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V8 Vantage Le Mans V600
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  Aston Martin V8 Vantage Le Mans V600
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2000
Numbers built:40
Author:Chris Pratley
Last updated:August 14, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith the introduction of European emission regulations in 2000, Aston Martin's 30 year old, Tadek Marek designed V8 was improved with a 4 valve/cylinder head provided by Callaway and finally supercharged. The Vantage was already out of favour with US authorities and the decision was taken to finally retire it. Aston didn't believe in letting it go with a whimper, but decide to give it a fitting send off with a limited run of 40 cars built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Aston DBR1's win in the 1959 Le Mans 24hr race.

With the Virage shape and chassis being the basis on which the Vantage and its derivatives being retired at the same time to make way for the V12 Vanquish and its more modern production techniques this was also the last of the truly hand built cars from Aston and its Newport Pagnell works that had housed Aston since the acquisition of Tickford coachworks in 1954.

The noted changes from the Vantage are largely shared with the V600, but some body work distinguishes the two. The side vents went away from the Vantage's squared shape and returned to the DBR1s truncated ellipse, it gained much larger bonnet vents and the not universally loved nostrils.

Mechanical upgrades included forged hollow spoke Dymag wheels; AP Racing brakes; Eibach springs; Koni adjustable shocks; stiffer roll bars and an interior that featured a Titanium finish to the dash surrounds. It was dominated by a large tachometer, which was useful as there was no automatic option - manual only.

These and the optional upgrade to the V600 engine allowed the Le Mans to be one of the fasted production GT cars whilst retaining all the luxury trimmings that Aston Matins are famous for. These were neither for the faint-hearted, nor were available unless a large amount of disposable income was at hand. In addition to the list price in excess of GBP230,000, the fuel consumption never got to better than "poor" even on motorway driving, and when used in a spirited manner "alarming" has been a term attributed to its thirst. This is all forgiven though for its speed (0-100km/h in 4s, 0-100m/h in 9.9s) and its workmanship.

It took four months to hand-beat the aluminium panels and stitch the trim and over 70 hours on the engine alone. Because of its exclusivity, luxury and performance the V600 Le Mans remains as the ultimate expression of Aston Martin's history of craftsmanship.

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  Article Image gallery (3) Specifications User Comments (5)