FullBore Issue 32 — Autumn/Winter 2022

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AUTUMN / WINTER 2022
NICHOLAS MEE & CO’S WORLD OF ASTON MARTIN • ISSUE 32
2 Nicholas Mee & Co Ltd Essendonbury Farm Hatfield Park Estate Hatfield Hertfordshire AL9 6AF United Kingdom Front cover image: Extreme Sports – Vantage GT8 and Vantage GT12 put through their paces by Peter Tomalin Contacts T: +44 (0)208 741 8822 info@nicholasmee.co.uk http://www.nicholasmee.co.uk

MEE SPEAK

Next year sees the 30th anniversary of Nicholas Mee & Co Ltd. Nick looks forward to celebrating the event in style, considers today’s market and reports on the latest developments at Essendonbury Farm.

VIDEO: 30 YEARS OF NICHOLAS MEE & CO LTD

What better way of celebrating this significant milestone than sitting down for a chat about those early days, and later when Nick struck out on his own, first in London and now in Hertfordshire where the conversation took place.

EXTREME SPORTS: THE VANTAGE GT8 AND GT12

Evo and Vantage magazine writer Peter Tomalin road-tests both cars at NM&Co HQ. Each one is an exceptional, genuinely world-class GT; they are “two of the most exciting and most charismatic Astons of the recent past.”

AT YOUR SERVICE...

Service and Aftersales Manager Chris Green introduces new members of the team and talks about some of the special cars the technicians have been looking after in 2022.

WHAT’S IN STOCK

It’s the season for a putting another log on the fire, pouring yourself a glass of something mellow and warming whilst studying our latest stocklist packed full of ideas for exciting motoring in 2023.

GET OUT AND DRIVE

A look at what to do and where to go in your beloved Aston in 2023.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Everyone knows Aston Martin makes the best motor cars. An Aston Martin-related gift makes the perfect Christmas present – visit astonstore.co.uk for ideas.

VIDEO: 30 YEARS, 30 MEMORABLE CAR SALES

We’ve sold more than 2,500 classic motor cars since NM&Co was founded in 1993. Each one has meant a lot to us and its new owner, but some stand out. The sales team has picked 30 particularly interesting ones, and Nick reveals the backstory on each.

THE NM&CO APPRENTICE PROGRAMME: THEY’RE HIRED!

One of the aims when we made the big move to Hertfordshire in 2018 was to introduce an apprenticeship programme. Now Scottish-born Neil Gordon joins us at Essendonbury Farm as its latest trainee technician.

RETROSPECTIVE: COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE... CYGNET? There have been many ‘V8 Vantages’ over the years – how about another Cygnet? It’s small, (relatively) green and stylish. What’s to stop a new Cygnet being the perfect City car for the 2020s?

© Nicholas Mee & Co Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the copyright owner.

Creative Director: Adrian Morley, www.theseen.design

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MEE SPEAK

In this latest edition of FullBore we take great pleasure to bring you season’s greetings and our warmest thoughts for 2023. With the time of present giving nearly upon us, our minds turn to the festive season and the year ahead.

In 2023, Nicholas Mee & Co Ltd celebrates its 30th anniversary. The voyage from the early days of a Mews garage in South Kensington to our current award-wining, expansive premises in Hertfordshire is one we are very proud of. In the beginning, we simply sold cars. Today, we offer the Aston Martin owner a comprehensive range of services – and our journey is not yet over.

Next month we launch VIP Valeting and Vehicle Detailing units that will operate from a dedicated, newly constructed facility here at NM&Co HQ. They will offer deep cleaning, paint correction and ceramic coating for our favourite cars. We’ll be posting menu pricing shortly.

Essendonbury Farm is now a hub of dedicated services for the Aston Martin aficionado. From the busy trim shop and vehicle workshops devoted to both New Era and Heritage cars, our range of services includes all aspects of car and parts sales, maintenance and now detailing.

To mark our 30th milestone year, we plan to hold a small number of anniversary events including a blast to France for the 100th running of the 24 Heures du Mans. There’s an event guide in this issue of FullBore that includes recommendations for what adventures you could enjoy with your cherished Aston. How we will be celebrating our big birthday will be detailed in future editions of FullBore.

To drop the flag on the significant year ahead, instead of holding our annual panel format Market Review, we’ve done something different. The interview looks back over a 40-year association with the marque and includes anecdotes from the early days, as well as bringing things right up to date with some positive thoughts on the future of collecting high-

performance petrol-engined cars in a changing world. We also have a video retrospective of 30 of the most memorable sales in our 30-year history. So set sometime aside this holiday season to enjoy these videos and do subscribe to our YouTube channel – it all helps us beat the mighty YouTube algorithm!

As always, your feedback and comments are most welcome.

As far as sales over the past 12 months are concerned, considering the turbulent economic conditions we’ve all endured, we continue to be encouraged by the resilience of the market. We’ve recorded strong and consistent sales, and this has been backed up by data from the auction houses. It would appear that those looking for solid, mid-to-long-term investments have moved into collectors’ classic cars, art and gold. The Christmas break could be the perfect time to seek out the ‘best of the best’ available models for posterity and enjoyment – our current stock is a fine spread of sought-after Aston Martins from the ‘DB’ era right up to modern times.

But for now, though, to all our followers, readers, customers and friends, the team at NM&Co hope you will enjoy this special edition of FullBore, and wish everyone a joyous Christmas and an excellent New Year. Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

Santa NickClaus

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30 YEARS OF NICHOLAS MEE & CO LTD

Next year will be something of a milestone for our company. It will be three decades since the incorporation of Nicholas Mee & Co Ltd. Before then, Nick was working for Aston Martin Sales in Central London, a period for the factory that could, at times, be described as ‘interesting’.

What better way of celebrating this significant milestone than sitting down with an old friend, Aston Martin enthusiast of longstanding Steve Wakefield, for a chat about those early days, and later when Nick struck out on his own, first in London and now at the company’s state-of-the-art premises in Hertfordshire where the conversation took place.

