Name Andrew Forret
Other cars BMW 325i E30, Land Rover Defender 110 300TDi
Daily driver Any of the above
Best trip Anything in the Aston Martin
RACKING UP THE MILES IN A BIG GT
When did it all begin? The seed was sown in the ’70s when I saw a picture of a Mandarin Yellow Aston V8 Vantage on the wall of a filling station. Many years later, during a chance conversation with the late Chris Meek I mentioned what my dream car was, but that I couldn’t afford one. Chris replied: “If you really want one, you’ll get one.”
Scroll forward a few years and I came across an ad for two Astons at an auction house specialising in bankrupt stock. Enquiries were made, and I was surprised to find that purchase was a possibility. Further research took me to Aston Martin, then the Club and finally a local specialist who knew the cars.
I placed a bid, but was unsuccessful. I later met some Aston Martin Owners’ Club members at a show at Harewood House and was told that it was possible for non-owners to join. I became a member in 2000, my aim being to find out about the practicalities of ownership and establish which would be the most suitable model to use every day. I also took the opportunity to call in at as many Aston specialists as possible, and they were all very helpful.
Eventually, I decided that the car for me was a V8 – the later Oscar India if possible, manual and, if I was lucky, a Vantage. In late 2002, I placed an advert in the Cars wanted section of AM News and received 14 responses. Over the next three months I looked at almost every one, and settled on an ’1984 Vantage with 32,700 miles on the clock – actually the second car I’d looked at.
In April 1981, Motor’s headline read ‘Aston Martin Vantage – the world’s fastest production car?’ The test figures quoted were 0-60 in 5.2 secs and a top speed of 168mph – not bad for a car weighing in at 1783kg, or 35.1cwt in old money. So has my dream been fulfilled?
Absolutely! I have used it whenever possible, and covered an additional 96,000 miles. Other than driving it to visit clients around the UK, I have been on tours to Interlaken in Switzerland, Lake Garda in Italy, Granada and the Atlantic coast of Spain, Sweden and Norway, the Le Mans Classic (six times) and Monaco (taking in the Millau bridge and Route Napoleon). My other passion is track days (in the Aston), with visits to Goodwood, Mallory Park, Kinnekulle in Sweden, Silverstone, Oulton Park, Guadix in Spain and Blyton Park.
The AMOC organises numerous events around the country, including a spring and autumn concours, and earlier this year the car was awarded first place in the Pride of Ownership Heritage Class at the new factory in St Athan, south Wales (Your events, July).
Has it been an expensive (albeit enjoyable) experience? As with many things, it depends how you look at it. The purchase price was no more than a new mid-range Mercedes. Had I purchased such a car and replaced it every three years, the depreciation would probably have been equivalent to that of the underbody restoration and engine rebuild that the Aston has needed.
Service intervals are 5000 miles but most of this is oil, greasing and filters, etc, which you can do yourself. At 15mpg – better if you take it steady – fuel consumption is what you would expect from a 5340cc V8.
Residual values are another matter, with those of older Astons going through the roof – nice but not relevant if you have no intention of selling. More modern cars (DB7, Vantage and DB9) are now much more affordable and can provide as much enjoyment. My advice is to join the AMOC, buy a car to drive, and always pay a specialist to inspect it first.
Forret gets the Vantage airborne during a spirited run at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in 2013.
Gunning the V8 at #Blyton-Park
with guidance from ex-BTCC ace Mark Hales. Luxurious interior ideal for long journeys. Aston’s 5340cc #V8
provides stonking pace. Alongside Jet Provost at #AMOC
concours. Taking in Spain’s Atlantic coast in 2015.