Aston Martin DB7

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There was a time when Astons were select and first-division footballers rode bicycles and kept pigeons. Then, in 1994, came the DB7, which instantly become standard-issue road-wear for any vowel-mangling premier-league player.

It is easy to sneer at the DB7 – after all, wasn’t it made out of leftover bits from the antique Jaguar XJS – but you’d be so wrong to. The truth is it’s not only a great car, but it can also get you onto the first rung of the DB ladder at a fraction of the cost of any of the earlier machines.

While DB4s, DB5s and DB6s have been appreciating almost daily in recent times, the DB7 is still getting cheaper. So, for the price of a family car that you’d loathe you could be driving a DB Aston you’ll love. Frankly, who cares that the boot’s on the small side and the two vestigial rear seats are only fit for kids on short hops? Such considerations are inappropriate for an aspirant Aston owner.

Twenty years on it’s fascinating to look back at the acclaim the DB7 received following its 1993 Geneva show unveiling. American magazine Car and Driver raved: ‘Short of rowing for Oxford at the Henley Regatta with a double Tanqueray and tonic balanced on your knee, there are few experiences more acutely British than climbing into an Aston Martin DB7.’ I haven’t got a clue what that means, but I think it’s a thumbs up.

Meanwhile, the British press went into full-on, jingoistic cheerleading mode, cooing and gushing with comments like: ‘Not since the introduction of the DB4 35 years ago have we seen a British grand tourer par excellence, a car to take on the world and save the prosperity of Britain’s best-loved car manufacturer. Please! That’s the kind of gratuitous sycophancy that helped decimate Britain’s motor industry.

Back then Aston was owned by Ford, which also owned Jaguar, and the car that evolved into the DB7 was based on Jaguar XJS underpinnings, something that Aston and Ford made strenuous efforts to justify. Likewise, the all-alloy supercharged 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine was an adaptation of a Jaguar unit by TWR. While the Jaguar DNA is ammunition for DB7 knockers, the brawny styling by Ian Callum was pure Aston Martin, and very much admired.

In its first incarnation the 335bhp DB7 was good for 157mph and 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds. In 1996 a convertible Volante followed, then in 1999 the six-cylinder model was superseded by the 186mph (Aston claimed) 5.9-litre V12 Vantage. Nay-sayers enjoy pointing out that the V12 was fundamentally two Ford Duratec V6s welded together.

In the best British manufacturing tradition there were initial niggles with build quality, brakes and ergonomics, but from outset the DB7 was a good car that got better.

By the end of production in 2002, around 7,000 of this entry-level Aston had been made - far more than any earlier model.

Historians say that without the DB7 Aston Martin might not exist today. So what if it’s a bit of a bitsa, it’s got real DB DNA.

Aston Martin DB7 Statistics

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