Aston Martin V8 Vantage Le Mans V600

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.

  • Engine - Marek designed, 5.3 litre 4 cam all alloy V8 engine
  • Power (hp): 600 @ 6,200rpm
    Torque (lb ft): 600 @ 4,400rpm
  • 0-100 in 9.9 secs
  • 0-60 in 3.9 secs
  • Top speed - 200mph
  • 0-1/4 miles – 13.1 secs
  • Kerb weight - 1975 kg

Another key option was the gearbox. As standard, it was fitted with a ZF six speed manual transmission but there was a close ratio 5 speed option that improved drivability. Again our car is fitted with this option.
The Le Mans also enjoyed a higher spec set of brakes to reign in the staggering pace. The Virage-based steel chassis was combined with upgraded Koni adjustable shock absorbers. The ride is extremely comfortable, the aim was for this to be an enormously fast GT car rather than any particular track-focus. The brake package included ventilated and grooved discs and 6 pot callipers (front) and 4 pot rear. To reduce un-sprung weight and improve dynamics, the brakes were enveloped in 5 spoke magnesium alloy wheels that had hollow spokes.
The hand crafted, aluminium bodywork in unmistakably Aston Martin. The front grille is blanked in front of the radiator with twin openings to help cooling whilst reducing lift. Extra bonnet vents aid cooling from above the twin supercharged V8 engine. There are also redesigned wing vents which are nod to those on the DBR1 that won Le Mans in 1959.
Alloy and aluminium also features, there is extensive use of brushed aluminium in cabin, beautifully spaced aluminium pedals and a machined alloy fuel filler providing access to the huge 105 litre fuel tank.

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.