Friday, April 17, 2015

Long-term ownership costs and impressions: 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

I've made a couple of Aston Martin assertions to friends throughout the last year or so, they go something like this:

"Owning a used Aston Martin is cheaper than owning a new Audi/Mercedes/BMW" and
"The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is one of the great used car values out there"

My assertions are based on my own experience with the 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage I purchased new in December 2006 and which now has 50,000 miles. So, I thought I'd share some numbers and thoughts to help others understand my assertions and maybe consider buying one of these on the pre-owned market (as a car "addict", I am a classic "enabler" that will push others to pursue their own car addiction).




So, what is my long-term cost of maintenance?  Is it high? 

I think the answer is that my maintenance costs have been very reasonable. Over 8 years and 50,000 miles, my total spend has been approximately $14,000 in service costs (that's $1750 per year).  Here are the specifics:

10,000 mile service: $1100

20,000 mile service: $1350

Also at 20K miles: 4 new tires plus alignment $1100 ($585 for a 4-wheel alignment !) 

30,000 mile service: $1350 

40,000 mile service: $2000

Also at 40K miles: 
  New Thermostat $600
  New window regulator: $700
  Handbrake replacement: $350
  Tire inflation kit replacement: $300
  Replace small leather section curling up on of dashboard: $490
Brake jobs: $500-600 parts, $195 labor (maybe every 10K miles, depending on your driving)
Typical "minor service": $600 every 5K miles (synthetic oil)
I still have the original clutch at 50,000 miles (prob 75% were freeway miles)
Warranty work for free included: replacing things like a gas cap that wasn't sealing, a frayed seat belt, minor stuff.

So, if you buy a good 10-20K mile car now, and drive it for 30K miles, I'd say you can expect dealership costs of something like $3100 per 10,000 miles (brakes $800, tires $1000, oil/filter and 10K interval service $1300). You could save a good deal by doing the brakes yourself. My annual cost has been less because some of the service costs in the first 3 years were covered under warranty.

Total cost to own for 3 years: $9300 plus depreciation. I would argue that depreciation on a car today at $50K purchase price is likely to be less than $8K over the next 3 years. 3 years of ownership for $17,300, or $480 per month.

EDIT: Adding in this link to my more recent post where I D-I-Y the brake job for $354: Doing your own brakes on the 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. 

What I like about this car:
* The sound is glorious when you open it up over 4000 RPM.  (see my video with exhaust sound at :  Dave Car Guy: back roads in an Aston Martin)

* The interior finish is beautiful, with the piano black centerpiece, the black leather with grey stitching, and the wonderful instrument cluster
* Its external proportions, with long hood and low-raked windshield and muscular fenders.
* Doors that open on a slight upward trajectory, avoiding curb-rash!
* Comfortable seats great for long trips, and reasonable trunk space
* Did I mention the sound? Intoxicating!


Why do I think this is a good used car value?
As of the date of this post (April 2015), I found the following value indicators for model year 2007-2009 V8 Vantages in the United States:

Autotrader.com: 148 listings in the U.S. with an average asking price of $64,800, a top price of $99,000 and a low price of $45,900.  Of the 148 cars, only 24 had miles over 30,000 (124 cars had less than 30K and 60 cars had less than 15K).  For the 60 cars in the U.S. under 15K miles, the average asking price was $69,700 with a low of $54,000.The NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Used Car Guide shows a 2007 Vantage Coupe with manual transmission to have a low retail of $45,700 and an average retail of $56,700. 

So it looks to me like you can buy a low-miles (30K or less) V8 Vantage Coupe for between $50-$55,000.  Where might the value of these cars go in the next 3, 5, 15, 20 years?

