Home » You Can Buy A Manual Aston Martin V8 Vantage For The Price Of A New Ford Mustang

You Can Buy A Manual Aston Martin V8 Vantage For The Price Of A New Ford Mustang

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Here at The Autopian, we love a good alternative to the automotive status quo, and here’s an example. For the past six decades or so, the Porsche 911 has been the sports car to beat on the continent. While other European sports car makers haven’t managed to topple the 911’s reign, they’ve created some gorgeous machines along the way, and one of the best-looking is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a beguiling yet surprisingly practical two-seat liftback coupe with a soundtrack to die for.

It’s a good thing the beauty of this car never faded because Aston Martin made various variants over a wild 13-year lifespan. Thankfully, that means there’s a Vantage for everyone. The epic V12 Vantage is a proper collector car today, and the later models still command strong price tags, but early models with the V8 and the six-speed manual don’t cost anywhere near supercar money.

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In fact, you can find stick-shift 2006 examples going for new Ford Mustang GT money. Will the Mustang be faster? Absolutely, but it won’t stun like a V8 Vantage or feel as exquisitely made as this baby Aston. Intrigued? Good. Now let’s get into it.

What Are We Looking At?

Manual V8 Vantage Black 2

If we were to compile a list of the best-looking cars of the 21st century, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage would certainly be on it. With sultry styling courtesy of Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage still draws stares wherever it goes. Everyone adores it, partly because it’s bite-the-back-of-your-hand gorgeous and partly because it’s charming in a way many exotic cars aren’t. In a world of Italian status quo machines, this Brit’s a left-brained choice. It’s also a bit of a curse — Aston Martin seems incapable of building any two-seater this pretty ever again, although you can’t help but wonder, is that an achievable feat for anyone who walks this earth?

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Manual V8 Vantage Red Engine

Although this baby Aston came with a variety of engines over its lifespan, it started out with a dry-sump naturally-aspirated 4.3-liter V8 making 380 horsepower at 7,300 rpm and 302 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm, and that’s what you’ll find at the affordable end of the spectrum. Those aren’t immense numbers, but when mated to a six-speed manual transaxle, the engine’s peaky character makes for brisk progress. In Car And Driver instrumented testing, an early V8 Vantage dashed from a dead stop to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, a completely exploitable number in the real world. It’s still a fast car that makes a dizzying symphony of explosive noises, but it’s not so fast that you can’t stop and smell the roses.

Manual V8 Vantage Red Interior

Because the V8 Vantage shares an architecture with the larger DB9 and DBS, it is on the heavy side for a two-seat sports car, weighing in at 3,600 pounds. Compound that curb weight with properly heavy steering and a shifter that requires some shove, and you get a beautiful brute of a coupe, a chainsaw as opposed to a scalpel. It’ll still slice up chicanes, it just might end up leaving a big, dirty pair of elevenses as you power your way out. That being said, the curb weight and masterful suspension tuning result in a remarkably comfortable ride, even over some truly horrific tarmac. The V8 Vantage isn’t for everyone, but if you ever get the chance to drive one, definitely don’t say no.

How Expensive Are We Talking?

Manual V8 Vantage Grey 1

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While these gorgeous Astons originally carried six-figure price tags, early stick-shift examples have depreciated enough to be in new Mustang territory. A 2024 Ford Mustang GT Premium starts at $48,075 including freight, and you can absolutely get into a manual V8 Vantage for less money than that. Here’s a 2006 model that hammered last week on Bring A Trailer for $48,000 with just 15,000 miles on the clock. That’s nigh-on new, and a genuinely exotic machine to boot.

Manual V8 Vantage Black 1

Alright, but let’s say that a black interior just doesn’t do the trick for you. Well, here’s a black 2006 manual V8 Vantage coupe with Sandstorm seat inserts that sold on Bring A Trailer in February for $43,500. With just 35,000 miles on the clock and a clean Carfax, this thing’s just begging to be driven.

