If Britain can be said to never have truly entered the muscle car fray, then the Aston Martin V8s that prowled the UK starting in the late 1960s are surely the next best thing. Unabashedly aggressive in appearance, and equally savage in sheer grunt, the V8 Vantage also offers something that no American muscle car of the time could ever equal: authentic European luxury and exclusivity. For in addition to its performance credentials, spending time in a V8 Vantage is to coddle yourself in soft leather while admiring the real wood paneling. Yet the power on tap is the real story: the none-too-subtle hood bulge barely conceals the 5.3-liter V8, whose hot cams and revised carburetion allowed for an unprecedented 170 mph top speed, at which point the standard rear decklid spoiler becomes important. The Vantage’s soundtrack of burbles and bellows means that at any speed the mighty V8 stirs something primal in a driver’s soul that must be felt to be properly understood.