This has been a crazy year. I started a real estate brokerage, bought a huge commercial building, and I also bought a 1981 Aston Martin V8 Volante. The Aston Martin V8 has been one of my favorite cars since I was a kid. Many people don’t know what they are or think they look like a Mustang, but I love them. I have only seen a few of them in person, and pictures do not do them justice. Ironically, the first one I saw in person I ended up buying a couple of years later. The car I bought even appeared in the television series Dynasty. In this post, I will talk about why I bought it, how much I paid, the car, and show plenty of pictures and videos.
Check out the video below to hear the car, see a test drive, and learn more about it.
Why have I always loved the Aston Martin V8?
My love for this car came from my obsession with cars when I was a kid. I have always loved cars, even though my parents were not car people. My sister loved cars, and she was one of the reasons I became a car nut. She gave me a book when I was 5 or 6 with super cars in it. I still love the book and the cars in it. I was looking through the book, and I think all of my cars are in the book except my daily driver (Audi s4) and the Diablo. The Countach was in the book, and I still need one of those! The Aston Martin was always one of my favorite looking cars.
Another thing I love about the Aston Martin V8 is how rare it is. I have never seen one in person until a few years ago. I happened to see a 1981 red Volante at the Denver Concourse de Elegance. It was my favorite car at the show (besides my Diablo). I tend to like cars that no one else has—or at least that very few people have. People ask why I don’t get a Corvette when they are faster and cheaper than my Lamborghini. For one, the Corvette will depreciate like crazy, and secondly, I see them every day.
Some people think the Aston Martin V8 looks like 1960s Mustangs, but I think they look 100 times better. The interior is amazing as well. There is leather and wood everywhere.
How did I buy the Aston Martin V8 Volante?
I mentioned I saw my first Aston Martin V8 a couple of years ago. I did not see another until last fall at a cars and coffee. It was, ironically, the only cars and coffee I had been to in months, and I have not been to one since. I like going, but it is tough to find time to wake up at 6:30, drive an hour, and hang out for a few hours on a Saturday when I have kids. At that cars and coffee, I saw a blue 1981 Aston Martin V8 Volante. I could not believe it. I talked to the owner for a long time. He probably thought I was nuts, but I had the Diablo with me, which gives me some credibility. I told him I was looking for an Aston Martin V8 if he ever wanted to sell.
I was not getting my hopes up because the owner had sent a lot of time and money on this car. The cars have also shot up in value like my Diablo. You could buy these cars for $50,000 five years ago, and now, many of them are pushing $200,000. The owner did say said he might know of someone who was going to sell one.
A couple of weeks later, the owner emailed me and said he had two Aston Martin V8s and he was the person who might be willing to sell one. He also owned the 1981 red car I saw at the car show. We talked, and I was scared to hear what he was asking for it. He told me he wanted $135,000, which was not a bad price. I wanted to pay less, but I was not scared away. I had seen an Aston Martin V8 for sale with a dealer for $100,000 one month earlier that sold in a day. I tried to use that for negotiating and offered $105,000. He told me he knew of that car, and it was junk. I knew that too.
He had the car in New York as he was about to consign it to the biggest seller of Aston Martin V8s in the country. Since we were close on the price, he decided to ship it back to Colorado so I could see it and drive it. He had tried to sell it at an auction and rejected the high bid of $139k, but he said he would love to see the car stay in Colorado. Eventually, I saw the car and was able to drive it. I was extremely disappointed with how it drove. The car was slow, the brakes were weird, and it did not sound like a V8 at all. I had to rethink my love for these cars. I talked to many car people about my experience, and they all said there had to be something wrong with the car. They also said there were ways to improve it. The car had a 3-speed Chrysler transmission, which did not help the performance. I decided to try and buy the car anyway because it was beautiful and I could live with the other downfalls.
We ended up agreeing to $125,000. The car would not pass emissions, so he had it worked on by his mechanic for months before I took possession. When his mechanic worked on it, the car got a custom exhaust, was tuned better, the brakes repaired, and a few other minor things fixed. When I finally got it, it was a different car, and I loved it!
What is the history of the car?
This car was originally ordered by the designer Bijan. He lived in Beverly Hills and was friends with Aaron Spelling. Because of their friendship, the car was used in the television series Dynasty.
The car was kept by Bijan for decades until it was donated to the Peterson Museum. It was stored at the Peterson Museum for a few years before they sold it at an auction, where the seller I bought it from bought it. I don’t want to think about what he paid for the car!
How rare is the Aston Martin V8?
This car was actually built in 1980 but not licensed until 1981. I do not know if that makes it a 1980 or a 1981, and that is why you might hear me say both years. According to the previous owner, there were about 50 of these cars made in 1980 in the world. About half of those cars were shipped to the United States. He thinks there were about 12 Volantes (convertible) sent here. It is a very rare car! He believes we have the only two Aston Martin V8s in Colorado. The cars were meant to be right-hand drive, and the hood release latch is on the right side because of that!
How fast is the Aston Martin V8?
You can see how fast the car is in the video above. It is not a speed racer by any means. The car is actually faster than it was now before the work was done at the mechanic. It has a 5.3 liter V8 that sounds great, but this car was built in the emissions-performance-strangling era. The car is listed as having 300 horsepower, but some people suggest it is as low as 245 with emissions. I feel that 245 number is closer to reality.
Aston Martin did make a Vantage version that was faster. They upped the horsepower by 75, put on a better suspension, and made a fun car. However, the Volantes did not have this option until 1986. Only the coupes could be ordered with the Vantage package. The car also has a 3-speed automatic transmission, which does not help anything. One modification I may do in the future is adding a 5- or 6-speed tremec. I could keep all the auto parts, and it would actually help the value of the car.
What are all the cars in my collection now?
I am a car nut and have been fortunate that real estate has allowed me to live out some of my dreams. One of my biggest dreams and purchases was fulfilled four years ago when I bought a 1999 Lamborghini Diablo. The Diablo is Monterey Blue, an Alpine Edition, and amazing. It has even been a good investment! The car doubled in value since I bought it. It has also been great for my business. You can see a video of the Diablo below:
Last year, I bought a Lotus Esprit V8 Twin Turbo. That car is Azure blue and equally amazing. It is just as rare the Diablo but was only $39,000 compared to $126,000. The Lotus has not increased in value, but it may eventually start to creep up. The Lotus was detuned to 350 horsepower by the factory to protect the weak Renault transmission. The guy who owned the car before me bumped that horsepower up, and the tranny broke earlier this year. The car is being fixed right now. There is a video of it below as well:
I also have a 1986 Porsche 928 5-speed that’s modified with a chip and exhaust and a 1991 Mustang 5.0-speed convertible that I have had for 17 years. That car has a supercharger, full exhaust, and other goodies I installed. My daily driver is a 2010 Audi S4 that I put a chip and smaller pulley in. I just paid that car off! My wife has a 2017 Mercedes GLS 450, and she just bought her college car, a 1993 Volkswagen Cabrio.
The Aston Martin is an amazing car. I think I got a great deal on it as these cars are selling for close to $200,000, and some sell for much more with manual transmissions. Just like real estate, I want to buy cars that will be a good investment and not depreciate. The car also has four usable seats which means the entire family can go for drives with the kids in their booster seats in back (they are 7). My wife loves the car, and most people who see it love it too, even if they do not know what it is! There are a few more cars that I want to buy, including a Countach, but this was a childhood dream to buy this. I am so happy I did.