An example of Aston’s city car, a 2011/61-plate with 52,000 miles, is being pedalled for £24,890, but right now, you can slide into a 1996/N-reg DB7 3.2 coupé with 69,000 miles for as little as £19,995. That’s cheaper than a new Ford Focus, never mind a posh iQ. Of course, the trouble with a lazy comparison like that is that strings – usually expensive ones – are attached. The DB7 is no exception.
The earliest ones are now 23 years old (the model ran from 1994 to 2004) and body and chassis corrosion is not uncommon. Amazingly, earlier cars had better rust-proofing than later ones. Engine and gearbox cooling systems are fragile. Timing chain tensioners can fail, taking the engine with them. The air-conditioning system is troublesome and costs a fortune to put right, because it can involve removing the dashboard.
All these problems and more are detailed in ‘Buyer beware’ below, so check out and compare as many DB7s as you can before putting any money down, especially since the car was largely hand built and production and rust-proofing standards varied.
As for pricing, expect a clean, average-mileage 3.2 to cost around £30,000 and a later, same-condition 5.9 around £40,000. That’s right: there are two engines to get excited about, a Jaguar 3.2-litre straight six producing 335bhp with the help of an Eaton supercharger (it’s known as the i6), and a naturally aspirated Ford Cosworth 5.9-litre V12 with 420bhp.
Today, we’re used to bigger engined versions of new cars arriving first, but the DB7 was launched in 3.2-litre form and the 5.9-litre replaced it in 1999. You won’t want to mash the accelerator pedal on any DB7 you find, but for either engine, expect 0-60mph in the mid-fives.
With the V12 came a new name: DB7 Vantage. This model also had larger, more powerful brakes, which it’s possible to fit to a 3.2 variant using a company such as Trinity Engineering.
The other ‘V’ in the line-up was the Volante convertible, launched in 1996. It had a stiffened body but softer suspension than the coupé. These suspension settings were adopted by the 3.2 coupé from the middle of 1996, when it became known as the Series 2.