Monday, January 24, 2011

Dow Jones: Aston Martin sales decelerate in UK down 9%

The most interesting part of this article is the difference in sales volume between AM and Bentley and Porsche:

But the luxury marque is being left in the dust by Bentley and Porsche, whose UK sales were up by almost one-third last year, according to figures from their UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Bentley registered a 31% sales rise to 993, and Porche sold 29% more cars at 6,784, although this was 29% below the 2006 peak of 9,522 cars.

The article continues...

Sales of Aston Martins – the preferred cars of investment bankers and hedge fund managers – continued to fall in the UK last year, despite a bounceback in sales of Bentleys and Porsches.

The favourite marque of fictional spy James Bond suffered a 9% fall in sales to 1,080 in the UK last year, its fourth consecutive annual fall and down by more than half from its 2006 peak of 2,292 cars.

Read more here

Friday, January 21, 2011

For sale: 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage

Love the color, read more HERE

From its launch in 1965 the DB6 very much carried on the mantle of the legendary DB series. Motor magazine, were clearly impressed by there test Vantage: “In an effortless way that few cars can match, the DB6 makes an overall speed limit of 70mph look quite ridiculous. At its maximum speed of more than twice this, it is reassuringly stable, probably more so than many cars struggling to maintain their 70mph convoy speed. If you need to stop from high speed the breaks are outstandingly powerful, at a point which really needs remembering if there is a less well endowed vehicle behind;and the handling in both wet and dry conditions is superior to all but a couple of the production two-seater sportscars we have tested.”

This fabulous Vantage example is only in its fifth ownership from new and has less than 60,000 documented miles on the clock. The subject of meticulous mechanical and cosmetic restoration it is beautifully presented throughout in its original livery of Caribbean Blue, with its original reconditioned dark blue Connolly hide interior, and new dark blue carpets. In its current ownership for the last 19 years it is accompanied by a comprehensive history file and has to be one of the finest DB6‘s I have had the privilege to drive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RM Auction ” The British Are Back!” Thursday Jan 20, 2011 live video webcast

If you cannot be in Arizona, here is what will hopefully be a live feed of the auction where, in addition to a group of Aston Martins, this beautiful 1927 Bentley will also be auctioned.


RM Auctions Tonight: Get Thee to the Arizona Biltmore!

The Arizona Biltmore is the place to be tonight as RM Auctions have their "The British are Back" auction featuring an amazing amount of British cars and beautiful Aston Martins.

AutoWeek is reporting larger than average crowds, with the benchmark Barrett-Jackson Auction drawing a record 39,000 people to the preview day - a staggering 85% increase from last year.

The schedule of lots to be auctioned is listed HERE.

I will be reporting the auction results as soon as they are posted. Good luck to all bidders.

If you were there, what would you bid on?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Video: Part 2. Aston Martin Rapide. True Power Should Be Shared

Well, Aston Martin "dropped" the second installation of their video series featuring the Rapide. This has a scintillating plot which includes a couple driving through a tunnel and some guy whose bench press in an empty warehouse is rudely interrupted by some bad guys (who are summarily dispatched with Kung Fu like moves). It is only 2:30, but I still found myself fast-forwarding to get to something happening.

Again, I will also offer you the second installation of BMW's excellent 2001-2002 series "The Hire" for comparison directed by Ang Lee.

Aston Martin sued by Troll for Patent Infingement

In the popular venue of the Eastern District of Texas, Aston Martin Lagonda North America was sued today for patent infringement of US patent 6520669 relating to "Flexible substrate mounted solid-state light sources for exterior vehicular lighting."

The original company looks to have assigned the patent to the plaintiff in this case, Effective Illuminated Pathways, LLC who is suing Aston Martin in addition to a host of other automotive manufacturers including BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen Group.

In classic troll shake-down fashion, they are also asserting patents against a host of retailers and other manufacturing companies including Wal-Mart and others. The case is 6:11-cv-00034-LED

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Video: Part 1. Aston Martin Rapide. True Power Should Be Shared

Aston is attempting to mimic the success of BMW's excellent The Hire series from 2001-2002. Where BMW had Clive Ownen in a beautifully filmed series full of action, installment one of the AM version looks like it is going to be a long boring commercial full of product placement. I hope that part II picks up the pace.

