Chassis Number: V8/11981/RCAV
Engine Number: V/540/1981/V
UK Registration Number: BYR 354 T
Date of first reg: 1st August 1978
Exterior colour: Pale Green
Interior colour: Magnolia piped Olive
Current Odometer reading: 17,881
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was announced on the 18th February 1977. Revised camshafts, air-box, larger inlet valves and carburettors, new inlet manifolds and different plugs, claimed to provide an increase in power of 40% and 10% more torque. The same ZF 5 speed manual transmission as in the V8 saloon became standard equipment, although it was possible to have Torqueflite automatic transmission.
The V8 Vantage shares the chassis number range with the V8 Saloon in production at the same time. The first V8 Vantage, retrospectively referred to as Series 1 shares the chassis number range between 11640 and 12028. Whilst the writer has yet to establish a definitive figure for the number produced in total, it appears be 47. The first 16 are sometimes referred to as ‘Bolt on Flip Tails’ referring to the rear spoiler that was bolted in position, as was the plug for the front opening of the bonnet bulge, some were also fitted with Perspex covers over the head lamps. After the first 16, the remaining 31 cars were made with an integrated tail spoiler and front closure of the bonnet bulge, possibly because the smoother look, was more aesthetically pleasing. Some refer to these as ‘Moulded Flip Tail’ and that description would appropriate here.
An Aston Martin V8 Vantage Series I “Fliptail” has the hallmarks of a true classic – from the manual gear change to the design nuances and on to the rarity – this is a great opportunity for an enthusiast or collector. Marek Reichman, present Chief Creative Officer at Aston Martin since circa 2005, said of the 1977 V8 Vantage – “as incredibly well-proportioned for its time, with an appealing short front overhang and plump tyres that powerfully fill the arches.”
Whilst panel gaps and shut lines are parallel, by his own admission, there are “cosmetic paint issues” that the owner has left on the back burner for a few years which means that the opportunity is there to refresh the paintwork of this lovely car with your own colour ideas and energies and tell people that you own a true classic Aston Martin!
It is rarely surprising to look at the registration document of an Aston Martin V8 to see a high number of owners, but when you start to look carefully into this lovely, original and rare Vantage Fliptail, you note that all is not what it seems.
Firstly, you become aware that the current registered keeper has been custodian of the car since October 1988 – its initial acquisition having been by the company that he served as Managing Director. In fact, the car’s early service work under his stewardship was invoiced to a fleet maintenance contract.
Go a little further back and the company that the car was acquired from had registered it in the name of Marion Page, the wife of a director of that company and when she changed address, the DVLA found reason to define that as another change of keeper! The trail becomes easier thereafter as Mrs. Page had acquired the car from a Derek Doy of Ilford who in turn had bought the car from a London company Nova Arts. Sadly, the trail runs cold before their acquisition of the car on Christmas Day 1983 although we know that the original owner was a Mr. Reeves.
We know this from a copy of the original build sheet that also confirms the owner’s research on the original colour, Orchard Green and that the original registration number was RHR 8. We have checked and that registration is currently unallocated and it is possible, with luck, that it could be reunited with the car.
It is thought that Mr. Reeve had a bump in the car and, bringing it back to Newport Pagnell for repair had the colour changed to what is said to be Cornish Gold.
Aside from that anecdote from the owner. Service history on the car exactly matches that ownership history with the first invoice from RS Williams assigned to Nova Arts and a clear pattern of maintenance over the current owner’s 30-year love affair with the car.
The huge service history of the car is peppered with instructions to the service companies with hand written addenda and notes showing an attention to detail. It includes detail of a change of speedo in 1990 at 71,782 miles so the true mileage can be easily calculated. A little later in 1993, the history also records thorough attention to floor and chassis corrosion – if anything required attention it was done. And the car itself has some delightful idiosyncrasies of its own. The two chrome bolt heads on the bonnet where a previous owner had attached a mascot to the bonnet. Or a small ding on the rear spoiler that goes back to a very early service with Ian Mason and a dispute over how the small amount of damage occurred.
