Due to various changes of ownership and a lack of resources at Aston Martin in the early 1970s, the first convertible ‘Volante’ version of the V8 coupe model was not introduced until June 1978, despite strong customer demand for an open-top Aston Martin, which had not available since the last DB6 Volante was built in 1970.
The exceptional, and fully-restored LHD V8 Volante presented here for sale is one of the earliest such models currently available on the market, having covered just 25,000 miles. Originally ordered for an American client, and delivered in 1980, the Volante has been returned to the far more desirable European specification as part of its recent comprehensive restoration, using original Aston Martin parts.
The evocative ‘Volante’ name was first applied to the convertible soft-top versions of various Aston Martin models from 1965 onwards, initially appearing on the open-top DB6. It was a long wait until the name reappeared on the instantly-successful Aston Martin V8 Volante in June 1978.
With first deliveries not fulfilled until early 1979, the new Volante featured the more assertive ‘Series 4’ bonnet a few months before the V8 coupe received the ‘Oscar India’ update, with subtle styling tweaks to the coachwork introduced on the coupe model in October 1978.
Aston Martin introduced the ‘Oscar India’ specification in 1978 for its updated and improved V8 models. Visually, the former scoop on the bonnet gave way to a closed power bulge. Most Oscar India cars, including this concours Volante, were equipped with a Chrysler ‘Torqueflite’ automatic transmission, with wood interior trim fitted for the first time since the Aston Martin DB2/4 of the 1950s.
And Another Thing
Aston Martin has long been synonymous with the world-famous British special agent 007, James Bond, since Sean Connery first appeared at the wheel of a DB4 in the 1964 Bond film, Goldfinger. In the 1987 007 movie, The Living Daylights, 007 drives a V8 Volante, ‘winterised’ with a hard-top roof, and equipped with a series of gadgets, including a Police band radio, tyre spikes, retractable outriggers, heat-seeking missiles behind fog lights, bulletproof windows and a fireproof body, plus a self-destruct system and a jet engine behind rear number plate!
The desirable Volante Series 1, as presented here, weighed 70 kg more than the V8 coupe on which it was based, due to the necessity of reinforcing the body frame to strengthen it.
In total, just 656 Series 1 V8 Volantes such as this superb example were built by Aston Martin, and by 1981, the success of the Volante meant that the V8 coupé model was only built by special order to individual demand.