We have been delighted to recently have on a sale an extremely rare Aston Martin V8 Vantage Le Mans V600. This has given us an opportunity to take a closer look at this incredible and rare Aston Martin model.
The V8 Vantage Le Mans represents the last of the fully handcrafted, coach-built era. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1999, it was launched as a celebration of the run-out of this charismatic Tadek Marek engine, Virage chassis bloodline. The reference Le Mans reference Aston Martin’s win of the 24hr race in a DBR1 of 1959. Production was between December 1999 and October 2000 from the Aston Martin Newport Pagnell facility.
There were a number of options available when new, the key extra equipment being:
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Le Mans V600 - £210,350
Short-shift 5 speed gearbox - £5,640.00
V600 Supersports Exhaust System - £3,348.75
V600 power upgrade to 600bhp and 600 lb/ft of torque - £12,102.50
Traction control - £2,937.50
Sound system upgrade - £1962.00
The key performance figures of the V8 Vantage Le Mans are staggering for a car of this period. For a while, it was the most powerful car in the world.
Fuel tank – 105 litres (23 gallons)
Officially, the Le Mans left the factory as a V550 i.e. with 550bhp. An enormous amount of power but the extra 50bhp was an expensive ex-works option that not all selected. The extra 50 bhp came from gains described by engineer Steve Bolton: “I had done some work previously with the Vantage and had established that one of the concerns with the car in extreme climates was that the inter cooling system wasn’t as efficient as it could have been. We need to liberate more power, as well as revise the superchargers and the exhaust system to improve the inter cooling and thus, the performance was a necessity.
We found that by improving the cooling we could take advantage of the increased charge being developed by the new superchargers and get a robust 600 bhp.”1.
The interior of the Le Mans has a real sense of occasion. In beautiful condition, it still has an intoxicating smell Connolly leather upholstery and Wilton carpets. Combined with the most incredibly comfortable front seats and a large boot for luggage, this car is made to cross continents like few others.
Sadly, safety and emission regulations brought an end to the light of the Marek 5.3V8 in 2000.