To answer that, I start with my overall collecting/value thesis:

Cars begin to appreciate in value at about 25-30 years old.  This is the point at which 45-50 year-old buyers take a look back at the cars they loved when they were around 20 years old.  They seek out cars that were their dream cars at that time or that were unattainable when they began driving.  Hence, the C2 (1963-1967) Corvette collectable market too off in the 1990s.  The 1970 muscle cars (Cuda, Mustang, Chargers, Camaro) really started to climb around the year 2000.  And recently, the surge in pricing of mid-1980s Porsches and the 1986 BMW E30 M3  is again proving that the prime collectable-buying age for "car people" is likely in the range of 50 years old, give or take 5 years.  I believe 1990-ish cars are just now on the rise after 25 years (watch for appreciate on cars like the 1991-1995 era Acura NSX and the BMW E36 M3s which came to the U.S. in 1995). Obviously, the more rare it is at the time of introduction, the more likely it will increase at a great rate. 

With that as background, a 2007 Aston has a long way to go before bottoming out in value and then re-surging.  At this point, cars that had MSRPs in the $120K- $130K range (with options) are going for $55K, or roughly 40% of original MSRP after 8 years.  Not too bad, considering most of that drop happened in the first 4 years.  Where can it go from here?  Will a 50K mile car ever be worth as little as 20% os MSRP? ($26K).  I suspect not.  Take as an example, a 2000 Porsche Carrera Coupe.  These are considered fairly cheap right now, as you can pick one up, with less than 60K miles, for around $20,000 - $25,000 (certainly you can find higher mileage cars for under $20K).  Given the MSRP of those cars in 2000 of about $70,000 - $75,000, this equates to roughly 28% of original MSRP ($20K now vs $70K then).  I would contend that these cars have reached a relatively flat part of their depreciation curve and will stay in this range for a while.  So, lets apply that 28% to an Aston Vantage from 2007 with a $130K MSRP, which yields a price around $36,400.

So is that about where it might bottom out? Here I look at similar Astons of the past.  The 1973-1979 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a good example.  It was not prized for its looks nor its performance for a number of years.  It is only in the last 7 years that it has come back in vogue.  It is now old enough not to just look "old" but rather to look "Classic".  For my tastes, it always had a bit too much "Chevy Vega" in the looks of the rear and too much Mustang Mach 1 in the front.  But now it looks great for the period it came from.

Just a few years ago, you could buy one of these for between $25K - $60K, which compares to original 1975 price in the US in the mid $35,000 range.  Today, the Hagerty Valuation tool I puled up shows the values have increased to between $60K and $150K.  That car bottomed out at a % of MSRP much higher than what I have assumed above for the 2007.  Of course, they made only about 4000 of these cars over a 20-year period. The new V8 Vantage had produced over 10,000 cars in its first three years and I suspect they have continued to sell those at a rate of roughly 2-3K units per year (I need to check this data). 

So, take my numbers at face value and lets assume you can buy a 2007 Coupe for $55,000 with under 30K miles, drive it 10,000 miles a year for 4 years and then sell it for $36,000.  You will have lost $19K in value (at most, maybe more like $10K) plus you will have spent $12K in maintenance.  You're out $31,000 in total over 4 years.  If you want to buy a 3rd party warranty to cover any potential large mechanical issues, that will likely cost you a few thousand more for the 4 year period.  If you decide to drive this car for the next 20 years, I would then contend that you will not lose money on its value as it bottoms out and then rises, you will only suffer maintenance costs.  And if you are driving it that long, you are likely not doing many miles - maybe 3K per year, so maintenance costs are far lower (new tires and brakes every 5-7 years maybe).

For the intermediate term user, the kind that buys a new car every 4 years, it is still compelling. If you buy a new car worth $60K today, you will lose something around 45% - 50% in 4 years of depreciation, and you'd be worse off than owning the Aston Martin.  So, which ould you rather have, a cool used Aston V8 Vantage, or a Lexus LS460, Audi S5, Infiniti Q70,  Camaro ZL1, or Acura RLX Hybrid?

That, of course, is up to your individual tastes.  I know which one I pick.

34 comments:

  1. Dave, although there isn't much chatter on this article, I'd like to commend you on the effort you've taken on being so detailed. I'm only just starting out in work life as a graduate, and hoping to own an exotic car after my first house (probably in 3 years).

