Rich’s Grey 2007 V8 Vantage
The very first thing I did to the exterior of my car was swap out the original antenna for a shorter one. The factory antenna is a silly thing and reminds me of Alfalfa from the Little Rascals.
I’m much happier with the less-conspicuous shorty antenna. It’s still there, but it’s much less obvious. Someday I might swap over to the internal antenna electronics and smooth out the roof entirely, but that’s a pretty big project and the cost and time needed for that are far, far greater than the inexpensive shorty antenna that takes only seconds to install.
The most common question I get about the shorty antenna is how reception is affected. I haven’t had any reception issues with the shorter antenna.
The big rebuild
I was minding my own business during a track day at Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia when a tire wall jumped in front of me out of nowhere. Here’s the result.
I think it’s something of a testament to the overall build quality of Aston Martins that I was able to drive the car home. The BC Forged wheels only got some cosmetic blemishes and the carbon fiber AMR side sill needed a touch of new clear coat but was otherwise unscathed. The rest of the side of the car, however, would have to be replaced. I decided to take the opportunity to go a bit wild with it and get a V12 hood and some race car parts.
V12 HOOD WITH MESH VENT INSERTS
The V12 Vantage hood is a direct swap onto the V8 Vantage, but you'll need a few things to finish out the hood. You'll need the hood itself, plus new inserts for the vents, a new insulator pad, and capped nuts to mount the vent inserts and insulator in place. You might also want to opt a new wings logo badge while you're at it.
I decided to get the mesh vent inserts rather than the carbon fiber louvers because I think they look a lot less fussy, plus they're much less expensive.
An odd thing happened with these OEM inserts… the weave was misaligned on the right-hand (left in the pic above) smaller vent. It wasn’t worth making a fuss about and I doubt anyone would notice it, but I sure did.
Since rebuilding my car I’ve teamed up with ECPS and we can now offer a fully carbon fiber conversion to put a V12-style hood on your V8 Vantage.
Race car parts
The major change I did during the rebuild was installing the lightweight bumper beam from Prodrive, which is an upgrade for the standard GT4 race car.
The lightweight bumper beam replaces the front bumper armature. The armature is used for both crash protection and structural support for a number of components at the front of the car. The OEM grille and tow hook are both mounted to the armature, so they are completely eliminated with the lightweight bumper beam, thus needing a new grille from Prodrive and an OMP tow strap. The grille has a slot cut into it that allows the tow strap to pass through. If you’re wondering, yes, the tow strap is entirely functional.
New brackets were included with the kit to support the headlights, as those are partially mounted to the now-gone armature. The body shop did have to fabricate a mounting bracket for the oil cooler, however, as there was no provision for it when the armature was removed.
Another major effect of removing the armature was the loss of the hood’s safety latch. The primary latch - the one released from inside the cabin - still worked just fine. However, the safety latch - the one that is released by the lever at the leading edge of the hood - was now gone. To ensure absolute safety, I added a pair of aero-catches.
You don't need to get aero-catches for the V12 hood (OEM or ECPS) if you still have the front bumper armature.
The front bumper fascia (commonly just called “front bumper”) is also from Prodrive. It’s actually just a standard Euro-spec front bumper fascia but with a couple cutouts and carbon fiber brake cooling duct inlets. There were a couple square holes at the fascia’s center but I had those filled in to give a smooth, polished look to it.
The main difference between Euro- and US-spec front and rear bumper covers is that the US-spec versions have slots for corner markers and the Euro-spec versions are smooth. Since I was getting a Euro-spec front bumper fascia, I decided to get a Euro-spec rear bumper cover to match. Notice the lack of corner markers on my car.
The rear bumper cover has another difference compared to its US-spec counterpart, and that’s the lack of bumperettes on each side of the license plate. Astons bound for the United States and some other markets have extra extrusions on the rear bumper beam for low-speed impact regulations that aren’t found on the bumper beams for other markets. The bumperettes allow for extra space for those extrusions - if you take them off, there are holes behind each where the extrusions are. In addition to not needing the bumperettes, the smooth area on each side of the licence plates with the Euro-spec rear bumper cover allows their much-wider license plates to be mounted.
No More Brightwork
I realized as my build progressed over the years that I had less and less brightwork on the car. Everything shiny had at this point been replaced by carbon fiber and the only things left in chrome-finish were the fender vent strakes, window surround trim, and tail pipes. Since I’m a stickler for design being comprehensive and holistic, I decided to swap those out as well.
Carbon Fiber Fender Vent strakes
The fender vent strakes that come on our cars are surprisingly heavy. They’re cast aluminum pieces with a chrome finish and replacing them with carbon fiber provides for a nice bit of weight loss. While the OEM ones that I have were fairly expensive, an excellent aftermarket option are the ones from ECPS.
BLACK WINDOW SURROUND TRIM
Aston Martin's Exterior Black Pack includes the Carbon Edition 6-bar grille, black window surround trim, and Zircotech-plated (think black chrome) tail pipes. Since I can't use the 6-bar grille due to my Prodrive lightweight front bumper beam, I set that aside for sale on its own and went straight to the black window trim.
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