A Bamford Rose project car at completion (Aston Martin 4.3 V8 Vantage)

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Welcome to BamfordRose and this is a spotlight on one of our project cars that we’ve been working on this week. This is a 4.3 V8 Vantage, it’s 2008. It’s one of the last 4.3 before it turned into 4.7. This particular car is being used for routine servicing. We’ve refreshed the wheels to give them a real nice paint finish, which we think better goes with the exterior paint color. It has exhaust manifolds and catalysts which transform power from 380 to about 430 BHP. Lightweight flywheel to inflate clutch and the electronic adaptive suspension system.

Ok, so before you start this car, as you press the clutch pedal to enable engine start, you feel how light this pedal is. That’s one of the best things about this clutch upgrade. The modulation of the clutch pedal, the ability to sense where the bike point is and then feed in some engine revs and pull away smoothly, is fantastic. The standard clutch pedal, even if the clutch wasn’t worn, feels wouldn’t be very difficult to gauge where that buying point is. It’s very difficult to get a smooth pull away. As soon as you jump in the seat of an upgraded car, it’s one of the things that bring a smile to your face, how light that clutch pedal is and even before you start you know you’re going to have a good drive.

This 4.3 has the exhaust manifold and catalyst upgrade kit on. This is what I really like about this kit on a 4.3. The urgency that it gives the engine really does bridge the gap of 4.3 to 4.7. I’m only doing a half wrong zip in now. Now the 4.3, where previously it felt quite wheezy, it doesn’t really want to accelerate. This is now urgent, even if you give it a half peddle press. If you are thinking of trading your 4.3 into 4.7 because you want a more spirit C Drive. This is what’s really good about that exhaust system upgrade. It does totally bridge the gap between 4.3 and 4.7.

Okay, so trying those upgrades together of a great engine upgrade, wear clutch, flywheel, gearbox upgrade, is how composed the chassis is with this suspension upgrade. So we’ve got Bill Stein electronic dampers with a control system, as you’ve seen the button. Default on ignition is soft mode and when you press the button, the little red LED light lights up and that is the stiff mode.

In soft mode, instead of the crashy, yet lots of body roll, and we call it the Pogo. This is where going round, say 70 miles an hour left-hander and halfway around the corner the back and the front end of the car just want to pogo round. Now on the upgraded suspension. In soft mode we have real magic carpet ride smooth damping, the body feels comfortable. I’m not getting jarred around at all. There’s no-body roll. Even though it’s very comfortable, it’s just lost all of that crashness.

Then in soft mode, when we tip into a corner, even high speed. Now because it’s soft, there’s going to be a bit of body movement but personally, I prefer that in a car, I like to get a bit of feedback. When you tip in, take the corner, it’s all very predictable, it’s composed, it’s smooth. If you wanted that extra hard-edged hand then you can pop it into stiff mode. And the turn-in is even sharper, Park not in the body roll. We change the anti-roll bar settings and geometry together to give a little bit of high-speed, rear-end oversteer just to get that front tucked in. It really does transform an old 4.3 into a really sharp handling car. And as I say tie those modes in together with the power and gearbox interaction. Now what is approaching 15-year-old 4.3 V8 just feels very current, very new and a very focused driver’s machine.

One thing that never fails to bring a smile to your face is the sound of that exhaust note, as you take the car through the gears. It’s music. You don’t need a stereo.

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