Compare the above rubbish with the first installment of BMW's "The Hire":

Le Mans-Winning Aston Martin That Inspired Bond's DBS for Sale at $1.5 Million

Here is a good option for the Gentlemen Racer set.

Found at Jameslist

The incredible Aston Martin DBR9 race car (above) that was the 2008 Le Mans GT1 class winner and fifth vehicle overall is a pretty mean piece of machinery in its own right. But the car, which was built in 2006, has an even more impressive item on its resumé: the DBR9's styling lead to the ultra-cool Aston Martin DBS driven by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale. Now the iconic DBR9 has been listed for sale in the UK for about $1.5 million. Based on the DB9 road car, the name DBR9 is derived from the original 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning DBR1 car which not only won the 24 Hour race in 1959 but also the World Sportscar title. The DBR9 features custom carbon fiber composite body panels for racing to help make the most of the 600 hp engine along with some other modifications built for speed. The racing history of the car with its famed blue and orange Gulf livery is varied and successful with 3 wins and 2 second places in the 2006 American Le Mans Series, and a win in the FIA GT1 Championship at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Auction recap: Aston Martin DB MkIII Drophead makes £172,700 at Sandown Park

The 1959 DB MkIII Drophead Coupe we discussed here sold for a healthy 173k GBP at the last Barrons auction of the year.

Also sold was the project car we discuss here for 66k GBP.

Read more details at

Aston Martin DB5, a James Bond History

One of my favorite stops, UK blog MI6 does an excellent job in this post of cataloging the history of the DB5 in James Bond movies. These movies introduced the Aston to a wide global audience and caused countless people to fall in love with the classic sports car design

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Aston Martin IPO

A football team too rich for your blood? Well, here is another "prestige" investment option. Looks like there will be an opportunity to own a part of a newly floated Aston Martin. According to the Sunday Times, Investment Dar the Kuwaiti owners of Aston Martin Motor Cars are looking for ways to inject capital into the company.

Personally, I have always followed two important investment tips: never invest in airlines and never invest in car companies. However, this is not your dad's FoMoCo. While no financials are publically available, the company has introduced several new models and the engineering joint venture with Daimler is certainly intriguing.

The Aston Martin Review would be very interested to see the valuation being proposed when the offering sheet is put together. My guess is that this will go down as a limited private offering and people will overpay to be a part of the Aston Martin brand. Good news for Investment Dar and also for the Brand in general since it will be able to raise capital for future growth. What do you think?

Aston Martin seeks backers
Ben Marlow
235 words
9 January 2011
The Sunday Times

ASTON MARTIN is poised to begin a search for wealthy new backers as its owners prepare the British luxury carmaker for a stock market flotation.

The Middle Eastern consortium that owns Aston Martin — made famous in the 1960s as James Bond's favourite car — wants to raise several hundred million pounds to help to bankroll an expansion of the sports car manufacturer.

Investment Dar, the Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund that bought Aston Martin four years ago from Ford, has been expanding the model range of the classic car and is keen to add a collection of branded luxury goods.

Rich investors are likely to fall over themselves to inject money into the Warwickshire manufacturer. When Investment Dar bought Aston Martin, it fought off competition from several billionaire individuals as well as some of the world's biggest private equity firms.

The Kuwaitis are expected to appoint an investment bank in the coming weeks to identify options for attracting new backers. This could include selling shares or raising debt through a bond.

Under the Kuwaitis, Aston Martin has launched several models, including the fourdoor Rapide. In the three months to September 2010, 304 Aston Martins were registered in Britain, up 31% from the previous three months. The chief executive Ulrich Bez is pinning his hopes on the launch of the low-emission Cygnet minicar, similar to a Smart car.

Bonhams Auction: 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon

Continuing on the Feb 5 Bonhams auction, here is a 2003 restoration of a DB5 on offer. The workmanship looks very good, but some of the fit comments are troubling especially, "the rear bumper needs to adjusted to clear the boot lock". Now, this might not be that big of a deal, but it would be good to inspect the alignment to ensure there is no damage hiding. Otherwise, the full rebuild restoration should bring in good value.

