On January 15th, Aston Martin will celebrate its 100th birthday. Since 1913, it has been creating elegant, luxurious, high performance cars that I first discovered when watching Goldfinger. In nine of the Bond movies an Aston appears – more so than any other brand of car.
All Astons are elegant, distinguished and the car can be made to your specifications — any color combination you wish, with embroidered seats upon request, and literally any feature one desires. Each car takes longer to paint (about 60 hours) than it takes to build an entire Porsche! You can understand why the likes of Alex Garfield and James Bond drive them.
All Astons are made with aluminum frames which makes them lighter and more responsive. These are the “super cars” that are known by few people, but once you drive one, you’re hooked for life. The interiors are as beautiful as the exteriors with symmetrical round dials and a hidden screen for your navigation and controls and 1,000-watt Bang & Olafson speakers that discretely descend into your dashboard in an exercise of discretion. A sterling silver pen is even built into the dashboard for your convenience.
Sleek is its middle name with the door handles flush into the door,so nothing impedes its wind efficiency. When you take delivery of your new Aston, there is a plaque on the inside door sills edge that announces “Made in England for” and then your name. The name of the Aston Martin technician who built your car proudly appears on a plaque mounted on your car’s engine.
Many varieties of Astons exist, but the entry-level car is the Vantage. It is the only V8 Aston and starts around $116,000. Like all Astons, it is exquisitely made with the leather interior stitched by hand. The engine and electronics are German, but the cars are built in the UK, near Oxford. Jeremy Clarkson of BBC’s Top Gear anointed the Vantage as “sheer automotive perfection.” In all Vantage variants, you feel the road as you effortlessly fly along the country roads.
The next model on the list is Aston’s New DB 9. It’s a true grand touring car with a 510-horsepower engine to comfortably propel you from 0 to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds. It can cruise at speeds up to 183 mph with ease, and, like all Astons, is equally comfortable driving about town in unsurpassed style.
The other Astons sold in the U.S. include the Rapide, Virage and Vanquish. All are beautiful pieces of machinery. The Rapide was recently call the “the most beautiful” touring sedan in the world by a leading international automotive publication. The Virage (one of my favorites), recently completed production. And the Vanquish has an innovative “launch control” button to propel it from 0 to 60 in an astounding 4.1 seconds.
In the rest of the world, three other models are wonderful to drive, but are not sold here. The Department of Transportation insists on having seven cars per model to crash before they’ll allow the importation. Needless to say, Aston does not want to waste cars that cost over half a million dollars. These three models are the Cygnet, a luxury small commuter car designed for city driving, the V12 Zagato and the One-77. The V12 Zagato costs about $525,000 and is an Aston of Italian design and grace — this thanks to the historic collaboration between Aston Martin of Great Britain and the Milan-based styling house, Zagato. The V12 Zagato, of which only 150 will be built, has a 575-horsepower engine with hand-molded body panels. The top of the line of all Astons is the One-77 with 750-horsepower and costs about $2 million ($8 million in China). Only 77 of these were built. This is the car that Alex Garfield will have in a future book so she will be able to outrun all other cars.
So the next time you want to indulge yourself and look at a high performance car, follow the example of James Bond and Alex Garfield and consider an Aston – you will never regret it! But remember, Aston usually makes – at the most – only 1,000 cars of any model so snap up your favorite before it is discontinued.
P.S. The nine Bond movies with Astons are: Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Living Daylights, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall.