Anybody who has worked with us at Auto Curators will know we’ve always had a little space in our hearts reserved for Aston Martin. We regularly work with the Aston Martin Owners Club, and it’s fair to say that over the years, we’ve had a few of these beautiful vehicles through the doors of our Hampshire detailing studio. But why is Aston Martin unique?
We, of course, have our thoughts on the answer to that question. But for this article, we thought we’d enlist the help of Aston Martin specialist Rupert Keyzar. Rupert is the co-owner of Racing Lines, which sources and sells classic and performance cars.
Read on to discover what Rupert has to say when we quiz him over what makes Aston Martin so special to drive and own.
Why is Aston Martin unique?
Q: Why do you think Aston Martin characterises timeless elegance and design?
RK: I think its history is important. However, I also believe that the front engine layout design allows for an almost unique shape in the world of high-end vehicles and supercars. While other supercars are about extreme looks with mid-engines, gorgeous as they are, Astons are more traditional but always with a hint of aggression and real purpose.
Q: Which Aston Martins are hand-built?
RK: Except for the V12 Vanquish, all cars built at Newport Pagnell were almost exclusively crafted and hand-built. Hand-assembled is what they are now, and this started with the DB7 at Bloxham in 1993. Certain aspects of modern car production are still done by hand. This includes the interior leather etc., but, sadly, the days of Aston Martins being hand-built are over.
Q: How does performance and engineering make an Aston Martin special?
RK: In truth, it is the high-end status of Aston Martin ownership that has created their exclusivity. Their association with James Bond has added to this prestige.
That said, the V8 Vantage cars had the brutal performance that put Aston Martin on the world power stakes map. It certainly gave Ferrari and Lamborghini a taste of their own medicine. However, until the DB9 and the baby V8 Vantage came along, the cars’ engineering was always extremely solid but quite basic. As a low-volume, high-end performance, hand-built car company, Aston Martin didn’t have the budget to develop the type of cars that its rivals did. But that became part of the Aston Martin legend, making them even more exclusive.
Q: How do limited production runs contribute to Aston Martin’s exclusivity?
RK: Limited production runs have ensured the classic Astons’ prices remain high, particularly the Zagato-bodied cars. But once the new era of Astons was introduced in 2003 – the VH platform cars – production runs increased rapidly. Limited production-run versions of existing models were introduced to regain that sense of exclusivity. To this day, Zagato-bodied Astons of all ages and limited production runs of all models still command high prices over their more ‘standard’ stablemates.
Q: Why do you think Aston Martins are culturally significant?
RK: Since the introduction of the DB5 and its starring role in Goldfinger as James Bond’s gadget-laden ride, this carmaker has woven itself into the DNA of British culture, resulting in its ‘quintessentially British’ tag. In the 50s and 60s, Aston Martin was a quality sports car manufacturer with beautifully designed cars and innovative engineering, echoing the swinging 60s in looks and style. However, with each decade that has passed, more exclusive and expensive cars have been added. It was the V8 range that finally launched Aston Martin into supercar territory. The company’s past achievements certainly laid the ground for today’s hypercars.
Q: How can prospective owners tailor their vehicles with bespoke options?
RK: Main dealers can always offer various options and upgrades for owners. The factory can also take special requests, for at the end of the day, they will undertake most requests if you have the money!
Some very limited production runs even came from a single customer’s desire to have an utterly one-off car made for them, such as the Vantage V600 Dreadnought. As long as you had the money, almost anything was possible with the classic cars.
Being able to truly personalise a modern car or retrofit a classic endows each vehicle with something unique. This will appeal to both the bespoke and investment crowd.
Q: How is Aston Martin addressing innovation and the future of motoring?
RK: Today’s Aston Martin is a world away from the past. With a line-up of petrol, hybrid and F1 style-based cars, the company has its sights firmly on the future. Electrification is part of that, of course, but not at the expense of ‘traditional’ engines, with a hybrid version of all current models being an option. Complete electrification of all future cars has been touted, but whether it will happen in practice is another issue. Cars like Aston Martin are desirable because of their large capacity petrol V8 and V12 engines – you remove those, you remove the most significant reason for buying them in the first place.
Q: Does owning an Aston Martin go beyond owning a car?
RK: Aston Martin is now a lifestyle brand, in line with most other high-end car manufacturers. It is involved in and associated with other high-end businesses such as property, watches, motor yachts, etc.
Personally, I think this waters down and reduces the brand to just a status badge, as opposed to being – a British sports and supercar made to the highest standard, specification and performance. In my opinion, that is the best thing it can ever be.
Our thanks go to Rupert Keyzar for his help with this article. If you have an Aston (or any other vehicle) that requires some love and attention, we can help. Take a look at our services HERE.