But when you have a car like this, you want to know if it will perform -the current owner confesses that he once took the car up to a recorded 145 mph fulfilling a “naughty” ambition and frankly scaring himself a bit as everything seemed to move too quickly.
The car also turned out to be quite a conversation starter – one memorable encounter was with another Vantage owner at a very remote and small hotel in Achiltibuie, the far north west Highlands, called The Summer Isles Hotel. After a night of rain, the car was reluctant to start. Another guest approached saying he had had one as well and had found the same trait, and that he had given it to his son!
He went on to say that he lived in West London (as I did then), and had used Ian Mason. He mentioned, too, that he had had a special servo-assisted clutch because of his ‘gammy leg’. Sure enough, years later, when the internet arrived, I was able to verify that Lord Snowdon had indeed had polio as a young man.
But the time has come to pass the baton to another enthusiast to take the car on into its fifth decade.
27.02.84- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: RS Williams
Parts only: Spare wheel, 2 rear shock absorbers, 2 side marker lights, oil sender, set of drive belts
24.09.84- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: RS Williams
Parts only: Balanced clutch assembly, release bearing
03.04.85- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: RS Williams
Parts only: Set of leads & shrouds, distributor cap, re-chromed over riders, front spoiler
25.04.85- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: RS Williams
Parts only: Over rider rubbers and bolts
09.07.86- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: RS Williams
Removing both seats, re-padding as necessary, sewing in new sections, cleaning, softening and redyeing leather, cleaning at valet of car interior. Check all levels topping up as necessary, charge battery
14.10.86- Mileage: 52,319- Service Agent: RS Williams
10,000 mile service, fit new engine mountings, modify and clean carburettors, tension timing chains, fit new water pump, adjust clutch, rebuild rear wheel bearings, fit new differential mountings, fit new rear shock absorbers, fit new steering rack and track rod ends, recharge air conditioning, fit new battery and master switch, fix circuit on auxiliary lighting fir new screen washer pump. Road test and valet car.
12.08.88- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: HWM
Report for current owner and estimate of required work
27.08.88- Mileage: 61,072- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Replace clutch assembly, replace rear discs and skim front discs, replace front and rear brake pads, remove and refit radiator, replace exhaust cruciform, fit bolts to bonnet, replace rear brake caliper pipes
18.07.89- Mileage: 65,699- Service Agent: Ian Mason
10,000-mile service, remove clean brake pads and check discs and calipers, replace flexible brake pipe and bleed brakes. Fit new UJ’s to drive shafts. Rebuild suspension units, fit service exchange radiator. Fit new exhaust downpipe, lubricate bonnet hinges. Remove all parts of car interior to allow for cutting away of corroded areas of chassis in areas of rear trailing arms. Weld in new plates, red oxide and underseal, refit all parts. Fit new air con compressor. Fit new drive belts. Fit new boot seal and new badges front and rear. Re-hang and adjust both doors and fit new lock. New fuel pump fitted; new boot spring s fitted. Repair No 3 carburettor
14.12.89- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Chapman Spooner
Collect car from Oakham. Remove old starter motor and fit new starter, adjusting to avoid fouling exhaust. Tighten engine mountings and prepare car for MOT. Repair glovebox lamp, replace PAS belt and air corn belt, fit new bush and rebuild front suspension
22.06.90- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Parts only: Aston Martin badge, blind badge
15.08.90- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Change oil & filter
20.08.90- Mileage: 70,797- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Remove gearbox drive and check, run car to check operation of speedo cable. Speedo drive found faulty, needs new speedo head and cable. Check air con, compressor U/S
01.09.90- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Replaced speedo head and cable, repair puncture to O/S/R tyre
04.12.90- Mileage: 01,273- Service Agent: Chapman Spooner
Carry out Winter check. Remove dash top and carry out temporary repair on heater box outlet, refitting pipe to dash top. Change wiper blades, repair rear fog lights and fit three valve caps. Check on air conditioning confirms compressor fault, change faulty track rod end and set track.