Manual V8 Vantage Red 1

If greyscale colors aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Although it might take some time to find a colorful manual V8 Vantage for sale, they do pop up from time to time. Case in point, this Merlot Red over Sandstorm 2006 car with 49,000 miles on the clock, which hammered on Bring A Trailer back in January for just $36,750. Sure, the Chancellor Red headliner and door cards make it unusual, but this is a well-bought example of an exhilarating coupe.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Manual V8 Vantage Grey Engine

Would you believe not much? As far as used exotics go, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is among the most reliable of the bunch. The big thing to watch out for is a leaky front timing cover, a commonly reported issue that’s incredibly labor-intensive to sort. Figure nearly 20 hours of book labor, and a bill somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000. Ouch.

Speaking of expensive repairs, having a clutch done on a V8 Vantage is a costly proposition. Not only are these transaxle cars, one clutch disc and pressure plate retails for north of $1,500. Add in the fact that a flywheel costs nearly $3,600, and you might as well upgrade to a VelocityAP twin-disc clutch and lightweight flywheel package, either from VelocityAP itself or from reputable parts specialist Redpants.

In addition, the O-rings in these cars’ air oil separators leak with age, but an air oil separator is dirt-cheap. Even at Scuderia Car Parts, this part’s listed at less than $52, an absolute bargain. Less of a bargain is the likelihood of the dashboard leather shrinking and lifting around the edges. This cosmetic issue can cost a few hundred dollars to sort, and while that’s small change for exotic car upkeep, it’s worth noting because it happens to nearly all V8 Vantage examples. Still, that’s really all that goes wrong on these cars. They’re remarkably solid, and genuinely daily driver material.

Should You Buy An Aston Martin V8 Vantage?

Manual V8 Vantage Grey 2

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If a pre-purchase inspection checks out and you either budget for a clutch and flywheel or buy a car with proof of a recent clutch and flywheel change, a manual Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a heavily depreciated exotic car worth buying. It’s nowhere near as temperamental as a Ferrari, isn’t known to suffer from potentially catastrophic engine issue like the 997.1 Porsche 911, and as long as you avoid the Sportshift automated manual transmission like the plague and row your own, it should treat you well. Oh, and if you do buy one, remove fuse 22. Pulling that puts the exhaust in loud mode all the time instead of merely above 4,000 rpm, and you’re going to want that extra drama.

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

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Defenestrator
Defenestrator
9 days ago

The clutch gets all the press, and it’s a single big-ticket item (that doesn’t actually fail that much), but it’s all the miscellaneous stuff that really gets you. Stuff like the door modules or other miscellaneous electrical gremlins that as often as not require and AMDS to deal with. That means either taking it to the dealer, or shelling out $19K for your own AMDS. Unlike with a lot of other brands, there doesn’t seem to be an aftermarket equivalent.

Parts prices are all over the place. A ton of the drivetrain is Ford or sometimes Volvo or JLR parts-bin and easy enough to find for a reasonable price, but if you have a problem with a seat or a headlight or something be prepared to shell out a few thousand.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
11 days ago

The idea of buying a used Aston Martin for the price of a new Mustang (or any other reasonably priced new car) reminds me of an old James May video and why you shouldn’t… and how it will ruin your life:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=vJNvVXq76Es

Last edited 11 days ago by Manwich Sandwich
I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
12 days ago

I found this gem the other day. The layers of beautiful green tempted me:
https://www.beverlyhillscarclub.com/2001-aston-martin-db7-c-16418.htm

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
11 days ago

And I’m in the market for a ~$30k weekend toy convertible. This is exactly what I’m working for. Now to convince my wife.

I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
11 days ago
Reply to  LarsVargas

Do it.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
12 days ago

Doug DeMuro bought one 8 years ago for $45k with a CPO warranty that covered $5500 in repairs in one year.