    It's articles like these that really makes me excited when I get to the point of being able to get one! My eyes are set on either a 911 Carrera S, Vantage V8 or the Audi R8 (all pre-owned as I'm from Singapore and cars here are insanely expensive).

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    1. Thanks and I am glad you found it helpful. Good luck!!!

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  2. Dave, thx for writing this article. I found it very helpful. I've been going back and forth between a granturismo and a vantage and article really helps. A couple of quick questions? What don't you like about the car and second, is the 4.7L in your opinion worth the extra money?

    Thx,
    Derrick

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    1. Hi Derrick, I'm glad you found it helpful! I can't say much about the 4.7L engine because I haven't spent much time with it. I have found the 4.3L in these earlier cars to be terrific. I own faster cars than this, but that isn't what I love about this one... what I love is it is fast enough, and elegant, and beautiful, and meanwhile the torque curve feels great and it sounds glorious. I'm sure the 4.7L engine is also terrific, but for the extra cost, are you really in need of that extra half second 0-60MPH? Will you really feel it in most cases? Likely not. Now if you all the way to the 2012 S version, you pick up almost 1 full second 0-60, and that might feel much different. But I sense you are asking about the 2009-ish 4.7L version vs the 2007-ish 4.3L version. In that case, I'd be hard pressed to recommend paying up.

      You ask what I don't like about it. Not much. If I had to find one complaint, it is that at my height (5'9"), the visibility out the front window is slightly obscured (my perspective may be skewed, because I love the visibility out the front of my McLaren MP4-12C, where you barely notice there is even a dashboard and hood!). Luckily, the Aston seats adjust to a high height so I can be looking down the nose of the car. I own a number of fun cars, and people sometimes ask which is my "favorite". I tell them that isn't a fair question because, like a parent: "I love them all for different reasons". But if you asked me which car I would keep if I had to reduce from 10 cars to 1 car... I'd take the Aston because it does everything well, even though it may not be the top in any individual category. It is fast enough. I mentioned another blog post of mine that may be worth repeating here, if you haven't noticed it. It is a video and sound recording of the Aston under acceleration on some back roads near me. Hear it, and you'll love it! Here is a link:

      http://davecarguy.blogspot.com/2014/12/daves-drives-back-roads-of-san-ramon-in.html

      I also love the Maserati Granturismo, so if those are your choices, I don't think you can go wrong!!!

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    2. Interesting. I was considering a similar choice (Aston vs Maserati); however, I was questioning if it would be possible to buy a used one (circa 2008) and drive for a year and then trade in and buy the other for a year. With the depreciation being so low, the idea was to not suffer too much more in depreciation. Have any idea on what the ownership cost would be for only a year?

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    3. Sydney: it all depends on how well you buy it in the first place. If the car is recently serviced with new brakes and tires, then you will likely only pay for an oil change or two over one year. But when you go to sell it, the buyer will take into account the new-ness of the brakes and tires, so you have to assume your sale price would be adjusted accordingly such that you essentially "pay" for some portion of the brakes and tires, just as the price could reflect some additional mileage since your purchase. That's why it depends on the deal you get when you buy. If you buy it right and sell it opportunistically, depreciation can be very low or close to zero (because buying it a few thousand dollars below market today allows you to essentially transfer your expected depreciation to the person you are buying it from). But my initial analysis stands: cost of maintenance for a single year will average you $3100, about $260 a month (brakes, tires, oil, etc... and if try to not pay for those things, it will get reflected in your sale price).

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  3. WOW that does sound fantastic!! I'm not sure what the other 8 vehicles are but, choosing a Vantage over 600+hp McLaren is saying something. Not sure I would make the same selection lol. The exhaust note changes when you get on it. I assume that's an exhaust value opening up?

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    1. Yes, it is a valve that opens up above about 4000 rpm, allowing for more free-flow of the exhaust at higher rpm. Some owners have been known to remove "Fuse 22" to force this exhaust actuator to remain open at all times. BTW, see more of the McLaren on my blog post here:

      http://davecarguy.blogspot.com/2015/08/daves-drives-northern-california-coast.html

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  4. Hey Dave,
    Thanks for the detailed information. Your article actually made my mind up on what to buy this weekend. I live in Brooklyn, NY and for the last few months I was debating on what to get as an everyday driver between the Maserati Granturismo, the Bentley GT or the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Your post made it clear to me as to what is cheaper to maintain. So definitely getting a V8 vantage.

