car to 60 in 8.9 seconds, with a 150 MPH top speed.
We have confirmed this car works as it should, smooth and fast. As one of only 39 Volantes sold in the US in 1980, itâ€™s a statement of style, speed and luxury few others had the nerve to match.