Jared Johnson
Jared Johnson
12 days ago

These really seem tempting for a 1-2 year ownership if you had the money to spare and found one where the clutch had already been replaced. The upside for these is that a number of the more normal parts eg: wheel bearings, etc. are Ford parts, so you if your fuel pump goes out you’re not out major $$.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
12 days ago

I seriously looked at these last year, in the UK they can be had for £25k. But I was shopping to replace my Z4C and it’s outrageous service bills, and the Aston seemed like a big step up in service costs.

I used to pass one every day on my way to work and I never got tired of staring at it.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
12 days ago

The only Vantage i want is the V12 Vantage. I need all twelve cylinders.

Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
12 days ago

Love these so much, gorgeous

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
12 days ago

I never thought these looked that good, or all that special.

Between a ten year old Aston with 30k miles and exotic car maintenance and a brand new Mustang with a warranty, a LOT more horsepower and speed, the increasingly legendary Coyote engine, and normal car maintenance? I know which one I’m choosing.

Edit: way more than ten years old.

Last edited 12 days ago by Rust Buckets
BexleySpeed
BexleySpeed
12 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Ill go farther to say aston martins are the most over hyped, ass ugly cars on the planet, and they all look the same. This is supposed to be a community of free thinkers, not Kool aid drinkers.

Ross Fuller
Ross Fuller
8 days ago
Reply to  BexleySpeed

lol, dial back the contrarianism a bit – “most over hyped, ass ugly cars on the planet”…

????

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
12 days ago

Brilliant and I’ve loved these since they came out, but even if I stretched the budget to buy one the maintenance is still a big no thanks. If I was going for a used British exotic with a manual for this price and time range it’d be an Evora all day. Have I mentioned I really like the Evora?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
11 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Yes. Love them. But not the fear of service and repair cost.
And damn the Ever is a sweet ride, beautiful, and mechanically reliable.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
12 days ago

I love Astons because they’re such gorgeous and emotional machines, but I don’t think I’d ever mess with one unless I somehow inexplicably got very wealthy. Balling on a budget with an heavily depreciated Aston is a recipe for pain…and while I admire the case you’ve made for these being comparatively “reliable” quoting a $3,500-5,000 timing cover service and clutch and flywheel replacements that cost roughly 5 large before labor that are more or less standard operating procedure has me less than convinced.

That doesn’t even factor the biggest critique that’s levied against these in…which is essentially that they’re not all that incredible to drive. They’re fine GT cars, but there isn’t a whole lot that’s truly special about them other than the styling. If I recall correctly Doug didn’t much care for his and RCR wasn’t exactly blown away by Tavarish’s example either…although to be fair Brian pretty much hates everything that isn’t Japanese at this point so while I love his commentary I don’t necessarily value his opinions all that much.

Anyway, if you’re going to get an Aston you might as well risk it all with a V12 one, if for no other reason than the potential rewards are much greater. I personally couldn’t ever see myself dropping 50k or more on one of these…and something else to keep in mind is, at least in my area, third hand Astons and other exotics have a tendency to wind up at sketchy dealerships, which adds another layer to the trouble.

For this much I’d rather just buy a secondhand Audi S5 or M240i to be honest. Either will fulfill the GT mission just as well if not better…and although they’re hardly going to be trouble free both those turbo sixes are pretty great mills and they’re paired with ZF8s. I believe there are M240is with sticks out there as well.

Or you could also just not give a shit what people think of you and buy the damn pony car. Come on…you know you want to! Or save up for the greatest car on sale today, the LC500. They’re dipping into the 50s at this point.

Last edited 12 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago

The LC500 weighs as much as a Ford F150 and that grille is outright hideous. I don’t get the appeal.

Of course, the Aston isn’t any better in either regard…

The Mustang at least owns up to what it is and isn’t pretending to be something it isn’t.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
12 days ago

Hmmm maybe we should ask friend of the site Alex Goy how he’s been getting on with his recently.

