1996 ASTON MARTIN DB7 CoupéView vehicle description
When the DB7 was first seen on British roads in 1994, people didn’t just stop and stare. Strong men wept, women swooned and, legend has it, birds fell from the sky. It was, by common consent, the most beautiful car to come out of a British factory since the E-Type.
What is more beautiful than a DB7? Well, according to Jeremy Clarkson, nothing, “… apart perhaps from the Humber Bridge and the Blackbird SR71 spy plane.”
The DBs of the 50s and 60s were bespoke, understated, very expensive and hand-built by men called Claude who wore brown coats with pens and micrometers sticking out their pockets. They were Savile Row, Cary Grant and winters in Antibes. In the 1970s and 80s, Aston Martin dropped the DB and chased the dollar with V8 Vantage brutes built to compete with the kind of American muscle cars favoured by the Dukes of Hazard. At least Aston Martin, being resolutely British, would have employed real Dukes.
Ian Callum’s DB7 emerged in the long shadows at the end of that era, when Aston Martin was presenting powerful misfits and oddities like the Virage to the world, and it pretty much saved the company.
Introduced initially with a supercharged 3.2 litre V6 supercharged engine loosely based on the Jaguar AJ6 unit, the i6, as it now known, was manufactured between 1994 and 1999. Developing a power output of 335 bhp and 361 lb⋅ft (489 Nm) of torque, the engine came with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox, with the latter being by far the better option for a continental GT like the DB7. A Volante model was introduced in 1996, followed by the V12 Vantage in 1999 and GT/GTA variants in 2002.
Famously intended to be the Jaguar F-TYPE, the DB7’s chassis can trace its roots directly to that of the Jaguar XJS (which in turn can trace its lineage back to the XJ saloons of the late 1960s, which in turn utilized the rear IRS from the Jaguar MK10 of the early 1960s and the front suspension of the Jaguar MK1 of the 1950s…). You’ll be pleased to hear though that the underpinnings were so thoroughly re-engineered by Tom Walkinshaw racing (TWR) as to make them completely different cars.
Built in the same factory that used to build the Jaguar XJ220, the DB7 is the only modern Aston Martin to utilize a steel monocoque body. Not that anyone has ever cared what it’s made from because the DB7 is one of the most beautiful cars of the 20th century.
It is so unutterably lovely that we have no doubt that we’ll look back in 50 years’ time and mumble about remembering when you could buy these for bugger all, as one glides past us. You know, like we do now about the E-Type, the air-cooled Porsche 911s, the competition-pedigree Fords, et al.
While later variants may have got faster and fatter, with different bumpers and bodywork tweaks, the ’94-‘99 6 cylinder model is considered by purists to be the real Ian Callum design masterpiece. Clean and unfettered, svelte and muscular, it is undeniably a treat to behold from every angle.
This 1996 car is true to Callum’s original design brief and comes with the 3.2-litre straight six engine, all of which were built in Kiddlington, Oxfordshire by Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). This is a development of Jaguar’s excellent AJ6 unit.
These engines make 335bhp and coupled with the four-speed automatic gearbox, as fitted to this car, will get the big coupé up to 60mph in a brisk 6.4 seconds.
On the Outside
The silver bodywork appears to be solid but it does have its fair share of dings; the offside rear wheel arch looks to have been involved in some nasty supermarket careless door opening action.
The nose section has a visible crack underneath either end of the front numberplate, there's a scratch near the nearside air intake and a less than factory fresh panel gap between it and the nearside front wing. There’s also a scratch in this area.
The nearside front wheel arch has a deep scratch that needs attention, while at the rear, the boot lid has also been damaged towards the end of the rear numberplate, and sits a little high on the offside – this could probably be easily adjusted out.
The attractive alloy wheels have been kerbed and are scratched as a result. Refurbishment would improve the car’s looks immensely. In addition, the headlamp lenses are starting to show signs of UV damage, although this could be polished out fairly easily.
There’s a rust coloured stain on the front of the nearside sill underneath the front of the passenger door, and further up this panel, where the door mirror mounts, are signs of problems brewing in the shape of slight bubbling of the metalwork. This problem is also apparent on the driver’s door, where the rusting is more advanced.
The offside wing, the bonnet and the roof panels all have chips in their paint finish.
On the Inside
The DB7 has a sumptuous interior with grey leather seats, piped in a darker colour, and backed with dark blue rear panels, that match the blue leather used elsewhere in the cabin.
There are no obvious large tears or splits, but the driver’s seat is showing some signs of wear – the seat base has sagged and really needs refoaming, plus there is a small split in the side of the bolster. If caught now this could probably be repaired fairly easily.
The whole inside could do with a deep clean and some hide food to get it back up to scratch.
The leather gaiter around the handbrake has seen better days and could do with replacing, and the carpets have faded quite badly. They could possibly be redyed, but it’s likely that replacements are needed.
The walnut trim is generally in good order, although the panel that the radio and heater controls sit in appears to have suffered some solvent damage at some point in the past, presumably from someone using an unsuitable cleaning compound on it.
There is corrosion on the pillar mounted door catches, and the driver’s seatbelt catch is missing a plastic cover. The headlining has sagged and will likley need removing from the car, so it can fixed or replaced.
The boot area is clean and all the tools, plus the spacesaver spare wheel are in place.
Under the bonnet the big straight six could be improved greatly with some cleaning and finishing effort.
The car’s underside reveals crusty looking front suspension and evidence of some oil seepage from the engine. In addition the underseal is starting to fail at the edges of seams, leading to rust starting to take hold.
If dealt with soon it’s not a major problem, just requiring a clean up and the reapplication of some underbody sealer, but it shouldn’t be left. The worst area we could see was the spare wheel well.
The Jaguar derived rear suspension is also quite corroded, as are the latter sections of the exhaust system.
The car comes with its original handbooks, lots of old MoT certificates and some old invoices for maintenance work, which include:
2013. New brake hose, radius rod and battery. £282.
2014. Servicing and replacement seat module fitted. £1473.
What We Think
This DB7 represents a great opportunity to acquire an Aston Martin; some TLC from an enthusiastic owner will transform this car without having to spend a fortune. Remember, a lot of the parts used to build these cars were sourced from Jaguar, which means you can avoid the eye watering prices of parts for other Astons.
On the whole we see this car as a great opportunity for someone to get their hands on a genuine classic for the kind of money lots of people would buy an MGB with. Put this way, this represents something of a bargain.
Our estimate for this car Is £10,000 - £13,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
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