Shortly after Ford’s purchase of Aston Martin Lagonda in 1987, work began on a new ‘Small Aston’ GT car to take over from the V8 range. Initially codenamed ‘Project NPX’ for ‘Newport Pagnell Experimental’, company chairman, Walter Hayes, appointed stylist Ian Callum to design the new car. Callum took his inspiration from the classic DB Astons such as the DB2, the DB5 and the famous and elegant Zagato models from Aston’s history.
What emerged was the DB7, an iconic and stylish new Aston Martin that seemed a quintessential British sports car, despite its use of many parts from other cars, including door handles from a Mazda estate. When the design and engineering was complete the car underwent extensive prototype testing all across the world and in early 1993 Hayes invited Sir David Brown to become Life President of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. This provided the perfect opportunity to revive the DB prefix, and, in due course, the DB7 was revealed to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1993. It was, without any doubt, the car of the show.
The construction of the body was a departure from established Aston Martin practice at the time. Rather than a handmade aluminium skin attached to a steel platform, as had been the norm for many years since the advent of the DB4, the new car had a steel semi-monocoque body shell with composite materials used for the bumpers, sill covers, bonnet, boot lid and front wings.
Car displayed courtesy of the Aston Martin Heritage Trust.
Photography by Martyn Goddard.