It’s fascinating video that tells you a lot about the history of not just Nick and NM&Co, but also Aston Martin itself. Watch the video now…

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2022
FEATURE
Steve Wakefield talks to Nick about a working life devoted to one marque: Aston Martin
VIDEO

Our usual ‘panel’ format will return in 2023. The subjects covered in 60 minutes of live discussion this year included:

THE EARLY DAYS

Nick has the motor industry in his blood: his greatgrandfather was an apprentice coach-maker and wheelwright who started J Gray & Sons in Hatfield, only a few miles down the road from Essendonbury.

ASTON MARTIN SALES OF SLOANE ST

Three months after the company had come out of receivership, Aston Martin offered Nick a job at 33 Sloane St, Chelsea.

THE WEDGE

The introduction of the ground-breaking Lagonda: AML was back in business.

AT LAST, NEW ASTONS TO SELL: THE ‘OSCAR INDIA’ V8, THE V8 VOLANTE AND V8 VANTAGE

With a dramatic London Motor Show stand of the new OI V8 Saloon, V8 Vantage, V8 Volante and Lagonda, Nick had an impressive range of cars to sell.

THE COMPETITION

“The Porsche 928 was pretty good; and it was cheaper. It was definitely a problem.”

VICTOR GAUNTLETT

“Victor brought a great sense of passion into the business, impetus and a management style that was ‘get on with it’.”

THE 1980S

Head of AML Sales, a move to Cheval Place and City money pouring in thanks to Big Bang. Oh, and 007 was behind the wheel of an Aston again.

VIRAGE AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE BLUE OVAL: HENRY TAKES OVER

“Virage was happening before Ford, but the takeover made it easier.”

1993 – STRIKING OUT ON HIS OWN

Leaving Aston in 1992, after 18 months as a sole trader, Nick set up Nicholas Mee & Co in Queens Gate Place Mews in South Kensington, a location known for highclass vintage car dealers.

BRACKENBURY GARAGE AND GOLDHAWK RD

The nine-car garage in the Mews was purely for sales, so a move to Wellesley Avenue, Hammersmith for service and the later addition of a showroom on Goldhawk Road allowed to company to really expand.

COUNTRY LIFE: ESSENDONBURY FARM

Another relocation, this time out of London to beautiful premises that would bring so many more benefits to the company: Essendonbury Farm.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

Looking back over the last few years, would Nick have done anything differently?

THE NEW YEAR

The Centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, potential new discoveries and another brisk year’s trading – 2023 is looking good.

THE NEXT THIRTY YEARS?

“I don’t detect a lack of appetite from people wanting to enjoy classic cars. Things have come along to try us, Covid, and Brexit in particular. Fuel will still be there in the future, but it might be expensive.

PLAY VIDEO

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EXTREME SPORTS

Aston Martins have rarely come more extreme or more thrilling than the Vantage GT8 and GT12. Peter Tomalin tells the story behind them, drives them back to back, and finds out what you need to know if you’re tempted to add either to your collection...

WORDS BY PETER TOMALIN
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Immensely potent, lightweight road-racers, riding on stiffened suspension and tyres optimised for trackdays tend not to be at their best on cold, damp, late-November roads. And with vulnerablelooking carbonfibre protrusions ready to betray any indiscretion, you could be forgiven for treading very carefully indeed, when what you really want to do is open the taps and give them a proper workout!

Thankfully my wish has been granted; it’s a wonderfully bright and crisp early-winter’s morning, and a couple of hours later I arrive at Nicholas Mee & Co to find the GT8 and GT12 fuelled, warmed through and waiting side-by-side in the sunshine. And what a sight they make; Gaydon-era Aston Martin at its most extreme. Short of a One-77 or Valkyrie, these have to be the most extrovert road cars ever to wear the famous

winged badge (that badge, incidentally, fashioned in carbonfibre on the nose of the GT12 for ultimate weight saving and paddock kudos).

Tarmac-skimming front splitters, high-rise rear wings, titanium exhausts poking through carbon diffusers, magnesium alloy wheels… both cars shout ‘road racer’ from every vent and fairly bristle with aggression. Only question is, which to try first…

But before we jump in, a little bit of background.

It was the GT12 that came first, unveiled in the spring of 2015, one of the very first models to be launched under new CEO Dr Andy Palmer, who had arrived at Gaydon the previous autumn. There had been motorsport-inspired special editions of the ‘VH2’ »

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I’LL BE HONEST, AS I PULLED BACK THE BEDROOM CURTAINS AT 7.30 THIS MORNING I OFFERED A SILENT PRAYER TO THE WEATHER GODS. WHEN YOUR DAY INVOLVES DRIVING A PAIR OF CARS SUCH AS THESE, WHAT YOU REALLY WANT IS WARM(ISH), DRY(ISH) TARMAC TO SAMPLE THEM ON.

Vantage before, but the Vantage GT12 was very different and a whole lot more serious.

In fact it was originally going to be called the Vantage GT3, as a tribute to Aston Martin’s highly successful GT3 endurance racers of the day – until Porsche objected. The German manufacturer had its own series of highly rated track-flavoured road cars, the 911 GT3 RS being perhaps the best known and most revered. So Aston backed down, though it was pretty clear which car the renamed GT12 sought to emulate. Here, at last, was a model genuinely influenced by motorsport, one that fused all of AML’s engineering talent and racing pedigree like no Vantage before it.

The GT12 was the creation of AML’s dedicated Special Projects facility at Wellesbourne, a few miles down the road from Gaydon, headed by David King and staffed by a crack team of between 30 and 40 experienced engineers and technicians. This was the same team that produced the DB10 for James Bond and later the Vulcan track car, among other highly specialised machines.

The extent and depth of the changes from the standard V12 Vantage S were immediately apparent. Body-wise, the front, rear and flanks had all been sharpened, widened, extended or re-worked to improve cooling, increase downforce, broaden the car’s footprint and simply make it look more the part; indeed the body was a good 100mm wider for maximum road presence. Weight-saving options include a carbonfibre roof, carbonfibre grille, polycarbonate rear and rear quarter windows, plus a lithium-ion battery to replace the regular (hefty) lead-acid item. In combination, they helped reduce the kerb weight by a very considerable 100kg.