It is strange what people find appealing or not appealing in cars. For example, I think this is a beautiful car, but for the DB5 logo. In all cases, the logo looks too big and too dated. The remainder of the design is timeless, but the font of the logo roots the car in the 1960's, and not in a good way. They are estimating 225k Euro for this RHD example, probably a good estimate.

That logo:

'Like all classic GT cars, it combines enormous speed with comfort and the more you put into your driving, the more the car returns for your entertainment. And the DB5 really is entertaining to anyone who can exploit its outstanding performance, handling and brakes. It will also carry four people (just) and a fair amount of luggage so the merits of family transport (if need be) have not been entirely sacrificed to speed and elegant looks.' – Motor.

Introduced in July 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 represented a further evolution of the preceding DB4 series rather than the beginning of an entirely new model line. The major change was the adoption of a 4.0-litre version of the (previously) 3.7-litre six-cylinder engine, this enlarged unit having been seen first in the Lagonda Rapide of 1961. Equipped with three SU carburettors the '400' engine produced 282bhp at 5,500rpm and was mated to a four-speed/overdrive gearbox, a 'proper' ZF five-speed unit being standardised later. Outwardly there was little to distinguish the DB5 from the final Series 5 DB4 apart from twin fuel filler caps, though these had already appeared on some cars. Beneath the skin however, there were numerous improvements including alternator electrics, Girling disc brakes instead of Dunlops, Sundym glass, electric windows and an oil pressure gauge as standard equipment. The DB5's superb performance – 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 148mph – ranked it amongst the world's fastest cars, while even more urge was available from the Vantage version.

The Aston Martin Owners Club's 'Register of Members Cars' (published 2001) lists the car offered here – chassis number 'DB5/1538/R' with engine number '400/1561' – as belonging at that time to a Mrs S M Harris and registered 'JRE 600B' in the UK.

During the period 2003-2004 the Aston was treated to a thorough restoration at the hands of respected marque specialist Ricky Cann (all invoices on file). Works undertaken at that time include stripping and fully rebuilding the engine; completely overhauling the braking system (including servo and master cylinder); rewiring the electrical system; installing a vehicle tracker and alarm; and re-plating the front bumper. New parts fitted include the front suspension, stainless-steel exhaust system, rear bumper and Turrino wire wheels shod with 205HR/15 radial tyres. Subsequent works (carried out in 2005) include repairs to the door, wheelarches and sills; repainting the body; and an interior re-trim in black leather.

The car is described by the vendor as rust free, starting and driving perfectly, and with everything in proper working order: gauges, indicators, electrics, etc. We are advised that nevertheless it would benefit from a few relatively minor improvements: the windscreen's rubber seal needs to be renewed; the rear bumper needs to adjusted to clear the boot lock; and two small scratches on body require attention. Finished in the silver-grey livery forever associated with James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, the car is offered with a full file of documentation (ownership, restoration photographs, invoices, etc) and Aston Martin certification confirming matching chassis/engine numbers. A very superior example from private ownership which deserves close inspection.

Estimate: €225,000 - 275,000

Contact the Specialist to discuss this lot or selling in a future sale
Email: Philip Kantor
Tel: +32 476 879 471

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bonhams Auction: 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 owned by King of Belgium

Again checking out some of the upcoming auctions, I was looking at the Feb 5 Bonhams auction in Paris. This auction has 5 very choice Aston Martins, with 5 will probably be selling north of 150,000 GBP.

The most interesting lot looks to be the 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 owned by King of Belgium. The car is exquisite. Detailing is spot-on. Even more rare in LHD configuration.

Formerly the property of His Majesty King Baudouin of Belgium

'The Aston Martin DB2/4 is an expensive car designed to cater for the connoisseur of sports cars who is not limited by financial considerations.' - Autocar, 2nd October 1953.

With the introduction of the '2+2' DB2/4 in October 1953, Aston Martin extended the DB2's appeal to the hitherto untapped yet increasingly important market comprised of 'sports car enthusiasts with a family'. By modifying the rear of the chassis and reducing the fuel tank capacity from 19 to 17 gallons, Aston's engineers liberated sufficient space within the existing design for two child-sized occasional rear seats. Alternatively, the rear seat backs could be folded down, thus creating a load-carrying platform that more than doubled the luggage space. The latter could be accessed via the 2/4's opening rear door, a pioneering example of the now commonplace 'hatchback' concept.