19.08.93- Mileage: 02,588- Service Agent: Dover Motors Preston Garage
Remove interior and seats, steps and chrome outer sills and steps. Cut off rusted sections, descale surfaces and clean. Grind down surfaces ready for welding. Cut and make plates and sills. Rust proof where needed, replace inner body section and sides of floor pan. Replace inner sills both sides of the vehicle. Make up sections for chassis. Both sides rear wheel arches, replace rear jacking point base plates, plate and weld up front outriggers. Fit all new jacking points, make up new track control arm anchors. Weld to rear chassis arches, remove corroded shock absorber anchors, remake both anchors. Plate and weld. Clean off all flaking underseal and de-rust, rustproof and paint. Refit petrol pipes and brake pipes. Grease all prop shaft, drive shaft UJ’s and steering joints, check oil levels, top up rear axle and gearbox. Polish brake discs, re-assemble and fit back wheels. Inject inner and outer sills and box sections with Finnigans Waxoyl. Fit back interior and stainless-steel outer sills
16.08.94- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Colin Eason
Attend to speakers not working
16.08.95- Mileage: 07,425- Service Agent: Colin Eason
MOT, 2 x front tyres, replace O/S/F ball joint and rear fog lamp
25.09.97- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Paramount Derby
Replace radio aerial, replace stereo, speakers and fit CD autochanger. Replace wiper blades, replace A/C compressor. Replace alternator, replace heater tap and replenish coolant, replace coolant hoses, replace front suspension tie rod bushes and anti-roll bar bushes., replace front suspension road springs, replace rear suspension watts linkage bushes. Replace N/S/R drive flange, replace remote brake servos, carry out full engine tune, replace PAS pump assembly
09.01.98- Mileage: 08,578- Service Agent: Sycamores
Repair indicator stalk and cowling
29.07.98- Mileage: 09.018- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Fit new battery, strip and replace left hand door lock assembly. Replace worn track rod ends and reset alignment, adjust handbrake. Fit new windscreen, rubber and chrome surround.
29.07.98- Mileage: 09,018- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Clean up LHR lamp holder, replace bulb and renew earth. Inspect kingpins and replace upper and lower gaiters, re-align front shock absorbers, bleed braking system. Service and repair carburettors. Drain fuel system, flush tank and entire fuel system. Replace right hand sealed beam unit. Rectify corrosion on left hand rear radius arm mount, left hand front outrigger, right hand sill front section and right hand rear inner wheel arch. Repair corroded boot floor area, cutting away and replacing metalwork as required. Black out and underseal as required. Fit new heater switch and repair burnt wiring, replace boot light assembly, repair and weld exhaust flexible pipe
11.09.98- Mileage: 10,398- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Remove rusted pins from O/S/R brake caliper, remove inner rod, tap out seized outer piston, free caliper, clean and fit new pads
30.06.99- Mileage: 11,186- Service Agent: Aston Martin
MOT, replace steering rack gaiter, replace both rear tyres and spare. Replace bulb holder on left rear indicator. Investigate a/c, trace fault to wiring and switch
07.07.00- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Aston Martin
MOT, carry out unleaded conversion, renew left hand quarter glass, centralise indicator stalk, renew brake reservoir cap, renew exhaust plug housings. Clean and reset carbs, paint air box for lead free badge, renew bump stops, rectify rear brakes notworking (seized), renew wiper blades
30.07.01- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Cheetham Garage
Remove air pump and bracket, reinforce (tig weld) refit and test
29.04.02- Mileage: 13,547- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Annual service, bled brakes and checked operation. Stripped out O/S door and replaced lock, balanced all wheels, repaired coolant leak, re-sealed exhaust
29.05.03- Mileage: 14,026- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Sublet MOT, small service, replace battery, overhaul front brake calipers, replace N/S headlamp, remove and clean spark plugs. Underseal car