Under the bonnet, the 5.9-litre V12 wore a new magnesium inlet manifold, which saved more weight and flowed air more freely into the hungry engine. Magnesium was also used in the torque-tube between the engine and rear axle, while the new exhaust system was made from titanium for more weight savings and a

sharper, more urgent note.

Together, the manifold and exhaust system (plus appropriate remapping of the engine management system) yielded a formidable 592bhp at 7000rpm compared with 565bhp from the regular V12 S, the highest output yet seen from the naturally aspirated V12. Aston quoted a 0-60mph time of 3.5sec and a top speed of 185mph, which was actually down from the V12 Vantage S’s 205mph top speed as a result of the additional drag generated by the high-downforce aero package. Like the V12 S, the GT12 was available only with a paddle-shift transmission, in this case the sevenspeed Sportshift III automated manual.

Chassis-wise, the wishbones remained standard but the springs and dampers were tuned to the car and retained Aston’s Adaptive Damping System, albeit with re-calibrated Normal, Sport and Track modes. Wheels were 19in front and 20in rear, in either forged alloy or optional cast magnesium, and wore wider, stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. Huge Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes were clamped by new sixand four-pot monobloc Brembo calipers unique to the GT12. Like we said, serious stuff.

As with the exterior and the mechanical underpinnings, the GT12’s interior was an exciting departure from the norm. Extensive use of carbonfibre stripped more weight from the car, while the satnav display was fixed in position, its opening and closing mechanism jettisoned to save further weight. Likewise, the bucket seats did away with electric adjustment (though you could have power-adjust seats as an option) and there was a basic infotainment system. You could specify the monster 700W and 1000W B&O hi-fi systems, but they come at a significant weight penalty thanks to the hefty amplifiers and speakers. Many owners decided they’d be quite happy to listen to the V12 instead!

Very much a ‘special series’ product rather than a full production model, only 100 Vantage GT12s were built, every one of them quickly snapped up with a basic list price of £250,000 (that’s around £300,000 in today’s

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money). Not that many of the 100 were ordered without a long list of extras, and those lightweight options weren’t cheap – it was very easy to spec a GT12 to well over £300k.

The GT8 followed a year later, in spring 2016, billed as a roadgoing interpretation of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage GTE, a hugely successful race-car in its own right, whose career highlights included class victories at Le Mans in 2014 and 2017. The GT8 wouldn’t be quite as rare as the GT12, but still only 150 were offered, and again they were snapped up almost before the car was publically announced.

The GT8 wasn’t quite as extreme as the GT12 either – it featured regular cast-iron disc brakes rather than carbon-ceramics, for example – and the list price was considerably less at £165,000, but it was still a serious piece of kit and looked the part too, especially if you ticked the boxes for the lightweight and aero options. With the rear wing, carbonfibre roof, centre-lock forged magnesium wheels, polycarbonate side and rear windows, titanium centre-exit exhaust and carbonfibre sports seats, the weight tumbled by 100kg, while the price rocketed to close to £200k.

Peak power was up only 10bhp compared with the V8 Vantage S, to 440bhp, but the performance claims were still strong: 0-60 in 4.4sec and a top speed of 190mph. As well as having less exotic cast-iron discs, the GT8 had fixed-rate dampers, while Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and a mechanical limited-slip diff completed the chassis package.

One thing the GT8 did have over the GT12, however, was a choice of transmissions: paddles or a traditional stick-shift manual. And I’m rather pleased to discover that the GT8 at Nicholas Mee & Co has the trad option, partly because it should provide a fascinating comparison with my own early Gaydon-era V8 Vantage, which has essentially the same six-speed ’box. Whether they’ll have much else in common I’m about to discover!

The GT8 looks terrific in Stratos White with the full aero kit, incidentally the same spec as then Aston CEO Andy Palmer’s own car. The interior is recognisably V8 Vantage – just. From the smoothly sculptural door panels to the central ‘waterfall’ console with its haptic switches, the GT8 is characterised by the mesmerising weave of exposed satin-finish carbonfibre. And what isn’t carbon is clad largely in Alcantara. Though, being an Aston, there are some delightful little additional touches such as the door pulls, which are beautifully crafted from saddle leather.

The fixed-back carbon bucket seat is set slightly higher than the standard item but it hugs the hips and torso beautifully. Now dip the clutch, push the ‘key’ into the centre of the dash – and flinch as the V8 bursts fiercely into life. Modern Astons like to holler, but the GT8 is on another level, raucous and unapologetic. The next thing I notice is how much lighter the clutch is than the one in my early 4.3, and how much easier the shifts (time for me to consider a twin-plate clutch upgrade, perhaps).

Heading out along the local lanes, the ride is firm but far from harsh, the steering bright and wonderfully linear, and there’s a delicious feeling of connection through both the wheel’s Alcantara rim and that carbon-shelled bucket seat. The chassis feels beautifully reactive too, light on its feet, turning keenly and responding intimately to both steering and throttle inputs, the whole car feeling as though it’s pivoting around your hips. The process of covering ground at speed is totally absorbing.

When a dual carriageway opens out and you hold it through second and third gear there’s strong, sustained acceleration, particularly above 4000rpm –noticeably more urgent than in my 4.3 – accompanied by a terrifically exciting blare from the titanium exhaust. Equally pleasing is that when you back off to a cruise, the noise subsides to a background burble: this car wouldn’t be a pain on a long haul. But it’s the agility, the immediacy, the biddability and the sense of connection that form the strongest impression.

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I’m honestly struggling to think of a more engaging chassis in the whole Aston family (it’s no coincidence that ride and handling wizard Matt Becker had joined Aston Martin from Lotus just as these cars were being developed).

And so to the GT12, which if anything looks even more fabulous, in Alloro green and wearing its full aero battledress with flashes of yellow warpaint to mimic the racers. The wow factor continues inside with more expanses of beautifully wrought carbonfibre, superb detailing, and more excellent bucket seats – if anything these seem to place me slightly lower in the car, which feels good.

