QOTW #57 – Is this DB9 Volante a good buy?

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Welcome Bamford Rose and another question of the week. This week, ‘Should I buy this DB9?’ This DB9 here is on auto trader up for sale; it’s a very rare manual convertible. And this layout is your quintessential British sports car. 6-liter V12, naturally aspirated engine, up front rear-wheel drive, stunning looks, classic understated. You know it really is a cracking beautiful car. Clarkson gave this a brand review when it came out. This was because Aston changed the handling and driving experience away from the Coupe, just to make the Coupe feel better. I never agreed with that at the time.

If you’re gonna make a car, you might as well make it the best you can. And it’s very easy to retrofit newer DB9 components to get this car handling as good as modern stuff. A very good customer of ours has had a look at this car and he was thinking of buying it as a second car, second Aston. And although I’m cautious not to destroy the potential sale for the vendor. This car is harboring some issues. Which if you had to put right after purchase, it’s gonna taut up to quite a fair amount and it’s not quite right for the seller to have their sale destroyed. It’s not quite right for a buyer who didn’t know of the potential issues and a buyer who goes in blind to then get bitten with soaring repair costs, and a car that turns out to be a bit of a money pit.

And often, the Aston purchase is an aspirational purchase. It’s been considered for a long time, it’s a dream. And for then to see people who have that dream turned into a nightmare is a bit upsetting. So, you know it’s not quite fair for whoever buys this car to buy at face value for the sticker price. It’s also a good example to talk about, because explaining the issues with this car is sort of what this channel stands for. You know predominantly we’re a workshop and we’re going to be identifying problems. So, on our YouTube channel where we talk mainly about workshop issues, there it’s always going to be talking about problems.

So, our YouTube channel is always going to have an air of negative content about it. But that’s to be seen really in a positive light to arm yourself with the information. You know on our Facebook and Instagram; we do a lot of branding and a lot of waving of the Aston flag. And a lot of the information that we put out is to arm as much as we can, potential buyers and owners with an insight into the problems so they don’t get caught out by them. That means arming the potential purchaser with a range of issues to look out for and arming current owners with insights and info into what goes wrong. So, perhaps preventative maintenance can stop those issues from happening.

And all that Aggro is worth it, because these cars are drop-dead gorgeous. They’re timeless, classic, understated. Any of these Gayden generation 1, DB9 V8, you can get out of in the center of town and you don’t stick out like a sore thumb like you would do in a Lamborghini or Bentley. And especially now these Gayden era cars have depreciated to the values that they are currently trading out. For that sum of money, what else can you buy? Well, it would typically be a Porsche a Maserati and arguably those cars just don’t have the classic understated, drop-dead gorgeous looks of the Aston. And an Aston is British.

So, on to this DB9. Now on the surface it’s been polished too with an inch of its life and looks absolutely stunning on the outside. But a bit of a closer inspection and take it for a drive, it’s clear that it needs some TLC. Now the car has been stood for quite a while and you can see by doing a MOT history check. It needs four new tires because their age deteriorated or perished. So, stick a set of decent Michelin’s on it that’ll give me a thousand pounds. It’s got quite a bad misfire. All right, this is alarming because of the catalyst issue which we all know about by now. It’s going to need 12 coils, put a set of plugs in whilst you there and with gaskets, that’s going to total about 1,800 pounds.

It definitely needs a major service call that is 750 pounds. And on test drive, it clearly needed a clutch. It was biting right at the very top and the pedal felt a bit wooden. With VAT, all that lot is probably gonna come in about 8 grands. Then no doubt when you’ve got it in the workshop, it’s aircon system will need a bit of attention. DB9s of their age are prone for failing door modules, roof modules will need some attention. Maybe it needs brakes. So, it’s quite easy on that car to expect to put it into a workshop and spend 10K on it to get it up to a good usable state.

But then a DB9 Volante of that age, you know one of those factory restrictions they made on handling to separate it from Coupe. As odd as this sounds, the DB9 Volante compared to Coupe doesn’t have a rear anti-roll bar. So, retrofitting of roll bars, it’s probably going to need some suspension wishbone arms. And that’s about 1,500 pounds. It’s going to need a geo, it’s gonna need, well it doesn’t necessarily need this to drive from A to B. But in terms of giving a rewarding driving experience, it’s going to need chassis under surface stiffening plates. Anisette dampers which at Retrofit as Bilstein.

So, in total that’ll be about 8,500 pounds worth of improvements. So, if you just put those improvements to one side and know that you’re going to spend or need to spend 10K on repairs just to get it functioning adequately. The purchase price is up for 40K, and that means that you’re going to be into that car for 50K by the time it’s had its problem sorted out. Really if you turn that into the decent modern day driving standard car with the dampers and the chassis work I just mentioned. You know it’s going to be about 58K total into that car to make it usable, rewarding and pleasurable.

You know at that money you can get a very very good 470 BHP Facelift DB9. And add a few more pennies to it, you’re even getting close to a DB 9.2. Which is carbon ceramic brakes, electronic adaptive damping. It’s basically a DBS underneath with the gorgeous timeless, classic and understated looks of a DB 9.2. Well, the feedback from our customer that looked at this car suggested that the sellers were very caring and loving owners of the car. But not necessarily petrol heads, weren’t really aware of all of the woes that this car had and wouldn’t really drop the purchase price. They considered the price they were selling it for to be right bearing in mind it needed a service, well actually this car needs way more than the service.

If someone buys that car at 40K, unfortunately that car is going to turn into quite a money pit. But it’s a bit of a conundrum and dilemma for this car, because it’s very rare, very special and obviously it is worth a premium. It’s probably going to take two courses in this car. It’s been up for sale for a while. So, either they’ll decide because they’ve had feedback from a few people that they’ve identified it needs some money spending on it and probably they’ve had some lower offers. They’re either going to put it into a garage and correct some of that and stuff for themselves and then try and sell it for a little bit more money. Although I doubt that approach. Or they’ll just keep it as it is and wait for that one person to come along who hasn’t done their own work that buys it at the sticker price.

To answer the question, ‘Should I buy this DB9?’ Well on the one hand, it’s an absolutely cracking very rare car, on the other it needs quite a bit of money spent on it. And together with the purchase price, that’s going to add up to quite a sum and that total sum gets you in the seat of something newer. So ultimately, this is either going to end up a purchase that in the long term someone fettle’s back to a perfect driving state and that all up price is absorbed over years and doesn’t ever really total a grand figure. Because the owner has just chipped away at it, or sellers do need to get a bit realistic. Although this is a mighty fine special rare car and although 40K might seem a good sticker price for it.

Considering it’s all up cost after repairs, the sticker price rate does need reducing by about 10K. This is an issue that affects lots of cars whether it’s a 4.3 V8 or DB9 like this. If you consider the purchase price plus any likely repairs, does that all up price get you into the bracket of the next model up. As more prospective buyers become aware of that. And cars like this don’t sell, perhaps naturally the prices will adjust and cars like this be advertised a bit lower.

Anyway, what do you think about this DB9? We’d love to hear your comments, and if you could like and subscribe that will really help us.

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