'This transformation gives the Aston Martin DB2/4 an unrivalled luggage-carrying capacity in a car which should be capable in favourable circumstances of achieving two miles a minute,' reported The Motor. 'The DB2/4 can truthfully claim to be the fastest car in the world capable of carrying two people with a month's luggage.'
In addition, a raised roofline, one-piece windscreen, larger bumpers and other detail styling changes differentiated the newcomer from its predecessor. Otherwise, the DB2/4 remained much the same as the DB2, employing the latter's rectangular-tube chassis, trailing arm independent front suspension and well-located live rear axle. Bodies were supplied by Mulliners of Birmingham until the advent of the MkII version in October 1955, when Tickford - recently acquired by Aston Martin's owner, David Brown - took over.

The W O Bentley-designed, 2.6-litre, six-cylinder, twin-cam power unit came in tuned (125bhp) Vantage specification as standard for the 2/4. Despite this, the redesign's inevitable weight gain was not fully compensated for until the arrival of the 3.0-litre, 140bhp engine in 1954. The DB2/4's top speed was now 118mph with 60mph reachable in around 11 seconds, making it one of the fastest British-built cars of the day.

The left-hand drive DB2/4 we offer was supplied new in February 1955 to His Majesty King Baudouin of Belgium. Copy build details on file record that the car was delivered via Mannes, the Aston Martin concessionaire in Belgium, and originally was finished in Imperial Crimson with beige Connolly hide upholstery. Accompanying photographs depict King Baudouin with his brother, the present King Albert II, and it is interesting to note the French diplomatic plates; it seems that all members of the Belgian royal family used these and that their cars were always delivered to the Paris embassy, possibly for security reasons.

Completely restored to original specification between 2001 and 2008, 'LML/785' is presented in concours condition and offered with sundry restoration invoices and Belgian Carte Grise.

Estimate: €200,000 - 240,000

2010 Aston Martin Sales down 9% to 1080 units

According to the BBC, Aston Martin sales were down 9% year-over-year comparing 2010 to 2009.

Unit sales were down to 1080 from 1183 in 2009.

The article continues:

'Prestige brands'

Overall, total car sales grew by 1.8% in 2010 from the previous year but SMMT predicted sales of new cars in the UK are set to fall by 5% in 2011.

Land Rover, which has plants in Castle Bromwich near Birmingham and Solihull, said it registered just over 42,000 new vehicles in the UK last year compared to around 33,000 in 2009.

Sales increased across all models - Freelander, Range Rover, Discovery, Range Rover Sport and Defender.

The decision to close either the Castle Bromwich or Solihull plant was shelved last year saving thousands of jobs.

These latest figures provide additional job security for workers, Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands Today business and transport correspondent said.

Jaguar said it saw sales fall from just over 18,000 to almost 16,500 within the last year.

Sales figures from Aston Martin showed a drop from 1,183 in 2009 to 1,080 in 2010, SMMT said.

Mike Stevenson, from KPMG, said Land Rover had a strong range of vehicles, with sales boosted by two freezing winters.

He said: "They've got an incredibly strong offering and a great global brand.

"It's not just in the UK, Land Rover is selling it overseas, in the US and China."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Coys Auction: 1972 Aston Martin V8 (FIA Race Car)

In my search to bring you the latest in Aston Martin auctions, I happened across this listing for a 1972 V8 racer. While not the best to look at, it could be interesting for someone who wants to compete in marque-specific racing events. The ad mentions using it for classics racing, but 1972 is getting on the end of where you would be eligible for a "classics" category. The history of limited production for FIA certification makes this an interesting car.

This car looks like it has been really raced. Prospective owners would be well advised to consider the ongoing investment required for a racing application without much support. 60k GBP I would think is on the high side for a car this aesthetically unpleasing, but we'll see what happens on January 15th.