The V12 fires with a fierce flare of revs before settling to a smooth but potent-sounding idle. Select ‘D’ using the buttons for the automated manual and ease back out onto the lanes. It’s a friendly sort of beast in these early miles, the throttle easy to measure out, the ride never jarring, the steering responsive without being hyper, the transmission going about its business…

Sportshift III was an improvement on Aston’s earlier automated transmissions, though it’s still a touch ponderous when left to its own devices, certainly compared with modern twin-clutch set-ups. Press the Sport button and the shifts become a little crisper; better yet when you take control yourself with the paddles. In Sport the engine really finds its voice too –higher pitched than the V8, more complex, but every bit as thrilling, and quite awe-inspiring when you take it into the upper reaches of the rev band.

You’ll need plenty of space and the right conditions to do so, because the GT12 is a seriously quick car by any standards. This is the sort of power that gets the rear end twitching even in a straight line in third gear and forces you to mentally recalibrate to keep up. And there’s torque simply everywhere, so that at any speed and in any gear you can summon slightly surreal levels of acceleration. Thankfully the carbon-ceramic brakes are boundlessly powerful.

Part of me is missing the added interaction of the manual ’box. But things happen very quickly in the GT12. And when you’re really on it, being able to flick through the gears without having to navigate your way around a manual gate is probably for the best, especially when coming down the ’box. You also have to be on your mettle in the corners, as even without turning the stability and traction off, it’s easy to get the tail out of shape under power. This is the VH-era Vantage turned up to, well… 12!

If the GT12 lacks one thing, it’s the GT8’s ultimate sense of lightness and agility. That’s almost entirely down to the fact that there’s a socking great V12 in the nose, filling the underbonnet and sitting partly over the front axle, whereas the V8 is right back behind the axle-line and placed lower in the car too. You can sense the extra weight and feel the difference in the GT8’s greater keenness to turn and its extra poise under braking, though switching the GT12’s damping to a stiffer setting brings noticeably greater composure. So you drive the more powerful car accordingly, taking fewer liberties and relishing every opportunity to unleash the V12’s explosive power, every drive an event.

It’s been an absolutely fascinating day, spent in the company of two of the most exciting and most charismatic Astons of the recent past. Personally I’d take the GT8 with the manual ’box. But if you love the idea of that mighty V12 engine, then you’ll probably accept no substitute, and I wouldn’t blame you one bit. You’ll also enjoy the feeling of unmatched potency every single time you slip into the GT12’s bucket seat and push the key into the dash…

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PETER TOMALIN HAS BEEN WRITING ABOUT HIGH PERFORMANCE CARS FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. AT VARIOUS TIMES DEPUTY EDITOR OF PERFORMANCE CAR, EDITOR OF EVO AND MANAGING EDITOR OF VANTAGE MAGAZINE, HE’S HAD A LIFELONG LOVE OF ASTON MARTINS AND CURRENTLY OWNS A 2006 V8 VANTAGE.

VIEW FROM THE SHOWROOM

Neal Garrard, commercial director of Nicholas Mee & Co, agrees that the GT8 just edges it in pure dynamic terms. ‘I was confident enough to say, after a previous drive in a GT8, that it’s Aston Martin’s greatest ever driver’s car,’ he says. ‘I really can’t think of another that is quite as engaging for the driver.

‘That said, the GT12 is just about the fastest road car I’ve ever driven, but still docile in traffic. To be honest I’d be very happy with either!’

Neal says credit should be given to Andy Palmer for presiding over the launch of such extreme machines. ‘Andy Palmer came in with some fresh thinking,’ he continues. ‘They were a new kind of Aston Martin, cars that challenged the accepted norm and the traditional owner demographic and were aimed at reducing the average age of the Aston Martin owner. They were the most aggressive, dramatic road cars that Aston had ever launched.’

Sales executive Matthew Staton reckons that to find another Aston Martin with a similar road-racer vibe, you probably have to go right back to the DB4 GT. And it’s surely no coincidence that both the DB4 GT and the two Vantage GTs emerged from two golden eras for Aston Martin in motorsport. ‘The GT8 and 12 were certainly the culmination of a lot of learning from racing activity,’ says Neal, ‘going right back to the Vantage N24 introduced in 2006. The GT class win for the Vantage GTE in 2017, when they beat the Corvettes and the Ferraris and Porsches, was one of the iconic moments in Le Mans history.’

So both GT8 and GT12 have the motorsport connection that has always excited collectors over the years. They are also both pretty rare machines, especially the GT12 with just 100 built. Of those, just 28 were right-handdrive UK cars. The GT8 is slightly more numerous, with 150 built and 80 being right-hand drive. Of those, 68 had the traditional manual transmission – often a popular option with UK buyers over the years.

Today, a manual commands around a 5 per cent premium over a similar-spec Sportshift GT8.

As we know, both models were expensive when new, particularly when extensively optioned, as both of these examples were. Today, the GT8 is priced at £165,000, the GT12 £330,000, so exactly double. That reflects the extra rarity and desirability not just of this GT12, but of V12-engined Vantages generally, and, as Matthew points out, the fact that the GT12 is the absolute ultimate evolution of the VH Vantage line.

‘Short to medium term, we believe the values of both cars will hold reasonably steady,’ says Neal. ‘In the longer term, there has to be a good chance that they will rise, which makes these particularly attractive to the new-era collector, of which we’re seeing more and more. In fact the GT8 has developed something of a cult following, with a very active club for like-minded owners. Also, for people who drive Porsche’s GT3 and RS models, these cars should be on their radar.

‘The other big thing they have in their favour is that servicing tends to be no more expensive than for regular Vantage models; the technology was all tried and tested. For the level of performance they offer, they are very cost-effective cars to own and run.

‘Our view is that pure driver’s cars reached a zenith around this time, before turbos and PDK gearboxes and too many electronics. They were cars with big naturally aspirated engines, the option of manual gearboxes and an analogue feel, and these two were the absolute pinnacle.’