    Cheers,
    Fabiano

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    1. Hi Fabiano, I'm glad it was of help, and now I hope it turns out that you have a great experience. Be sure to check back in at some point to let us know how it goes!

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  5. Hi Dave, thank you for being so detailed. I currently have the V8 Vantage on my list of to buy cars. However, I wanted to figure out what my maintenance on it would be. I thought it would be a lot more expensive! I am new to ask the details you spoke about, but as an "in the near future" owner, I decided it was time to learn and you have helped a lot!!

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  6. Hi Dave, thank you for being so detailed. I currently have the V8 Vantage on my list of to buy cars. However, I wanted to figure out what my maintenance on it would be. I thought it would be a lot more expensive! I am new to ask the details you spoke about, but as an "in the near future" owner, I decided it was time to learn and you have helped a lot!!

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  7. Hi Dave,

    I just found your article when Googling about service costs. Thanks for the great insight. I'm not sure if your car is a manual or paddle-shift, but which would you recommend? I've driven a 2008 Vantage with paddles. Loved it. I don't have much experience with manual transmissions but I do like the allure of them, and the rarity of them in the years to come. What do you think?

    Thanks for the time and the article.

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  8. dave

    thanks for all the info. I am currently looking for a vantage based on the combo of performance, budget and aesthetics as I retread my mid life crisis in the need of getting a real manual transmission. Quick follow up question - is there any significance of the model year difference between the 2006-2008 - the price difference for the 2006 seem proportionately low,

    thanks
    dan

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    1. Hi Dan,
      Sounds like a good mid-life crisis to me! As to the differences between the model years 2006-2008, I do not believe there is any real difference, until late in 2008 when they switched to the 4.7L engine (for model year 2009). It seems that because of this impending change, maybe there are fewer 2008s that were sold, so maybe they are a tad more rare. Between the 2006 and 2007 models, I look at prices and don't see a huge difference. Most of the price diff seems to me more associated with milage. I see high mileage 2007s going for less than low mileage 2006s, etc. Seems there are plenty of cars with only 15K-20K miles on them, so that makes the 40K mile cars get battered down in price, but in my opinion I'd wouldn't shy away from a well maintained 40K car that has been driven regularly. It suggests to me the the car will have had any issues dealt with.

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  9. thanks for enabling - plunge taken - getting it this weekend,

    thanks

    dan

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    1. I hope you find a great one! Please keep us all posted!

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  10. David

    picked up a 2007 with 25k in miles 2 weeks ago. vertigo blue with black interior. trying to figure out front license plate solution for my home state now.

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    1. Congrats! Vertigo Blue is a fantastic color!!! 6-Speed manual trans? Is driving it living up to your expectations?

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  11. yeah it has been what I was hoping for (back to actually driving) as I been have living with an suv for the last 4 years after a lifetime with the 3rd pedal. I have been taking it out every other day and having a blast - D

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  12. Been following this thread. Just picked up my grey 07 vantage manual coupe this weekend. 17.5k miles Lemon squad gave it a b+ just shy of top marks. 47k at dealer. I feel like i got away with something.

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    1. Way to go! As far as I'm concerned, you STOLE it! I hope its a great car for you, and definitely report back on your experience. Good luck with your beautiful new car!

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  13. just read through this & Dave you certainly have a great life. I own a 2007 V8 Vantage manual & it is the car of my dreams in every way. For those that are not aware you don't have to wait for 4000rpm to come around to enjoy that glorious sound, just pull fuse 22 & listen to the exhaust from idle.
    Love the McLaren, thanks for sharing your amazing story.
    Paul, Australia.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks Paul! Indeed, the old Fuse 22 delete trick!! It works wonders for the sound... but I avoided that because I wanted to be able to drive quietly away from my own house!! Enjoy that car of yours, and if you liked the McLaren, check out my latest post regarding the color change I just had done!

