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Talk Me Out Of It: Unpretentious Edition

The Aston Martin V-8 Vantage can be had for under $40k. But is a Pontiac GTO able to provide the same experience?


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It is with a chuckle that I must admit I know my audience well – 84% of you vote 7 Series (I thought the GT-T might temp a few more). This week, I have a really fun one, because I’m going to present two really good deals. The problem is the badge, or lack thereof. It’s an Aston Martin V-8 Vantage and a Pontiac! I know right?

No wait! Listen…

The 2006 Aston Martin V-8 Vantage vs the 2006 Pontiac GTO

See the Aston Martin V-8 Vantage listing here

See the Pontiac GTO listing here

Mike, nothing could be more pretentious than an Aston…

No, dear reader. Nothing could be more pretentious than a new Aston. This one is almost old enough to vote. Pull up with one of these on a Sunday morning, and you will generate the excitement of a high school gym dodge ball game.

No one makes me bleed my own blood.

See, I think you buy one of these because you’re a cool car person. V-8. Stick. Aston Martin good-looks. Others won’t know, but you do, and you’re my kind of person.

Against this not-as-Euro-as-you-think coupe is a throat lozenge. The Pontiac GTO. Sort of looks like everything? Actually, it sort of looks like the Aston, since it’s the same color. And what’s this? V-8? Manual? A historic badge?

These two are a lot closer than you think, in ways you might not think of.

The 2006 Aston Martin V-8 Vantage

That’s a wrap. Photo: Cars & Bids

Allow me to spit some facts. This first-get Vantage was designed by Henrik Fisker, he of BMW Z8 and Karma fame. Looks like his work, doesn’t it? Under its sexy bonnet (that’s the hood for the uncultured) lies a 4.3 liter AJ V-8 from Jaguar, complete with dry sump lubrication. Of course, you can ignore the fact that it was developed by Ford ten years before the Vantage was even an itch in Henrik’s pants.

With 380 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque, it seems like this Aston isn’t as high-strung as an E92 M3. Are you picking this over said M3, or a 911 of the same vintage? If you’re cool…

  • 60,300 miles
  • Bid to $30,000 so far (I’ll get back to this)
  • Minor damage from an accident in 2014
  • That wrap? Whatever, it’ll come off.
  • Other mods like a V-12 Vantage clutch plate and engine tune given me pause. PPI this.
  • I’ll whisper this but it isn’t very nice inside. The two-tone seats and recycled buttons from a Ford in a car costing this much new was hilarious.
  • Manual!
  • Service records show a bunch of work done to it – just approach with caution. This is Talk Me Out Of It, after all.
Arrest-me red. Photo: Cars & Bids

Bring your F1 jacket

You know what won’t get old? Pointing to the Aston and saying, “That’s my car over there.” Or, “Hey babe, wanna take the Aston tonight?” Who cares if you’re just going to the Olive Garden. The bread sticks are free you know.

Speaking of bread, you can buy an Aston Martin V-8 Vantage all day for under $40,000. Sometimes under $30k. Think of all the Aston F1 gear you can buy with everything you save on the car. Lance Stroll needs all the help he can get.

The 2006 Pontiac GTO

UDO – Unidentified Driving Object. Photo: Cars & Bids

This Pontiac was a great idea. The concept of it, I mean. Take a car already being built in Australia, plop an LS2 V-8 inside, badge it with a legendary name, and sit back as the cash rolls in.

The reality was far from that. Blame the GTO name. If this was the Pontiac “Cough Drop”, perhaps no one would have batted an eye, but no one liked seeing that name on this car. Pontiac would die just a few years later.

Still, it stacks up well to the Aston:

  • 64,600 miles
  • Bid to $11,601
  • Six-speed manual
  • 400 horsies, 400 lb-ft of twist and shout (how did they get so little out of so much displacement?)
  • The Aston is nicer inside but only just. And that’s not really a compliment to the GTO – it’s so 2000s plastic GM, you just need a Tupperware badge
  • Clean CarFAX
  • An intake an exhaust have been added, nothing crazy. I’m sure the car needed it to sound proper.
  • Properly maintained
  • The front bumper has been resprayed, I’d have the seller send better photos just to be sure it’s clean.
It seems like red highlights are just a 2000s thing. Photo: Cars & Bids

How do you take your V-8?

The GTO seems to max out around $20,000, so while it isn’t quite in Aston territory, it’s pretty close to some of the higher-milage ones. Or, you could grab two GTOs for the price of one super clean Vantage! Hey, I love providing options.

I’m sure the GTO will feel just as quick as the Vantage. Like wine and beer, both will get you light-headed in a hurry, it’s just a matter of how you want to get there (and how you want to feel in the morning).

Wait, let me try it…

“Hey babe, want to take the Pontiac tonight?!”

Hmm. How unpretentious are you?

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If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email! 

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