In its time, it was the most powerful and extreme car of the British brand. And for astronomical money.
At the end of 1993, the first customers began to receive the Vantage in a special version V550. In the meantime, Jeremy Clarkson was enough to praise it in his test in The Sunday Times. He wrote: “To say that the driving performance is explosive is like saying that the space shuttle is a very well-thought-out thing… you’ve never felt or heard anything like it in your life.”
As you can tell from the name, the car had 550 imperial horsepower, which is 410 kW and 558 metric horsepower, and to top it all off, the torque was 550 pound-feet, or 746 Nm. All this thanks to not one, but two Eaton M90 superchargers – each in charge of one bank of cylinders of the 5340cc V8 engine3.
Despite the two-tonne weight, this 4745 mm long coupe sprinted to 96 km/h in 4.6 seconds, with power going only to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. The maximum speed was 300 km/h. Slowing down was the job of an efficient braking system with 362mm discs at the front with four-piston calipers from AP and 310mm discs at the rear. By the way, these were the largest brakes that were mounted on a production car at that time.
In terms of design and luxury, Aston hinted that “More is more,” so the car received straight-six heated headlights, additional cooling and air vents, and a muscular aluminum fairing. Inside you found walnut wood, Connolly leather, Wilton carpets and power front seats. An airbag was hidden in the steering wheel – the first ever used by Aston Martin. The basic price of the V550 model was 177,000 pounds, which would be roughly 440,000 pounds in today’s money – or 12.3 million crowns. Between 1993 and 1999, only 239 units were produced.
Paul Spiers, President of Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, the historic home of Aston Martin and where many of its most iconic models, including the V8 Vantage V550, have been handcrafted. “The V550 has a particularly special place in my heart, as does the small group of lucky owners who own one of these cars. I remember the launch of the car and well remember the excitement of the dealership staff and buyers alike when the first cars started being delivered to customers from Newport Pagnell 30 years ago. However, what impresses me most today is how the V8 Vantage V550 has matured into a true modern classic. It is a great rarity to see a car like this on the road, let alone be lucky enough to drive one, and I am delighted that at Aston Martin Works we are continuing to service, repair and now restore these exceptional cars.” he added.