Aston Martin has a long line of highly successful cars and offers an exceptionally sophisticated automobile in the ultra luxury department. The Aston Martin company has been owned and sold off or bought out quite a few times with two very notable periods. First was David Brown Limited, and later on the Ford Motor Company.
The first acquisition that was monumental for the Aston Martin name came when Sir David Brown owner of David Brown Limited bought the Aston Martin car company. His revitalization of the company brought along the classic DB designation in 1948 with the DB1 model. So any model that has the DB designation on it is a direct descendant going back to the "David Brown" era.
These cars are so stunningly cool that they have been adopted into cinema going from From a DBIII in Ian Fleming's James Bond Novel Goldfinger, up to a DB5 in the movie version, to Tippi Hedron driving a DB2/4 Drophead Coupe in the 1963 Hitchcock film The Birds.
This association with Aston Martin cars in the movies and on television continues to this day with an almost weekly feature on the ever popular television program on BBC America called "Top Gear" where they have featured a number of Aston Martin models including some DB9's and a V12 Vanquish which Mr. Clarkson loved except for the gearbox, in fact some feel that his blistering complaints about this shifting led Aston Martin to offer an upgrade to the gearbox. For customers who desired this upgrade it would only cost them 13,250 British Pounds!
This show is where they have a live audience and they test all kinds of cars on Jeremy Clarksons airport test track.! I know quite a bit about the DB9 Coupe from watching the BBC America show called Top Gear. The host of that program and his co-presenters love everything about Aston Martin. Which is only logical since they are in fact British.
So back to the movies we go again,as they have used a number of other Aston Martins in various other films, especially in the James Bond Films. They have used the DB4, the V8 Volante, the V8 Vantage, the V8 Vanquish and many more in books, movies, and on television. Though many people still do not know what an Aston Martin car looks like when you talk about them, but mention James Bond, or Top Gear and you can see the recognition come over them.
The actual list of the most admired and significant Aston Martin cars would begin at the modern turn around which arguably began at the David Brown era in 1947, with that said the list might look something like this:
DB1 1948-1950 "Aston Martin 2-Liter Sports" with a 4 cylinder 90 hp engine that could get up to 93 mph. There were only 15 of these iconic machines hand built before the 1950 upgrade to the DB2.
DB Mark III (MK III) 1957-1959 This model was written about in the Ian Fleming Novel "Goldfinger" of James Bond fame. The engine was an improved 2.9 Liter straight six with options that made it an even better go fast car! The more rare version upgraded the accessories to the engine to give it 195 hp and disc brakes among other refinements. There were 10 of this version made.
DB5 1963-1965 This was the Aston Martin that was all tricked out with gadgets for the James Bond Goldfinger film in 1964. Previous model updates had brought the engine up to 3.7 Liter I-6, and the DB5 received an even larger one taking it up to 4.0 Liters making 282 hp. A lot of horsepower gains had been made since the 90 hp DB1 version was built 15 years or so prior! The car had not changed much but it could now go up to 145 mph and this engine was adopted as the "Vantage" platform which stands for "High Powered" in Aston Martin lingo.
DBS 1967-1972 This was the first big shift to a more modern looking Aston Martin. It boasted an optional 4 liter engine with better carburetors and this engine gave up 325 hp. Now it was more modern and faster! This particular model was significant as it was the last of the true David Brown Aston Martins. I love reading about these engines since I have owned plenty of Jeeps with 4.0 Liter straight six motors, and it is impressive knowing that these older sixes were pounding out this many ponies!
DBS V8 1969-1989 Was made concurrently with the DBS six for three years then when the DBS was dropped it carried on until 1989. The V8 was a 5.3 Liter with only 315 hp. The body was very similar looking to other popular cars from that era. Most notably the hood and grill could pass as a cousin to the Ford mustang. Though it was not attributed to him as his design since he had left the company, David Brown still oversaw the development of this model
Aston Martin Virage 1989-2000 This was the first major update to the aging V8 platform, and was the replacement for the DBS V8. This was the time when Aston Martin began heading down the path to become a true "Supercar" with a newer 330 hp V8 this model was getting closer to the true sports car platform that they wanted. Though it still sported a V8 as standard, in 2000 they made 9 Vantage Volante Special editions, which added twin superchargers to give the 5.3 Liter V8 550 hp! with a top speed of 200 mph! all this plus it was a convertible! Now that has got to be one amazing ride!
They also began offering a retrofit service on this model to take a 6.3 Liter AMR1 racing engine and stuff it into this chassis in 1993. This variant delivered 500 hp and top speed to 175 mph. In my opinion they were having way too much fun making these really sharp looking cars go really really fast. And then they made the V8 Vantage LeMans in honor of the 40th anniversary of Aston Martin winning that prestigious race. They only made 40 of these special editions, one for each year since their big win. This beast harnessed 604 hp and could hit 100 km/hr in just 3.9 seconds!
DB7 1994-2003 Is notable because of the body styling changes which gave them a more distinctive and refined look over the previous models. They went back to the venerable 3.2 Liter I-6 engine and created some specials that used a 6.0 Liter V-12 engine. This model was done during an odd time in history when Ford owned both Jaguar and Aston Martin, and the development of the body used elements from the Jaguar platform. Once Ford canceled the Jaguar project that was destined to be the replacement for the XJS, they moved the Jaguar design to Aston Martin and with styling modifications they made it look more like an Aston than a Jag. Aston Martin sold more of this particular model than any model before with over 7000 made before being replaced by the widely known DB9 in 2003.
DB9 2004-present This model is represents to be the brilliant pinnacle of a long history of automotive design creativity and excellence. They have refined this car a degree that few automakers have accomplished with a super-car sports car such as this. It seems they skipped the DB8 designation but it was done on purpose for a number of reasons, but the V12 Vanquish took the place of any DB8 model that may have been. Also they did not want any confusion that this model had a V8 engine.
V12 Vanquish S 2004-2007 This is the upgraded model adding the S for Special, in that it has a 514 hp V12 engine that gives it a top speed of 204 mph. The standard Vanquish was featured in a Bond Film in 2002 "Die Another Day" and is listed as the third highest car in the "Best Film Cars Ever" category! How does 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds in a car that has a curb weight of just over 4000 pounds!
Now the recent models are all just reiterations and variants of previous models such as the V8 Vantage and the DBS and V12 models. In my opinion there is plenty of room for this super-car to grow once again, but for now the horsepower and speed race is on hold at least until the next great platform comes rolling out of the Aston Martin factory. I doubt it will be the embodied in the Rapide, and though I love my SUV's I have to cringe a little when I read about the possibility of Aston making their own version of an SUV!
Aston Martin had a big stake in racing for a very long time and this is where they would prove out various design concepts for their future models improvements. One notable model that is revered to this day would be the DBR1 which won the 24 hours of LeMans race in 1959. Not too shabby for a car running a straight six engine! One side note is that one of the drivers in this car for that race was the one and only Carroll Shelby of Fords Shelby Mustang, and Shelby Cobra Fame.
As a parting shot and just a thought, I was thinking that it would be awesome if there were a computer program that would put any car you wanted up against any other car and have a series of tests for each car. Something like what Top Gear does in a video game format. More realistic than Wii, but now I have just learned that EA has added these and other hot models to their "Need for Speed" games. Now I have to go find that on E-bay!
For more reading on these amazing cars please visit the following sites.
Thank you for reading my articles here on AC-Yahoo!
- Aston Martin
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