Here’s What It Really Costs To Own A $45,000 Used Aston Martin

For a long time you suspected there was a difference between affording a used exotic car and affording own a used exotic car. Today, your suspicions will be confirmed.

Here’s the situation: I recently returned from a 1,487 mile road trip in my 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, where I drove from Philadelphia to Charleston, SC, and back. With some new fuel economy numbers, I’ve decided now would be the perfect time to let you know exactly what it has cost to own this car over the past five months.

But before that, a few words about my trip. It was glorious. This is mostly due to the wonderful people of Charleston, dozens of whom showed up to me at the cars and cafe and graciously showed me their cars.

It’s also thanks to the beautiful city of Charleston, which combines two of the finest things American society has to offer: people from the South and money from the North.

How is the Aston on the Autobahn? It’s not nearly as bad as one might expect. Many people think of the Aston as a “touring car”, but that’s even truer of bigger models like the DB9 and Vanquish.

The V8 Vantage is a sports car, with sports car handling, a sports car shifter, and a two-seat sports car, and sports car sizing. So you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be a good long-distance cruiser in the same way that you wouldn’t necessarily expect a soccer ball to be good at telling time. But he East a good long distance cruiser. The seats are comfortable, the ride is pleasant, the car is surprisingly quiet, and the cruise control, stereo, and air conditioning worked perfectly throughout the trip.

In fact, everything has been working perfectly for some time now, which brings me to my first point about the Aston’s cost of ownership: it’s been pretty reliable. I mean, yeah sure, my Aston Martin CPO warranty – which was about $3,800 more when I bought the car five months ago – has now paid out $5,498 in claims, after a faulty thermostat ( $738), a scheduling problem ($4,409) and door jamb replacement ($351).

But here’s the thing: Every problem with this car came within the first month of ownership, having spent the last seven months for sale – and totally undriving – on dealership land.

Since I started driving it every day and treating it like a normal car – not a piece of art to be wiped down twice a day with a microfiber diaper – it has rewarded me with rock solid reliability in the last five months and 5,000 miles of driving. I’m starting to think the first hiccups were a fluke, rather than the norm.

But that doesn’t mean owning it was cheap. On my 1,487 mile trip to Charleston and back, the Aston burned 77.366 gallons of gasoline, which equates to 19.22 miles per gallon. In highway driving alone, the car returned 20.19 miles per gallon, beating the EPA’s estimate of 19 mpg on the highway, although it only managed 13.19 mpg in the city. It also beats the EPA estimate, which was 12 city miles per gallon, but folks… that’s not good.

And then there is the interview. Every year or 10,000 miles, you must perform annual maintenance, which costs $1,400 at the Aston Martin dealership. Every three or four services you have to do additional things, which brings the cost down to almost $3,000. The previous owner took care of the rear brakes which cost him about $900, but I think I will soon have to redo the front brakes to the tune of about $1200. I paid $300 to fit a new front tire after having a flat earlier this year, when a new rear tire would have been closer to $400.

And then there is the clutch. When I bought the car, it was still on its original clutch – a rarity for a 10-year-old Vantage, and especially unusual for one that has spent its entire life in a town, like mine, that has lived near a decade in Washington, DC

I split the cost of a replacement clutch with the dealer who sold me the car, to the tune of $4,900, or $2,450 for each of us.

Surprisingly, the only reasonable cost of all of this is insurance. We have some of the highest insurance rates in the country here in Philadelphia, so I won’t give a number. But I will say that, for comparison, my Aston costs about as much to insure as my old Range Rover. Indeed, insurance is the only cost that actually decreases as the car ages.

Everything else remains as expensive as when the car was sold new. And my car was pretty damn expensive: When the first owner bought it from Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, Connecticut on March 12, 2007, the original window sticker listed an MSRP of around $126,000.

And so, any advice to anyone who’s emailed me asking if I think they should buy a $34,000 V8 Vantage with rims and a rebuilt title from a used car dealership in Florida Named “EXOTIC CARZZZ”: Just Because You Can Afford For to buy a used Aston Martin doesn’t mean you can afford own a.

@DougDeMuro is the author of Play with cars, which his mother says is “pretty decent”. He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer.

This story was originally published on June 8, 2016

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