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FULLBORE 21 SPEC COMPARISON GT8 GT12 Engine V8, 4735cc V12, 5925cc Power 440bhp @ 7300rpm 592bhp @ 7000rpm Torque 361lb ft @ 5000rpm 461lb ft @ 5500rpm Weight* 1510kg 1565kg Power to weight* 296bhp/ton 389bhp/ton 0-60mph 4.4sec 3.5sec Top speed 190mph 185mph *with all the lightweight options

AT YOUR SERVICE…

It’s hard to believe that it’s already more than four years since we moved into our ‘new’ premises at Essendonbury Farm. Meanwhile, we continue to expand the range of services we offer in order to provide the very best for our clients. In fact, we have enjoyed a particularly busy year in 2022 – and there are plenty of exciting new developments to tell you about for 2023 and beyond.

Some of our clients have been using our services and calling on our expertise for as long as 20 years, and more continue to join them every week. As the pool of first-generation Gaydon models – cars such as the DB9, V8 and V12 Vantage, DBS and Mk2 Vanquish –gets older, many owners seek alternatives to the Aston Martin main agent network. Which is where we come in.

The reason is simple. The main agents tend to reserve their often limited capacity for the preparation of brand new cars, providing the servicing and warranty support for vehicles within their original warranty and service plan. When a car such as a V12 Vantage reaches its 10th birthday, it often comes into the hands of the enthusiast owner who plans to own and cherish it for the longer term.

Such owners need the specialist advice and expertise of technicians who were factory-trained on the model in question, and that’s exactly what we offer here at Nicholas Mee & Co. Our professional, conscientious, client-led approach to vehicle servicing, maintenance, refurbishment and upgrades appeals to just this sort of individual.

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Like many small businesses, we have faced some serious headwinds this year, in particular with regard to parts availability as supply chains try to recover from the impact of Covid-19 and the invasion of Ukraine. I am pleased to say that in our experience the situation has improved as the year has gone on, and hopefully next year will be much easier.

Likewise, many of the specialist sub-contractors we use for their particular expertise have been similarly stretched as they too recover from the disruption caused by Covid-19. As a result, our typical lead times for servicing were, at some points in the year, longer than we would like. Again, I’m pleased to say that we are back to our more usual 2-3-week lead time for servicing and maintenance work.

We are always keen to attract new talent to the department and it gives me much pleasure to record the arrival of a number of new team members.

Peter Rugman joined the business earlier in the year as Workshop Supervisor, a role in which he not only applies his technical experience to the servicing and maintenance of vehicles but also acts as the crucial interface between service reception and the team of technicians, ensuring that requested work is correctly identified and actioned, and quality and accuracy of work is maintained throughout. Peter is very much enjoying his new environment and rapidly acquiring the required knowledge of the marque and its models.

In our New Era servicing team, we are delighted to welcome Ian Bayley. Ian has been in the Aston Martin world for over 20 years and possesses a huge amount of knowledge and experience of all models from DB7 onwards, having been on factory training programmes for all models up to and including the DBX.

Someone who had been ‘on our radar’ for a couple of years and whose skill we had admired while working at a specialist sub-contractor, Adam Chappell, has now joined the team as Trim & Upholstery Specialist based in our dedicated trim shop.

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A typically busy and diverse day in the workshops

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Simon Wild, Valeting & Detailing Specialist DBS instrument binnacle re-trimmed in Alcantara

Adam is highly experienced in all aspects of interior trim and previously worked on many Aston Martin models along with cars from other marques. I am sure you will all enjoy meeting him and visiting his department on future visits to Essendonbury Farm.

On a similar note, Simon Wild has joined us this year in the role of Valeting & Detailing Specialist in our newly built on-site valeting and detailing facility. We have already seen the impact of his expertise, both on the presentation of our own cars for sale and on customers’ vehicles. Beyond the valet it receives as ‘part of the service’, the next time your car is in for a visit you might like to discuss with Simon how he might be able to improve its condition and presentation.

Last and not least on our team update, we are delighted to welcome onboard Neil Gordon, our second apprentice. You can read more about Neil and our apprenticeship programme in a separate article.

Meanwhile, visitors to Essendonbury Farm this year may well have noticed some construction works. These have included the creation of a dedicated restoration bay in one of the barns, providing the ideal environment for the initial strip and eventual refit part of the restoration process. I have to say, to see such special cars as the DB6 that’s currently nearing completion coming together there really is a privilege.

As mentioned earlier, we have also this year constructed a new valeting and detailing bay, along with additional covered car storage. The new bay is a controlled, clinical environment for the specialist detailing of exterior paintwork and the ideal place for Simon Wild to demonstrate his expertise. Do make sure you pay both new departments a visit next time you are in.

We are currently very busy with a number of longerterm workshop projects. As mentioned, a DB6 saloon is reaching the final stages of a full restoration; in its Olive Green livery over tan hides it’s going to look stunning when finished. The new owner is very much looking »

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2008 DBS Manual after full body repaint

forward to the 2023 season with his restored car. Last year, we were privileged to sell a highly original, unrestored DB6 Vantage Volante, which the purchaser then commissioned us to restore. That car is currently with our bodywork specialists, shortly moving on to a repaint before arriving back at Essendonbury Farm in the New Year when we will be refitting and testing it, prior to making its debut in the Spring. !

Another interesting project this autumn is on a much younger model, the transformation of a 2008 DBS Manual. Working with a long-standing client who really wanted one of these desirable and increasingly hard-to-find cars, we were able to source a great example in a very rare colour. He is a man who likes perfection and, as most of the panels of the car had a minor imperfection, to achieve the standard of finished project he wanted we committed to a full, glass-out repaint of the body. The results are most impressive. In the cabin, our trim department addressed the occasional problem areas of shrunken leather common to this age of car, not just replacing the hide like for like. Instead, they have added some sections of lovely bespoke Alcantara trim. Combined with some nice carbonfibre goodies, such as wing mirror covers and rear light infills, the car is now a real head-turner and very special to the client finished to his own, individual specification.