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  14. Very helpful article, thanks. Considering a '05/6 DB9 (many with 30k "ish"miles priced in the mid-40's) relative to the Vantage? Seems a better buy to me for a V-12?

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  15. I'm glad you found it helpful, Scott! I don't have firsthand experience with the V12 in the DB9 (nor the Vanquish), but I'd have to say that the maintenance costs would obviously be somewhat higher just based on tune-ups with more spark plugs, more spark plug wires, more valves to adjust, etc. Oil changes, tires, and brakes would like be similar but maybe a little higher on brakes as it would be a heavier car that could be harder on brakes. As for the purchase price, I agree with you that it is a fantastic deal for an exotic V12. Just look at prices for similar V12s from Ferrari (550 Maranellos, Testarossas, 599 GTB Fiorano) or others, and you'll have to see it is a super deal for the Aston. I've looked at the 2005 era Vanquish S, which was the top of the line flagship Aston of its time. Also fantastic deals on that originally $300K car for under $75K today (although that makes it much more expensive than the very similar DB9). I would make the same case on these cars as the Vantage: they are ultimately more valuable than they are today as future collectibles, and if I'm wrong, the worst case is that you may depreciate $10-$20K from a $40K price today. I think there is a floor on the price of these cars due to their exotic nature, reputation, cache, and quality. As long as you maintain them and don't drive them 200,000 miles! Like you, I love the idea of a V12 in my garage (partly because I think they are a dying breed) and I may publish another blog post about some of my recent searches for one from Ferrari, Aston, BMW, Jaguar, etc.

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    1. Hi David. Great Article. I am a 2005 DB9 owner and like minded when it comes to service, blogging and tracking the costs. I discovered this article while posting my own article with all my actual costs laid out for the past 3 years and 13,000 miles of ownership. Maybe it will help someone else out considering a used DB9 (which I would strongly encourage - the sound is hypnotic - who needs a stereo). You can check it out my costs here if you are interested https://aston1936.com/costs/

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    2. That's a terrific blog post, Steven! Honest, comprehensive, and eye opening! Judging by how many people access this blog post of mine, I think you and I are two of only a handful of people that have enough data on these cars AND have bothered to share it. The more we all know, the better! Thanks!!

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    3. HI i have been thinking about purchasing a 2008-2009 vantage v8 with 15000-30000 miles range. what should be a good price to buy the car at. how much will it cost me to maintain and service the car if i decide to keep it for 8-10 months. how much can i expect to sell it at 35000 miles.

      Please provide your feedback

      thank you for the article it helped me understand a lot for someone who is trying to get an entry level exotic car.

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    4. HelloMpatel, I can't say what your local market prices might be, but it seems like the 2008-2009 have leveled off at prices around $40K- $45K for a good manual transmission car under 30,000 miles. I stand by my repair and maintenance estimates above: if you keep it for a year, you MIGHT spend $3000 on tires, brakes, oil changes over 10,000 miles. You might be less depending on the condition of the tires and brakes when you purchase it. But you should expect that $3000, and half of that if you some some work yourself (see my link to my post regarding do-it-yourself brake change for the Aston). I still contend these cars DO NOT have any crazy expensive maintenance, unless something catastrophic happens. My car is still rock solid after 55,000 miles. Not a single oil or water leak, everything is perfect. Same original clutch. Buy a car for $40K or under, drive it for a year, it'll likely still be worth around the same amount. You might lose $3K in value, you might spend $3K in maintenance. You make lose/spend much less than that. That has been and remains my viewpoint.

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    5. HI Dave thank you so much...

      What about automatic? would 40-45k be a good range to purchase that car? if i can manage a dealership to do the maintenance prior to purchase and get the car for 45k and keep it for 10000 miles. would that be a good deal?

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    6. also would be a good idea to purchase a 2008 for $45k or a 2011 for $55k. only asking to find out the depreciation of the 2011 in a year

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  16. Thanks for the detailed explanation. It gave some very useful insight for buying used luxury cars.

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