The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 69



BOOKS
T
PHOTOGRAPHS PALAWAN PRESS
he rare beauty of the Palawan peacock-pheasant
of the Philippines inspired the choice of name
for the publishing house established by Simon
Draper (1967F) in 1993, following his retirement as
chairman of the Virgin Music Group (see Issue 1).
All of Palawan’s 26 titles to date are produced to the
highest standards, using the finest European printers
and binders. This book (like the cars that inspired it) is
aimed at motoring enthusiasts who value the precision
and craftsmanship that turn a car into an unmatched
symbol of luxury – discerning buyers with no price
inhibitions. Title stablemates include high-end marques
such as Bentley, the Mercedes-Benz Gullwing and Ferrari,
as well as Stephen Farthing’s Museums Of The World.
Palawan Press launched with Aston Martin: The
Compleat Car – which stunned the market with its
quality and £750 price tag – and has kept to the same
objective of providing the best quality, no matter the
cost. “We do books in a way that’s never been done
before,” says Simon. “People like them.”
Synonymous with that archetype of UK style, James
Bond, the Aston Martin first caught Simon’s attention
in 1986, when Virgin was floated and he rewarded
himself with a V8. It was the beginning of what is today
an enviable collection – not only of unusual, high-end
and collector’s-item cars but also of contemporary art.
For more than 30 years, Aston Martins were powered
by the company’s emblematic hand-built quad-cam V8
– three tumultuous decades, chronicled in this book by
author Russell Hayes. All the cars in the AM stable are
featured, from the first DBS V8 of 1968 and the Lagonda
of the ’70s to the end of the Virage series in 2000. It
includes interviews with those who lived through the
V8 years, from panel-beaters to celebrity owners. Wellknown trade figures share their memories of selling
V8s, and customers tell of the pleasures and pains of
V8 ownership. Some 400 archive images and more than
120 colour photos of the principal models are included.
It’s a story of a charismatic British marque, and a
compelling account of “the roller-coaster challenges of
running a specialist motor-manufacturing company in
difficult times, at the end of an era of hand-building cars”.
“The Palawan books are the benchmark
to which other publishers aspire. The
quality of production is exemplary.
There are many motoring books with
nice photographs, but it is Palawan’s
attention to detail that elevates its
publications to a new level entirely.”
– James Knight, group head of
Bonhams motoring department
THE OLD DIOCESAN | 67





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