Finally, during the autumn we embarked on the refurbishment of a really super 1985 V8 EFi, in fact the first one ever built and finished in Royal Cherry, the livery it retains today. The car is currently receiving some repairs to its chassis before a full bare-metal repaint, mechanical rebuild and interior refurbishment.

We are seeing an increasing number of enquiries for such in-depth projects involving 1970s and 1980s V8s. That’s not altogether surprising, considering their enduring appeal, consistent value and the fact that even the youngest are now at least 30 years old!

Exciting times indeed, and on behalf of all of the Service and Aftercare team, it only remains to wish all of our clients and followers a Merry Christmas and look forward to being ‘at your service’ in 2023!

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1985 V8 Efi prepared for full repaint Ian Bayley, Senior DB6 nearing the end of its full restoration

WHAT’S IN STOCK

In this section we showcase a selection of the best examples of Aston Martin motor cars from the 1950s to the present day, all available for sale at our new, purpose-built ‘destination’ premises on the historic Hatfield Park Estate in Hertfordshire.

Prior to delivery, all cars are supplied serviced according to schedule, with a pre-delivery Inspection Report, 12 months MOT and 12 months warranty.

Finance for any vehicle is available with our dealer partner, Classic & Sports Finance

»
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34 2016 ASTON MARTIN DB9 GT BOND EDITION £139,950 OVERVIEW One owner and just 2,630 miles from new example of the exquisite DB9 GT Bond Edition. Complete with all of its specialissue accessories and in immaculate condition throughout. Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO NEW ARRIVAL
FULLBORE 35 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 2017 ASTON MARTIN DB11 £96,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO 1998 ASTON MARTIN V8 COUPÉ £99,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 1970 ASTON MARTIN DB6 MK2 £395,000 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 1960 ASTON MARTIN DB4 SERIES II £475,000
36 2016 ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE S SPITFIRE 80 EDITION £195,000 OVERVIEW One of just eight V12 Vantage S Spitfire 80 Editions built, with 7-speed manual transmission. Just 2,350 miles and one owner from new. Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO NEW ARRIVAL
FULLBORE 37 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO PLAY VIDEO 2015 ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GT12 £329,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO 1998 FERRARI 355 F1 BERLINETTA £99,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 2017 ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH ZAGATO COUPÉ £395,000 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO ASTON MARTIN DBR2 ‘RECREATION’ £399,950

Finished in its original livery of California Sage over White Gold hides. One of just 75 production DB4 GTs built, an exceptionally potent example that drives superbly.

38 1960 ASTON MARTIN DB4 GT £POA
Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO NEW ARRIVAL
FULLBORE Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO PLAY VIDEO 2020 ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE AMR £149,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO 1988 ASTON MARTIN V8 VOLANTE VANTAGE ZAGATO £325,000 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 2005 ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH S – MANUAL CONVERSION £115,000 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5 VANTAGE SHOOTING BRAKE £1,200,000
40 2019 ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH ZAGATO SHOOTING BRAKE £475,000
to market for the first time, finished in the classic colour combination of (Q Special) Aston Martin Racing Green over Sahara Tan and Bitter Chocolate hides. Presented in ‘as new’ condition as befits the mileage of only 240 miles from first delivery. Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO
OVERVIEW Offered
FULLBORE 41 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 1964 ASTON MARTIN DB5 £695,000 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO 2010 ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE £59,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 MORE INFO PLAY VIDEO 2016 ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GT8 £159,950 Call (0)20 8741 8822 ENQUIRE 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5 VANTAGE POA FB EXCLUSIVE

GET OUT AND DRIVE

OUR 2022 EVENTS REVIEW AND MUST-DO RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENJOYING YOUR ASTON IN 2023.

In 2022, Aston Martin owners and motoring aficionados of all tastes were once again spoiled for choice when it came to getting out and enjoying their cars at exciting events across the world.

These could be simple ‘Cars and Coffee’ meetings and classic car gatherings on the local village green, or truly world-class hospitality at Blue Riband events such as the Concours of Elegance, Goodwood Revival, Pebble Beach concours and Villa d’Este. Today’s petrolhead has never been offered more opportunities to enjoy, drive or show their car and connect with like-minded enthusiasts – a fact that helps our hobby and industry continue to thrive.

This year we greatly enjoyed hosting our quarterly Ten Two Club gatherings, including the inaugural ‘Midsummer Classic’ BBQ. Once again, we exhibited at the always sublime Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace and made annual pilgrimages to Goodwood for the Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival. How the Duke of Richmond and his team are able to raise the bar year after year never ceases to amaze us. An honourable mention also goes to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust for organising another Festival, this time at Brooklands Museum. The record turn-out of Aston Martins of all eras, including possibly one of the largestever gatherings of pre-War cars, was quite something! Hopefully, this event will return in 2023.

In order to provide inspiration for things to do and places to be seen in your Aston Martin next year, the NM&Co team has put its heads together to consider what events we would like to attend over the next 12 months.

Here follows a selection ...

lease note: Dates correct as of December 2022. Do check with the organisers before booking or setting off.

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THE ICE ST MORITZ

24-25 February 2023 theicestmoritz.ch

We have yet to go there, but the images from previous editions of the event held in February and titled The Ice (‘International Concours of Elegance’) look simply stunning.

It’s a different type of occasion, a refreshing take on the concours d’elegance concept. The Ice is a totally magical environment where drivers, collectors, and just plain car enthusiasts enjoy a late winter’s day in the sunshine, surrounded by the landscape and atmosphere that only the millionaires’ paradise that sits on top of the world, St Moritz, is able to offer.

One day, we fancy escaping the British winter and joining in the fun.

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2 April 2023

beaulieu.co.uk/events/simply-aston-martin

It’s an early season excuse for an exhilarating run down to the beautiful New Forest for the annual Simply Aston festival. Just park up within the museum complex and enjoy a superb day out with other Aston Martin owners and marque enthusiasts.

All ages and models of Aston Martin are welcome, so there’s a great opportunity to connect with fellow enthusiasts while admiring some of Aston Martin’s finest.

There’s also a fun concours where all participants have the opportunity to win the People’s Choice Award, a prize selected by public vote.

