Ask any car enthusiast who they think consistently makes the most beautiful cars, and I guarantee you Aston Martin will be at the top of their list. Aston Martin has a rich history of designing stunning cars that look as elegant at 20 years old as they did when they were new. And in the case of the Aston Martin DB7, there is more to the story than just looks.
In the early 90’s Aston Martin was under the ownership of Ford and heading towards failure as an entire company. They gave Aston one last chance to make a comeback using the resources that Ford had to offer, and the result was the 1994 Aston Martin DB7. The DB7 had the highest production numbers of any Aston Martin ever, and started a design language that they would follow for the next 25 years. From what was presumably an effort to cut production costs, there were a few interesting components the DB7 shared with more plebeian cars.
1. Jaguar XJS Chassis
The chassis of the DB7 is a revised version of the Jaguar XJS dating back to 1975. Just like the DB7, the XJS chassis started life as home to a 3.6 liter inline 6. Eventually both the Aston and the Jag would come with a v12 under the hood.
2. Mazda 323F tail lights
For us in America the tail lights are something nobody would have noticed as a shared part, because the Mazda 323F is from Europe. Aston covered up bits of the tail lights with sheet metal, so they don’t even really look the same from the outside. But since Mazda was also owned by Ford at the time, Aston had access to the parts.
3. Mazda Miata Door Handles
Another thing Aston Martin swiped from Mazda are the interior door handles from the NA Miata. While a lot of things on this list don’t surprise me, this one actually does. A major touch point like a door handle is something that gives perception of quality. The miata door handle doesn’t particularly exude those qualities.
4. Citroen CX Mirrors
For the sake of accuracy the DB7, Lotus Esprit, McLaren F1, Jaguar XJ220, and the Citroen CX all supposedly shared the same door mirrors. After doing some digging, it looks like the Citroen wore them first. Whoever designed them is owed a huge royalty check.
5. Hummer H1 Transmission
Otherwise known as the GM-4L80E, this 4-speed automatic is a derivative of the Buick Grand National’s I drove in my last article. General motors actually sold this transmission to a lot of manufacturers. It also made its way into the Bentley Arnage, Rolls Royce Silver Spirit, and Jaguar XJR.
6. Jaguar Engine Block
It should be pretty obvious by now that I have a soft spot for a nice inline 6, and the Aston’s has good genes. The 335 horsepower/361 lb-ft 3.2 liter engine is derived from the Jaguar AJ6. This platform was basically Jaguar’s corporate engine for quite a while in the 80’s and 90’s and was offered in various displacements over the course of its life.
7. Ford Thunderbird Supercharger
Otherwise known as an Eaton M90 supercharger, it has made its way into a wide variety of vehicles, with the Thunderbird SC being one. It’s common for manufacturers to use third party companies for things like superchargers and turbos. And in the supercharging world, Eaton is one of the best.
Parts sharing is not something unique to the DB7 or even Aston Martin. Every manufacturer does it all the way up to Rolls Royce. In the case of the DB7, it didn’t take away from its beauty. While I wish I could tell you how it drove, I think we can all pretty unanimously say it’s a stunner. And isn’t that ultimately the point of an Aston anyway?