Estimate: £60,000 - £70,000
Registration Number: JJF 650L
Chassis Number: V8/10672

The DBS V8 was replaced by the Series 2 model in 1972, now simply called the Aston Martin V8. Gone were the four headlamps and slatted grille, in their place was a black mesh grille flanked by single headlamps. August 1973 saw the Series 3 arrive with quadruple Weber carburettors, a larger bonnet bulge, and from 1977 increased power.

This early 1972 V8 model was first owned and run by Aston Martin Director C.H.Warden as his test and development car, and fitted with the rare five speed ZF manual gearbox. Mr. Warden had a number of “tweaks” made by the factory, such as upgraded injection, telescopic dampers, a straight through exhaust, and a “long diff.” fitted which was claimed to give theoretical top speed of 199mph.

During the eighties the car was looked after by Aston V8 racer Robin Hamilton. In the current long-term ownership JJF 650L was initially modified for the Aston Martin Championship in the UK, leading to conversion to full FIA race spec which was completed in 2005.

The car was built by renowned experts "Wren Classics" at a cost of over £130k and is described as being in top order, with “train-like“ engine and handling as good as any fully-modified DB4 or GT.

This is one of only two known FIA approved Aston Martin V8s in the world, the other being “The Muncher”, Robin Hamilton’s famous 1977 DBS V8 Le Mans entrant. As such this car is eligible for Classic Le Mans, the Masters Series, and the CSCC, amongst others. The car came second in the AMOC national championship two years running and has also won many awards in both racing and hill climbing.
This is an important Aston Martin in the world of classic racing, with a fully detailed service and build record, all relevant documents, invoices, and setup data, also fully valid FIA papers, 3 sets of wheels and tyres, and a race spares package.

This car has the ability to race amongst serious competition and beat them. It is a fine entry to real historic racing at the highest level and as such represents excellent value.

Sigh, Aston Martin iPhone App

As much as it pains me to post this, it might be relevant information for some of you. Aston Martin has released an iPhone app. Unlike the very cool transponder watch which actually does something. This looks like another application which just generates smug.

Says the company:

• British marque launches new app; Aston Martin ‘Explore’.
• Developed in conjunction with Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams, the app offers a unique insight into the company.
• App available to download for free from 22nd December in the iTunes App StoreTM, with premium ‘Experience’ app and iPadTM app to follow in early 2011.

Gaydon, 22 December, 2010 - Developed with the same ethos with which Aston Martin design and engineer their cutting edge race and road going cars, the British marque announces the launch of its new iPhoneTM app; Aston Martin Explore, designed to bring the exclusive world of Aston Martin to owners and enthusiasts alike through their iPhoneTM or iPod TouchTM.

Developed alongside Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams, the content found in ‘Explore’ reflects Aston Martin’s unique approach to automotive manufacture – fusing a strong heritage and traditional craftsmanship with modern leading technology.

The Aston Martin ‘Explore’ app invites users to discover exclusive content such as a completely authentic virtual tour of the company’s Gaydon headquarters in the UK, including design and manufacturing facilities plus access to never before seen images and sound clips.

Outstanding levels of attention to detail have gone in to securing the marques digital stamp, including an acoustically accurate accelerometer and real life content, such as sounds from the entire current model line-up being driven to extreme on the track.

Regular updates will also ensure ‘ahead of the curve’ technology on all functions featured on the free and premium apps. Push notification will allow users to see all the latest Aston Martin news and exclusive content as well as all updates via the marque’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The Aston Martin ‘Explore’ app will be available to download for free from the iTunes App StoreTM from 22 December, with a version for the iPad to follow in early 2011. The company will also launch a premium Aston Martin ‘Experience’ app early next year.

Oh, I can't wait for that "experience" app. Hopefully it will be crafted with the same smugness as this marketing drivel.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Video: 1961 Austin Healy vs Aston Martin DB4 at Spa

Enjoy the noise...

2010 Aston Martin Racing Year in Review

From the official Aston Martin site.

In 2010, the Aston Martin Racing works team, more than 40 customer teams and in excess of 50 cars, competed in national, regional and international championships across the world. They competed in every Aston Martin racing car from Vantage GT4s and GT2s to the GT3 DBRS9, the GT1 DBR9, and the LMP1 car; and they helped demonstrate the performance and reliability of the Aston Martin brand to a global audience of passionate fans.