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THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY, IRELAND Anytime! thewildatlanticway.com

With word firmly out on one iconic driving route, the North Coast 500 that we featured in our 2020 edition of FullBore and now a firm favourite with a number of readers, our next recommended road trip route is The Wild Atlantic Way. It is the 1,600-mile (2,600km) network of coastal roads that follow the beautiful west coast of Ireland. Starting at the Inishowen Peninsula in the north, it winds its way down to the picturesque town of Kinsale, County Cork.

A new delight awaits visitors behind every bend on this magical coastal road.

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TEN TWO CLUB, ESSENDONBURY FARM

13 May, 1 July, 23 September 2023

nicholasmee.co.uk/about-us/ten-two-club

We very much look forward to throwing open the doors of Essendonbury Farm once again on three dates in 2023. Clients old and new will be welcomed at the informal Saturday morning get-togethers held at our award-winning premises in Hertfordshire. It will be an opportunity to enjoy barista coffee and other refreshments while talking cars and touring the showroom and workshop.

Members of the NM&Co team will be on hand to answer questions on sales, purchases or simply getting the best out of your treasured Aston Martin and how to look after it.

Tickets for each event will be released nearer the time, so keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of our Midsummer Classic BBQ and 30th birthday celebrations which will take place next summer.

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14 May 2023 amoc.org/concours

With a new chairman and fresh thinking, the AMOC has bounced back from the internal wrangles of the last few years. Club concours inevitably took a back seat during this period but are now back and the highly regarded AMOC Spring Concours will be held at former WW2 fighter base Duxford on Sunday, 14 May 2023.

It’s a relatively short drive away from our premises in Hertfordshire and we very much look forward to being there in force.

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ASTON MARTIN OWNERS CLUB SPRING CONCOURS, DUXFORD AERODROME

BICESTER HERITAGE SCRAMBLE EVENTS

Throughout the year bicesterheritage.co.uk/events

The 444-acre former Royal Air Force site has, since 2013, become a destination of choice for many 1,000s of classic car enthusiasts – 10,000 came to just one meeting – who flock to its sold-out ‘Scramble’ events. Now considerably redeveloped, it’s also home to many classic car specialists and even the magazine The Road Rat co-founded by Cold Play bass player Guy Berryman.

If you are looking for an eclectic mix of cars – McLaren F1 to Austin 7 –knowledgeable owners and quality catering, a Bicester Scramble is the place for you. It does get sold out, so do book in advance.

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GOODWOOD

April, July and September 2023 goodwood.com/motorsport

The drive there is worth a visit to the famous super-fast south coast racing circuit alone. If approaching from London or the north, travelling by car to Goodwood will take you through chocolate box villages in Surrey and West Sussex, then over the South Downs before arriving at the unofficial UK mecca for motoring enthusiasts, the wonderful Goodwood Estate.

Whether visiting for a track day, one of the regular Breakfast Club meetings, the Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed or the world-beating Revival, Goodwood is a must and, in our opinion, never fails to disappoint.

The 2023 dates for Goodwood’s three flagship motoring events are:

80th Members Meeting 15-16 April 2023

Festival of Speed 13-16 July 2023

Goodwood Revival 8-10 September 2023

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LE MANS 24 HOURS

10-11 June 2023

24h-lemans.com/en/centenary

With next year being the centenary of the ‘World’s Greatest Motor Race’, and with four major manufacturers (Ferrari, Peugeot, Toyota and Porsche) battling it out for outright victory, the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours is one not to be missed.

It is an annual pilgrimage for many UK-based enthusiasts, one that generally starts off with a memorable drive – with an all-important lunch stop – to Le Mans from the Channel ferry terminals and Eurotunnel. That’s followed by almost a week immersed in car culture and then 24 hours of epic, non-stop endurance racing. Le Mans is a bucket-list event for many. With years of experience of the great 24-hour race, the NM&Co team recommends it highly and is at your disposal for advice on how to get the best out of it.

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CHRISTMAS GIFTS

As Christmas fast approaches many of you will be thinking about gifts for your family, friends and loved ones. Here at Aston Store we have a range of merchandise that will make for the perfect present for any Aston Martin or motoring enthusiast in your life.

From Aston Martin leather keyrings to luxury, handmade holdalls, our online store have available a range of gifts that will cover all price ranges and be sure to please anyone who is lucky enough to find them under the tree on Christmas day.

To help you in the tricky decision of choosing gifts for your loved ones, we have put together (over the enxt few pages) a list of potential gift ideas, at different price ranges – from stocking fillers to luxury items – to complete your Christmas shopping.

All orders will be dispatched with prompt delivery to your door, making sure you receive your items well before Christmas.

View our entire selection of Merchandise HERE

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our dedicated team for any advice or assistance on 0208 741 8822.

astonstore.co.uk

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FULLBORE 55 astonstore.co.uk FILLERS (UP TO £50): BUY NOW BUY NOW Aston Martin F1 Team Grid Golf Umbrella Airfix Aston Martin DBR9 1:32 Model
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FULLBORE 57 astonstore.co.uk £50-100: BUY NOW BUY NOW Otway & Orford ‘Victory at Last’ Silk Pocket Square AMR & Hackett Polo Shirt
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FULLBORE 59 astonstore.co.uk £100+: BUY NOW BUY NOW The Essence – DB2 to DB6 Book Charabanc Luxury Car Fragrance £100+:
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We’ve sold more than 2,500 classic motor cars since NM&Co was founded in 1993. Each one has meant a lot to us and its new owner, but some stand out. The sales team has spent some time selecting 30 cars that made the most impression in three decades of trading.

They are not always super-expensive examples –though one would fetch $25m+ today. These 30 cars represent what we do best: source and sell interesting Aston Martins, sometimes cars that Nick sold new in the ’70s and ’80s, to clients who appreciate the rare and genuinely special. Sometimes they are one-offs or very limited editions, on other occasions they are simply a sale that sticks in the mind: “That was a good one.” There’s also the car that Nick should, “never have sold”.

