I was a little slow on the uptake. I bought a DB9 – then I started to ask questions on the forums I should have asked BEFORE I bought one. “What should I look out for?” “What options are standard?” “What changed between the model years?”
These questions are not unique, and through this Blog I am hearing users asking me those same questions, and I am doing my best to answer.
I finally noticed, discovered, was pointed at probably the ultimate resource in the matter. Written by Grant Neal, The Definitive Guide to the new Gaydon era Aston Martin – A Buyer’s Guide and Car Enthusiast’s Guide is really what you need.
The book covers all the models manufactured at the Gaydon factory, including the Aston Martin Vantage, DB9, Rapide, Virage, DBS, and Vanquish including the various Coupe, Roadster and Volante versions. The newer 15th edition now includes the DB11 (V8 and V12) plus the new DBS and Vantage.
It’s packed with photos, specs, and first hand experience. I rarely read a book front to back, but this was an exception. Well written and logically laid out it takes you through a progression of the cars developed and produced from 2003 right through 2019.
If I was buying a DB9, what would I look for?
For those of you seeking out the perfect used DB9 – here’s my advice based on what I got from the book. Get a 2007 or newer car. The Model Year (MY) ’05 cars are generally the cheapest at this point, but you may want to stretch to a slightly later model. Many of the ‘options’ on MY ’05 cars became standard on the MY ’06, and they finally seemed to have most of the mechanical niggles worked out and the best base set of standard features by MY ’07. So, find a low mileage single owner MY ’07 with a solid service history in the colors you want. If you purchase an earlier car, be sure to check it has the options that are important to you, and that the myriad of Dealer Field Service Actions/Bulletins that should have been performed under the cars original 3 year warranty were, else you’ll be stuck paying to have the repairs done yourself. [Of course the DB9 I really want now is a 2010 DBS Manual 2+0 Coupe – time to keep saving my pennies]
The Best Sections
Section 2 (the model range) – The DB9
Pages 136-155 (in the 11th edition) which includes the great coverage of Standard Specifications, Detailed Model Year Changes and the Recall and Service Action List. This section really helped my narrow down my opinion on what model year and options I would look for.
Section 3 (Options and Color Choices)
Pages 203-233 (in the 11th edition) which include a superb summary of the myriad of choices that were available, and on which models and when. Certainly helps understand if you have a basic car or one with all the bells & whistles, and this helps establish value.
Section 4 (Inspection – Common Issues Running and Owning the Cars)
Pages 235-279 (in the 11th edition). Easily the best part of the book if you are worried about what to be checking out when considering buying a used Aston Martin. I wish I had discovered this book and read this before purchasing my vehicle as I would have realized my car had many of the common issues still to be repaired (and ignored by the Damn Previous Owner) . Read this section slowly and carefully (maybe twice), and then apply it to the car your are considering. There are many well known issues with the models through the years and this section lays them all out.
My only complaint with the book is this – It needs to be larger! A hard cover 9″x12″ (or larger) coffee table book vs. the A5 (6″x8.5″) soft cover it is now. I was challenged to read the very fine print on many of the photographs, etc. If they come out with a coffee table book version, I will certainly snap up another copy!
Get your Copy
[Updated May 1, 2020]
Originally (in 2015 when I bought my copy – the 11th edition) the book was available directly through Sceptre Publishing’s website for about £20 and you could also find it on Amazon.com in the USA for about $50 USD.
Recently with the release of the 2019 version (15th edition) they have moved the book to an Amazon Kindle only format. [Groan] I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect there are a low number of sales per year to justify the massive expensive of printing and binding a new edition each time. Its great that Grant Neal keeps updating it and coming out with new editions, we want him to. To solve this dilemma, they are just electronically publishing it for the Kindle. Personally, I’d prefer a hard copy, but I get their challenge. The good news is that its cheaper (only about $39 USD) and you don’t have to wait (instant delivery to your Kindle). Even better new is that you can zoom the pages up to larger size, thus solving my complaint about the small A5 format of the printed version. I believe you can even read it on non-kindle devices like iPads and computer with the Kindle App installed.
Here is the link to the Amazon Kindle version over at Amazon (click here).
[Updated again April 2021]
The 16th edition of the book has been released and I’ve actually written up an entire article about it here. Please keep reading and carry on over to the new article to find out what’s new, how to get an upgrade for free, and that my ‘Princess Piddles’ has snuck into the book now (page 279).