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A Year With My Aston Martin: Saying Goodbye

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author photo by Doug DeMuro November 2016

It has finally happened: My 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, of bumper-to-bumper warranty fame, has moved on to a new owner. I had a wonderful year with my Aston Martin, and I enjoyed it immensely, and I used it to do some crazy things, but -- like a moving walkway at the airport -- it had to end sometime. And so it has.

Before I get into my final thoughts about my Aston Martin, which are detailed below, I'm going to wrap up some of the crazy things I've done with it. I'll start with the numbers: I drove my V8 Vantage 17,478 total miles in just over ten months, and I brought it to 32 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Canada (twice). And as I discussed recently in my column about ownership costs, I spent about $23,000 in owning it for a year, including depreciation and taxes.

On the YouTube front, my Aston Martin was tremendously successful: It starred in 22 videos and launched probably my most famous saying -- bumper to bumper --which ended up being the title of my latest book. The car also served as fodder for dozens of columns and articles and the launching point for several memorable stunts.

The most memorable, of course, was the time I swapped out the summer performance tires with a set of studded winter tires -- wonderfully provided by Finnish tire manufacturer Nokian -- and drove to Vermont in search of snow. Unfortunately, there was no snow in Vermont when I visited -- but my friend Bill convinced me to bring the V8 Vantage out on frozen Lake Iroquois to drive on the ice. I don't think I've ever been more nervous in my entire life, but I did it -- for hours -- and ended up having a blast. Bill and I still keep in touch. #IceViper?

But that wasn't my only Aston Martin stunt. I also got it stuck in the snow, much to the dismay of my readers and viewers with no sense of humor. I brought it to CarMax for an appraisal, I showed you how people react to it when they see it on the street, and I used it to give you a tour of Washington, D.C. I also compared it to a Porsche 911 Turbo and, uh, a Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey comparison was more popular.

But the main memory I'll have of my Aston Martin will be all the road trips we took together. In addition to the trip to Vermont, I brought it to Charleston, South Carolina, to Ontario twice, to Maine this summer with my fiancee -- who was a good sport about participating in an Aston Martin bumper-to-bumper warranty YouTube experiment -- and, most importantly, across the country, from Philadelphia to California and back.

That trip was beyond memorable: Not only did I have several amazing meetups with readers and viewers, but I drove the car through unending small towns, over beautiful mountain passes, down rutted dirt roads, and in gorgeous national parks. I also got pulled over in rural Montana for violating the speed limit by 10 miles per hour and stopped in the middle of the road to let a bison pass in Wyoming. And then there was my crowning achievement: When I drove it 145 miles per hour -- legally -- on the Bonneville Salt Flats, and then visited four car washes immediately afterwards.

So my Aston Martin and I did a lot together. While the average Aston owner drives about 2,000 to 3,000 miles a year, my 17,500 miles means I reallllllly crammed a lot of driving into my Aston ownership experience. It also means I had a lot of time to get to know my V8 Vantage. And my conclusions?

I liked it, but I didn't love it.

I enjoyed walking up to the car, climbing inside, looking at its gorgeous shape, and hearing its wonderful engine note. But there's absolutely no doubt that it's less practical than a Porsche 911, and even regular maintenance is more expensive. Most importantly, though, it doesn't quite drive as well: A 911 feels nimbler and more tossable, and the Porsche benefits from dramatically better shifter and clutch action. And let's be honest: Even though my V8 Vantage faithfully accompanied me on thousands of miles of road trips to dozens of states, it's still left some lingering questions about reliability. After all, my warranty did pay for itself within my first month of ownership.

But most importantly, my "liked it but didn't love it" attitude comes from this: Since I sold my Aston Martin, I haven't, for a moment, really missed it. I haven't wished it was still in my possession, and I haven't thought about how cool it would be to take it out for one last drive. Maybe it's just because I drove it so much -- which caused the uniqueness to wear off -- but the car didn't really give me the exotic, special experience I was expecting.

Nonetheless, I'm happy I've had it -- and in the world of the DougCar, it's either my favorite or my second favorite, right at the top with the Nissan Skyline GT-R and ahead of my Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, my Hummer and my Ferrari 360 Modena. If you've been watching and reading since day one, I sincerely thank you -- and I also give my sincerest thanks to my excellent dealership, F.C. Kerbeck Aston Martin in New Jersey, and my wonderful service advisor, Eric Lau, for taking such good care of me and my car.

As for the Aston's replacement, well, stay tuned: I'll do a new round of "Choose the DougCar" in the next month or two. As I always say, there's much more to come.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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A Year With My Aston Martin: Saying Goodbye - Autotrader