We take a look back at some of the highlights in all the different race categories Aston Martin Racing and our customers, compete in.


In 2010, the Aston Martin Racing team returned to the track at the 12 Hours of Sebring taking a very creditable third place, behind the two works diesel Peugeots. A few weeks later, at Long Beach, the team took second place and headed to Le Mans in June, knowing it would have a battle on its hands to stay in touch with the diesel Audis and Peugeots. Qualifying once again as the fastest petrol car, the team looked set to finish as the best placed petrol car for the second year in a row until the final hour saw the 009 having to retire.

During the year, Team Signature also competed in the LMP1 car, both at Le Mans and in the Le Mans Series, with a best finish of third in the Algarve round.

In September, at the Silverstone round of the Le Mans Series, we announced that we would be returning to Le Mans in 2011 with an all-new LMP1 car with an Aston Martin carbon chassis and a purpose-built race engine. The first car and engine is currently being built by Aston Martin Racing in Banbury and should be unveiled in early 2011. With assurances from the ACO that it will balance the performance of diesel and petrol cars, Aston Martin Racing are determined to compete on equal terms for an outright win at the 24 hour race.


2010 saw the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship with the Hexis AMR and Young Driver AMR teams competing in four DBR9s. The now six year old car proved that it is still very competitive, winning several races with both teams and ensuring Aston Martin clinched the SRO Manufacturers’ Trophy.

Young Driver AMR also took one of their cars to Le Mans to represent Aston Martin in the final year of competition for the GT1 class at the 24 Hour race; a class it dominated for several years. The team gave the car a fitting send off, taking a podium on its last visit to Le Sarthe.


The Aston Martin Racing team has continued to develop the Vantage GT2 during 2010 with a resultant improvement in performance and on-track results. The car had its debut victory in the European Open GT Series at Brands Hatch with the Villois Srl team; took pole position at Silverstone, and achieved notable podium places with JMW Motorsport in the Le Mans Series and Triple A in Japanese GT.

With significant engineering enhancements for 2011, Aston Martin Racing is expecting further successes and there will be two new teams competing with the Vantage GT2, Jota and First Racing.


The DBRS9 has taken on a new lease of life in 2010 and was competed very successfully by nine teams this year. The highlight was Hexis Racing’s win at Zolder in the FIA GT3 European Championship and a further podium at Silverstone.

GT3 remains a very competitive and popular class and Aston Martin Racing is now looking at how it may replace the DBRS9 with an even more competitive product.


2010 was again a very successful year for the Aston Martin Vantage GT4, once again proving why it is the leading car in the GT4 class and a firm favourite among many smaller teams and private individuals.

At the very beginning of the year, the Vantage GT4 won its class at the Dubai 24 Hours and then followed this up with further endurance race wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Silverstone 24 Hours and the Spa 24 Hours. However, it was the car’s first major international championship victory in the European GT4 Cup with Rhesus Racing that was the crowning of an excellent year for the car.

2010 also saw the inaugural season of the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain – the first time Aston Martin Racing has run a one make series. The series, which was only open to the Vantage N24 and Vantage GT4, saw six races at circuits including Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Donington and Spa Francorchamps with close racing throughout the field. In the end, it was the father and son partnership of Chris and Ant Scragg which took victory.

In 2011 the GT4 Challenge returns, this time with nine races and a larger grid and is open to owners of the new 2011 Vantage GT4, with its enhanced aero, engine and Bosch ABS/traction control.

The year ahead

2011 promises to be one of the most exciting in the history of Aston Martin Racing. The new LMP1 is the first Aston Martin purpose-built for racing in nearly 60 years and we are now relishing the challenge of competing with the diesel cars on equal terms.

The Vantage GT2, with its performance enhancements, will be a very competitive package and the new Vantage GT4 should see the car continued to lead the entry level sports car class.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Aston Martin V12 Vantage meets 2010 DBR1-2 Le Mans Racer

A very artfully shot video of the V12 Vantage and the current generation Le Mans endurance racer. It is so artfully shot, that the first half is just gratuitous leaf blowing and carbon fibre close-ups. Skip to 1:10 and get straight to the good part...