Over to the company founder to explain more…

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VIDEO: 30 YEARS, 30 MEMORABLE CAR SALES

THE NM&CO APPRENTICE PROGRAMME: THEY’RE HIRED!

Scottish-born Neil Gordon joins the Essendonbury Farm team as its latest trainee technician.

One of the aims when we made the big move to Hertfordshire in 2018 was to introduce an apprenticeship programme. The far bigger workshop space available to us at Essendonbury Farm allows us to recruit more skilled technicians, which opened up a vacancy for a young enthusiast keen to learn a trade tending classic and modern Aston Martins.

When we launched the process, we were blown away by both the size of the response and the quality of the applicants. The 50 would-be master technicians were whittled down to a short list of nine, who were then invited to attend an open day here with their parents to understand the environment in which they would be working, meet us and learn more about career opportunities in our sector.

Our apprenticeship programme is run to guidelines set up by the Heritage Skills Academy (HSA) at Bicester Heritage. Created by John Pitchforth in 2015, working with education and industry professionals the HSA has laid out an apprenticeship standard that meets the

needs of businesses like ours and allows apprentices to develop the skills and attributes needed to thrive and succeed in a growing market.

Over the course of the open day, the candidates were given tasks to complete, allowing us to gauge their suitability for the programme and the chances of them developing a career in our business. They were also monitored to see how they got on working alongside their future colleagues. The day over, members of the NM&Co team voted for their preferred apprentice.

Ben Ashton was the chosen one and we were delighted when he started a three-year programme with us in September 2018. He began work here, immediately picking up skills from our trained team of technicians, every six weeks completing classroom studies at Bicester. Whilst working as our apprentice, Ben went on to win Best Commitment Apprentice at the NEC Classic Car show in 2019 and was a finalist for Apprentice of the Year at the Historic Motoring Awards, also in 2019.

With Ben’s time as an apprentice nearing its end in 2022, we started the search for his replacement. Over the last three years we received many approaches, and

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one application in particular stood out. Born and raised in Scotland, Neil Gordon is a lifelong classic car fan and spent his youth attending car shows with his father in their Reliant Scimitar. Starting an apprenticeship with Nicholas Mee & Co was fulfilling a dream to work with classics. Neil will benefit from the knowledge he gained whilst completing a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Settling into his new digs in Welwyn Garden City (when let out of our workshop…) Neil enjoys playing football and following all forms of motorsport. He has made a very encouraging start with us and has already completed his first block of training at the Heritage Skills Academy.

Last word goes to Chris Green, our Service & Aftercare Manager who is responsible for Neil’s apprenticeship experience:

‘Having completed my own apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce and Bentley, I can speak with firsthand knowledge of how rewarding and valuable an apprenticeship with the right, supportive employer can be. In this specialist environment there really is no

substitute for “hands on” experience, but of course, given the value and importance of many of the cars we care for, it is crucial that the trainee’s involvement is carefully managed. That is the balance we are aiming at to achieve in progressing the skills and experience of our technician apprentice.

‘Naturally, it being a very busy working environment, it is challenging to allocate infinite training and mentorship to an apprentice, which is where working in tandem with the HSA is so productive. In the classroom environment their tutors are able to provide one-to-one guidance to accelerate the apprentice’s skills and understanding of the fundamentals of engineering. On both occasions we have been blown away by the level of interest from applicants for the position, many of whom already possessed industry or higher education experience, thus giving us a highercalibre pool of talent to select from.

‘Most encouraging for all of us, with this shared passion of classic cars, is that the necessary skills to continue maintaining and restoring them will be preserved for generations to come!’

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RETRO SPECTIVE

COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE… CYGNET?

City cars, they are all the rage. Cute Smarts took the world by storm in 1998 and are now an electric-only, Sino-German joint venture. Renault’s Twizy is another far-thinking European machine, charged up from the mains and in production in the Far East. A recent edition of BBC TV’s Top Gear showed the Three Amigos conquering Paris, each in a cheeky traffictrouncer created for scooting around the French capital.

What model could woo drivers used to the luxury and exclusivity of an Aston Martin, yet needing the manoeuvrability, compact size and low-emission status of this new generation of city run-arounds? There’s a gap in the market, surely.

There is – because the one car that really did meet those needs was discontinued in 2013 after four years of controversy and sales that declined to almost nothing. Step forward, the Aston Martin Cygnet.

Using the running gear and basic bodyshell of the high-quality Toyota iQ, the stylists at Gaydon added Astonness in the form of the grille that made its debut on the 1950s racers and Mk III production car, bonnet vents à la V12 Vantage and side strakes in the style of the Gaydon cars. Doorhandles from the DB9 were dropped after one pre-production

prototype. Virtually any exterior colour was possible, and inside, the Cygnet was beautifully trimmed to levels almost matching its big brothers.

Prices started at £30,995 for a manual, although buyers could indulge themselves for a truly bespoke experience. A special ‘Cygnet & colette’ edition was launched in 2011, which cost £39,995 in the UK, €48,995 in Europe. And for that you did not even get an upper case ‘C’. It’s believed just two were sold.

But times are very different now. All mainstream manufacturers are looking at electric, friendly-to-the-planet models. Local authorities throughout the UK are introducing ultra-low emissions areas, or LTNs (Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods) where conventional car ownership and use is on its way to an outright ban. The Japanese and Korean manufacturers make funky, fit-for-purpose hatchbacks.; in this environment, upmarket cars from BMW, Mercedes and Audi are no longer the ultimate driving machines they once were.

But a modern Gaydon-built Aston, with sharp lines, shrunk to fit for the urban environment of today would have a following. There have been many ‘V8 Vantages’ over the years – how about another Cygnet?

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68 OPENING HOURS Nicholas Mee & Company will be closed 1pm on Friday 23rd 8am on Tuesday For any sales enquiries during that info@nicholasmee.co.uk or call 07718 between Tuesday 27th –by appointment.

OPENING HOURS

closed for the Christmas holidays from: 23rd December to Tuesday 3rd January. that period, please either email 07718 340811. Viewings can be arranged – Friday 30th December, appointment.

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