The words ‘entry level’ and ‘Aston Martin’ don’t seem instantly compatible, but all things are relative. Following Ford’s takeover, the DB7 represented the company’s first real effort to produce a model that would confer Aston Martin status on a wider buying public. This ambitious policy was a success, with around 7,000 DB7s sold over the production run, a number far in excess of anything achieved by any previous Aston Martin.
Styled by Ian Callum and Keith Helfet, the DB7 is a timeless British classic in its own right, despite beginning life as an evolution of the Jaguar XJ-S platform and the aborted Jaguar F Type. It initially featured a straight six engine to differentiate the new model from the hand-built V8 Virage, and came as a stylish two-door coupe or two-door convertible. A new factory was acquired to produce the DB7 family — which were the only Astons ever to have a steel body, using monocoque construction borrowed from Jaguar. Though hardly necessary, a Driving Dynamics package offered beefed-up handling and performance. With or without such enhancement, the DB7 remains one of the best-mannered 1990s grand tourers it’s possible to find and it is real a pleasure to drive.
In 1999, the powerful DB7 V12 Vantage made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, complete with six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. This flying machine had a top speed of 185 mph (298 km/h) with the manual box, and this superior manifestation of the DB7 soon saw off the straight six version, which ceased production. In 2002, the DB7 was tweaked yet again, with the introduction of the V12 GT (manual) and GTA (automatic) models. These would be the last of the DB7s, for the sensational DB9 was waiting in the wings to pitch for fame and fortune.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1994 (until 2003)
3,239 cc Straight Six; 5,935 cc V12
With 3.2 I engine — top speed of 157 mph (253 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
For those who lust after the exclusive, Aston Martin sold just 99 examples of the DB7 Zagato after introducing this stylish special edition at the 2002 Paris Motor Show— the shortened DB7 chassis was built in the UK and shipped out to Zagato in Milan for a custom hand built aluminum body to be fitted.