Aston Martin Joint Venture with Daimer for Maybach

Showing that AM is gaining industry credibility for more than sports cars, the Financial Times is reporting that Aston Martin will be partnering with Daimler AG on design and construction of the new Maybach cars. This is certainly a leap forward for Aston, and helps to spread some of the engineering and construction resources across more end products.

For Aston, they potentially gain access to Daimler's powertrain portfolio and Daimler gains access to a small-production specialist.

Daimler is in talks with Aston Martin over a possible co-operation that would see the British luxury carmaker design and build the next generation of the German company’s top-end Maybach marque.

The two companies are sounding out a partnership in which Aston Martin could take engine technology from the German carmaker in exchange for building the cars, people close to the situation said. Maybachs sell for at least €300,000 ($392,000) apiece.

Daimler and Aston Martin declined to comment on specific talks. Both said they were talking to possible industrial partners all the time.

A partnership with the British carmaker, whose luxury sports cars have appeared in James Bond films, could give Daimler’s ailing Maybach brand a new lease of life.

“Aston Martin needs engines and nobody at Daimler wants to let the Maybach brand die,” said one industry insider.

Daimler revived the brand in 2002, when Jürgen Hubbert, then head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said it was “time to kiss the sleeping beauty awake”.

But sales of Maybachs, which have a significantly higher price tag than rival brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley, have consistently disappointed. In 2009, Daimler sold a mere 200, a third fewer than in 2008.

The development of a new Maybach model by Aston Martin, a specialist in small volume production, is likely to be much cheaper for Daimler than an in-house solution.

The British carmaker, which aims to sell 5,500 to 6,000 cars this year, could gain access to Daimler’s four-wheel-drive technology for an off-road vehicle it is considering building.

This spring it presented a concept off-road car that revived its Lagonda model name. Aston Martin has not said if and when it would bring that car, which was based on Daimler’s Mercedes GL model, to market.

Aston Martin has an engine plant in Cologne. But it could further profit from Daimler’s broader portfolio of fuel-efficient diesel and petrol engines

Monday, January 3, 2011

RM Auctions: 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Coupe

And saving the best for last is this beautiful 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Coupe in what appears to be unrestored condition save an undated respray in the original color. Lost in Japan for decades, this is my pick of the AMs up for auction.

Read more HERE

Chassis No.

To be auctioned on
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Series II. 240 bhp, 3,670 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, dual SU carburetors, four-speed DB manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with Watt linkage, trailing links and coil springs, and four-wheel, servo-assisted hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98"

- A desirable original Series II RHD example
- Tuned and recently fitted with new battery, exhaust, wheels and tires

In 1956, Aston Martin began development of the all-new DB4, which debuted at the London Motor Show during the autumn of 1958. Not only did it set the tone of Aston Martin styling for years to come, the DB4 also heralded an updated engine designed by Tadek Marek, whose name became synonymous with Aston Martin engineering.

The DOHC DB4 engine displaced 3,670 cc, was entirely constructed from aluminum and produced 240 bhp in standard tune with its dual SU carburetors. While its technical specifications were certainly impressive, the new 3.7-liter “six” most importantly provided a platform for further development and continued, with various displacements and power ratings, through mid-1973.

The current owner acquired this right-hand drive 1961 DB4 coupe in 2006 and prior to that, it had been in Japan for a number of years, where it saw little use as part of a private automobile collection. Today, it shows about 79,800 miles and in its current ownership, it has been fitted with a new battery, a new stainless steel exhaust system, new and correct 16-inch wire wheels, and a new set of period correct Blockley DOT-approved road/competition tires with competition inner tubes, which allow trouble-free high-speed road use. The DB4 was resprayed at one point in time in its original silver mink color and the interior sports black upholstery and a grey headliner.

The car was recently tuned and with its tall final-drive ratio, offers effortless and very enjoyable high-speed cruising capabilities. Four-wheel power power-assisted disc brakes at all four corners ensure confidence-inspiring braking capability. Complete with a copy of the original build sheet and a set of reproduction period fog lamps, this DB4 is a high quality, well-maintained and immensely drivable example.