12.08.03- Mileage: 14,743- Service Agent: The Aston Workshop
Road test diagnosis, checked ignition / timing, fault shown to be water in fuel. Drained fuel, stripped and cleaned carbs, check fuel tank sender. Re-assemble and refuel
29.05.04- Mileage: 14,799- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
25.07.05- Mileage: 14,852- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
24.07.06- Mileage: 15,384- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
MOT, top up brake fluid
27.06.07- Mileage: 15,417- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Remove and clean spark plugs, top up levels
27.05.08- Mileage: 15,676- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
10.07.08- Mileage: 15,688- Service Agent: Lochrin
22.05.09- Mileage: 15,712- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Replace spark plugs, adjust mixture and idle. Replace gearbox and differential rubbers, replace fuel pipe to pump seals. Filled fuel tank
14.07.09- Mileage: 15,836- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
24.07.10- Mileage: 15,880- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
26.07.11- Mileage: 16,283- Service Agent: Murray Motors
Remove and replace fuel tank and fuel pump. Remove and replace rear brake pads and calipers, remove bleed nipple and dress up caliper. MOT
01.08.12- Mileage: 16,369- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Remove and replace spark plugs, MOT
06.07.13- Mileage: 16,376- Service Agent: Mulsanne Motors
Remove slave cylinder assembly and find clutch operating lever seized. Free off, fit new slave cylinder assembly and hose, bleed clutch system and check operation. MOT, adjust parking brake
06.06.14- Mileage: 16,539- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Remove and replace rotor arm, spark plugs, clean carburettor jets
23.07.14- Mileage: 16,571- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Remove and replace windscreen wipers and MOT
24.06.15- Mileage: 16,647- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Replace spark plugs, carry out annual service, replace both horns, replaced pedal rubbers, replaced all drive belts. MOT
15.06.16- Mileage: 16,877- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Remove and replace spark plugs, MOT
20.07.16- Mileage: 16,901- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Check for oil leaks, check for misfire. Stripped all carbs and cleaned jets and galleries, replaced fuel filter, drained tank and cleaned fuel lines
15.06.17- Mileage: 17,056- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Renew all brake fluid and bleed system, MOT
17.08.17- Mileage: 17,146- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Check brakes – bleed nipples / calipers in need of repair. Refitted repaired caliper, carried out brake fluid change, bleed system. Re-attach vent hose, resecure the heat shields, resecure driver’s carpet mat
07.06.18- Mileage: 17,265- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Remove and replace brake master cylinder, bled brakes and road test. Drain coolant and replace heater control valve, replace coolant pipes and replenish coolant, MOT
13.07.18- Mileage: 17,286- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Replace brake servo vacuum pipe and valve. Drain and clean fuel system
03.10.18- Mileage: 17,391- Service Agent: Lochrin Autos
Engine diagnostics, hydrocarbons to high because of carburettor imbalance, recommend carb balancing and check. Remove and replace battery earth strap.
12.11.18- Mileage: 17,447- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Adjust and balance all carbs, adjust timing, adjusted n/s door to improve opening, refitted heater pipe, refit driver’s carpet
13.02.19- Mileage: 17,527- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Remedy repair of fault on N/S door
03.09.19- Mileage: 17,578- Service Agent: Aston Martin Edinburgh
Starter motor and cut off switch both overheating so replaced. Visual health check and MOT
26.02.21- Mileage: 17,763- Service Agent: Vantage Engineering
Carry out compression test – all between 151 & 165. Fit new spark plugs. Tune engine & Ignition system. Refurbish wheels and fit new Avon Turbospeed tyres 235/70/15. S/F new Water Pump. S/F new Prop shaft. Replace front brake pads. MOT