Aston Martin DB7

The Poor Man’s James Bond Sled

Pete Weishaupt
2 min readMay 12, 2024

The Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, first introduced in 1999, is a significant evolution in both performance and design for Aston Martin. Conceived originally as a Jaguar project, the DB7 Vantage shares its foundational platform with the Jaguar XJS. Under Ford ownership, this collaboration allowed cost-effective development — even if the purists turn their nose at it.

Designed by Ian Callum, the DB7 Vantage is a blend of traditional Aston Martin elegance and modern aggressiveness. Callum established a new aesthetic paradigm for Aston Martin that can still be seen to this day. Underneath, however, the car retained elements of its Jaguar heritage; it uses a modified XJ-S floorpan and incorporates components from the Jaguar/Ford parts-bin, which includes interior elements and electrical systems.

The heart of the DB7 Vantage is a robust 5.9-liter V12 engine, a stark contrast to the earlier models’ supercharged six-cylinder engines. The 420 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque are enough to move the DB7 from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds, with a top speed of nearly 185 mph. It came with a six-speed manual transmission, or if you’re a girl, a five-speed automatic transmission.

The 2001 model (like the one in the pictures) saw several enhancements, including luxurious interior upgrades like leather upholstery and high-quality wood trim. These upgrades were complemented by advanced technological features like premium audio systems and electronic driving aids — ensuring both comfort and safety.

Love it or hate it, the DB7 Vantage played a critical role in reinvigorating Aston Martin in the late 90s and early ‘aughts. Over 4,000 V12 units were sold before the DB7 was succeeded by the DB9. It remains a pivotal model in the brand’s storied history. Even though it shares ‘parts-bin’ components like Mazda-sourced rear lights and Ford Mondeo switches, the DB7 blends performance, luxury, and a distinctive design that has left an enduring impact on the motoring world. And it’s one of the few relatively attainable V12 Aston Martins out there. Poor Man’s James Bond indeed.

Photo: RM Sotheby’s

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