BL17 FINAL - Page 68



PURSUITS
The craftsmen use the same artisan
skills that have been passed down
generations. It requires 4,500
painstaking hours’ work per car. The
materials are either the same or
improved. Significant investment has
been made to tooling, and the fit and
finish is actually far superior to that
of 1960. The original cars weren’t
symmetrical – these are. The body
panels are pressed in the original way,
using a rubber press, one that Aston
rents from Eurofighter. But apart from
smaller panel gaps, better brake pads,
modern racing-seat harnesses, a proper
fuel cell and an FIA touring car rollcage, you would be very hard-stretched
to spot the difference. Performance is
improved by boring the straight-six
engine out to 4.7 litres, rather than 3.7,
which pushes horsepower up from 314
to maybe as much as 400bhp.
and we want our very wealthy customers to be safe so they
come back and buy more cars.”
I would push dearly-loved relatives down the stairs to be
among them, but I do get the next best thing: a trio of
frothingly exciting classic Astons at my disposal for the next
24 hours, a reservation at Cliveden, and an RAF uniform.
I’m joining a troupe of period-costumed Aston aficionados
off to the Goodwood Revival, where one is transported to the
circuit’s heyday of 1948-1966 for an orgy of retro red-lining
and high-speed high-jinks, plus a few Spitfires flying
overhead. Aston have provided a road-map that takes us
through the westerly home counties’ prettiest market towns
and villages, to overnight at Cliveden and drive on to West
Sussex the following morning.
Cliveden is a well-chosen pit stop. An estate synonymous
with the swinging Sixties; of power, sex, class, beauty, and
the corruption of the British establishment itself (John
Profumo met Christine Keeler swimming here in her birthday
suit in 1961). An Aston Martin of similar vintage seems the
perfect car with which to visit.
First out of the gates is the car I yearned for as a speed
hungry teenager – a Brewster green 1995 Vantage V550 with
a low-estimate 550bhp and a guttural V8 roar. It’s an
aristocratic muscle car, originally fettled by Sir Jackie Stewart
and priced at £245,000.
Crunching down Cliveden’s gravel next – a silver 1970
DB6 MkII Volante, one of only 38 made and said to be worth
£950,000. The Prince of Wales owns one of the other 37.
Thirdly, on to Goodwood, I drive the first car to be
produced at Newport Pagnell, and one of the most handsome:
A sea green 1955 DB2/4 that has had just one owner.
£295,000 strikes me as a very good investment, though of
the three the DB6 is the most joyfully chuckable and precise.
I could drive it every day of my life and never tire.
I swear to God, a distinguished-looking octogenarian who
was crossing the road in Eton Wick stopped, raised his
walking stick and bellowed, “Bloody well done”. You see,
you don’t need to be the one driving to enjoy time travel.
Above: An Aston
Martin DB4 GT Zagato
continuation model in
the workshop.
Opposite: The Aston
Martin Heritage Tour at
Cliveden House, with
the DB6 MkII Volante
out in front
O
f course, some purists will
lament that it’s not a real
classic. And you won’t find
them in classic car races, like those at
Goodwood Revival. To which I say,
Show me a historic racing car that isn’t
like Trigger’s broom from Only Fools
and Horses.
In the USA, they’re less bothered
about provenance, so long as it’s not
a ‘trick’ car, and take the view that it
bolsters starting grids. Due to
homologation, the DB4 GT Zagato
Continuation is not necessarily road
legal in every country, though if you
own that country, as several clients
do, it’s not really a problem.
The majority of those clients will
go to America, where most automotive
masterpieces are kept these days. The
safety improvements made to
continuation cars are, Spires says in
his charmingly candid way, a definite
positive. “When it goes wrong in a
historic racing car, it goes very wrong,
68
BOISDALELIFE .COM
AUTUMN 2019
ISSUE 17
IM AG E O N R IG H T H A D E PAG E B Y DO M IN I C FR A S ER
The DB6 is the
most joyful and
precise. I could
drive it every day
of my life and
never tire





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