V10omous
V10omous
12 days ago

$50,000 for an 18 year old “exotic” that’s no faster than a contemporary Mustang GT, let alone any of them made since???

Seriously, here’s C/D’s test of a 2005 GT, it’s close enough to come down to the driver.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15132034/ford-mustang-gt-road-test/

Aston Martin ownership is something I’ll never understand. They all look the same, which might have been striking decades ago but is now derivative, the performance is meh for the money, as is the luxury. The depreciation is brutal compared to almost all competitors. Even these “cheap” examples have a long way to fall yet.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
12 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

While I absolutely adore the styling of these eras of Astons, especially the DBS which I think is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars of the last 30 years, I too struggle with the proposition of actually owning one. Perhaps if I ever achieve the level of wealth where depreciation doesn’t matter, I have a house built around my garage, and I can spend large sums of money on frivolous things, then a DBS will be mine. Until then, I just see one occasionally, appreciate the design, and then wish the owner the best of luck in his slow descent into bankruptcy.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
12 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

This. If I had fuck you money and could afford to buy or lease a new one and not care about depreciation than I get it. They’re gorgeous, they sound great, with a small handful of exceptions they have really nice interiors, etc…and most of all they’re unique.

Every dentist/surgeon/nepo baby/etc in a 100 mile radius has a 911. Or they have an Aventador if they’re obnoxious. But an Aston Martin? That’s a conversation starter, regardless of whether you’re at a cars and coffee or at the country club. They don’t just scream I’M RICH…they say I’m rich but I have taste.

…but buying an old one as an enthusiast of regular to slightly above regular means? The pain to fun ratio doesn’t add up for me. They’re also just…well, GT cars. It’s not exactly a rare or unique sort of driving experience.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
12 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

The interior of this one looks really rather meh TBH. A Phaeton blows it out of the water all day every day.

Last edited 12 days ago by SNL-LOL Jr
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
12 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

….and will possibly be the only thing that’s less reliable than a depreciated British exotic lol

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
12 days ago

If I’m to be stranded, I may as well be comfortable.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Thanks for sayin that for me. The dash looks like ass, but maybe it’s the camera angle?

Attila the Hatchback
Attila the Hatchback
11 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

That dash gives me flashbacks to the beige-interior 2003 LeSabre I drove in college.

Yeah, I know Aston is going to make a great quality interior, but this just seems plain in the wrong way. I really hope this is not due to me becoming too accustomed to the black-as-a-cave interiors in every car you see these days.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
12 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

As fast as a 19 year old Mustang, and as expensive as a brand new Mustang. This has got to be the worst deal in the history of deals.

MrLM002
MrLM002
12 days ago

The first repair bill will also cost as much as a new Ford Mustang

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
12 days ago

I’ve long suspected you were Tavarish. Now I’m sure

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
12 days ago

Didn’t he need an $8,000 windshield after washing it with cold water on a hot Florida day? Something about expensive timing chain guides and top end repair IIRC.

Roofless
Roofless
12 days ago

There is no such thing as an exotic car bargain – you can buy it for the same price as a mustang, you damn sure can’t keep it on the road for the same price.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
12 days ago

Shame these didn’t become more popular, Aston deserved to be more present in popular culture than it is.

As someone who lives in an area where you can actually get these serviced properly it would definitely be a tempting buy if I had the garage space and a bit of extra budget.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
12 days ago

Shhhhh Thomas! Don’t tell everyone how good those are! I want to buy one some day and I don’t want prices to shoot up!

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
12 days ago

I was at an event at the dealership currently known as Lake Forest Ferrari back in 2006-ish – there were tons of beautiful cars, lots of Ferraris (obviously), some vintage Alfas, a Miura, tons of Porsches, etc. However, it was the brand new white V8 Vantage that really grabbed my interest. They are such beautiful cars, and I think they’ve aged incredibly well. I’d love to have one someday, but I’m terrified of the ownership costs.

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