Some of you already know, but over the last year or two another interesting car project has been taking shape, and finally arrived late last week.
For years I’ve had a sports car of one type or another. A 100-4 Healey that was described as a “trailer load of rusty metal”, a V6 Capri, a succession of Bolwell’s, Mk7’s and a Nagari, a Buchanan, that now appears to have been one of the factory race cars, amongst others.
All of these have at some level disappointed and, in many ways have been a step towards something that I have really wanted for 20+ years.
I’ve always wanted an Aston Martin.
For years as kids, Marcus (my brother) and I talked about cars. Obviously James Bond was a hero, and late night reruns of Goldfinger probably sewed the seed, but always an Aston Martin was the pinnacle for us both.
Later on, reading second hand UK import magazines, we would marvel at the exclusivity, luxury, power and frightening cost of an Aston Martin, and who wouldn’t want a car that could actually use most of the 170MPH speedo.
I can recall reading an article on Aston Martin that interviewed the then Director / Owner, Victor Gauntlet. It was in 1984 and in 70 years, Aston Martin had just built their 10,000th car. The comment was also made, that in Detroit they were building 10,000 cars in an hour! An Aston was clearly the car for me.
Although the Bond DB5 connection had probably got me started, it was the then current (1984) V8’s that really caught my eye.
25 years later, and at the Phillip Island Historics two years ago, there were a couple of Aston Martin Club V8’s in the car park.
I was there with Dad and said that if there was ever going to be a car for me then it was one of these. Slowly I did the sums and realized it wasn’t entirely impractical, though I didn’t need much convincing. The Nagari had been sold (so the Sports Car Money was safely in the bank!) and after all, at least in an Aston Martin V8, the whole family could travel in it!
Like most of you I always have my favorite car sales sites and a few favorites to punch in. Aston Martin, Bolwell, Austin Healey, Iso, Jensen, Kit Car and even Plymouth (Don’t ask!).
All of a sudden the supply seemed to disappear overnight, although I suspect that in reality there were never many for sale in Australia.
I contacted Paul Sabine at Brooklands and he showed me a Series 3 that he had, but I explained that I was after something a little better, even if it cost a bit more.
After fortnightly phone calls to Paul Sabine he finally told me of a series 4 Oscar India he had bought in the UK that was on its way over. I saw the photos, and was quietly keen.
The Series 4 Oscar India (October Introduction) cars were significantly improved over the earlier cars that I had initially looked at.
They featured a revised interior with walnut timber inserts and leather headlining (It took the leather from 9 hides to trim an Oscar India!) as well as an integral rear spoiler and lower, closed opening bonnet bulge.
Initially I thought that one of these more highly appointed cars would be beyond my reach, but the car finally arrived in Australia and I was hooked. It would be a little (!) more expensive than the series 3, but to me the improvements were well worth it.
I test drove the car, after waiting for what seemed like months, and wasn’t disappointed, which was a relief! The car upheld all of my Aston Martin expectations, but I was ultimately to reject it because again I thought that maybe I could perhaps do a little better.
By this time I had looked at all of the cars available in Australia (all of 2 in 18 months) and had come to the conclusion that I may have to look further to the UK.
I approached The Healey Factory who said that they would help with shipping a car here, and as I had no experience it was a great help, as it opened a whole new, all be it small market.
I soon found a car I really liked and set the wheels in motion.
The color and interior were all good, I particularly like the contrasting green piping on the seats, and the car had an interesting history file that demonstrated a lot of car in its previous owners and was a lot lower mileage than the car I had previously tested.
The car was inspected by a very reputable Aston specialist (check out Richard Williams Aston on Google) and given the all clear. I then parted with the money. You can imagine how nerve wracking that is, sending money half way around the world, to a guy you have only contacted by email and a few phone conversations, for a car that you haven’t even seen. Then with Healey Factory help the car was put in a container to sail to Melbourne.
After just over six weeks from leaving the UK, the phone call came from Rob Rowland to say the car was here. I nervously asked how it looked, “like a green Aston”, was the short reply.
I went after work for a quick look and was very happy. The color and overall condition was better than I had hoped for. I picked the car up on Saturday 25-6 and nervously drove home and checked all of the lights etc and arranged for a safety inspection for Monday, to put the car on Historic Plates. It passed no problem, so the next day, Tuesday 28-6 I went to Vic Roads with the necessary paperwork, and handed over $114, and picked up my new 90 day Historic club plates!
Even Rob was impressed, a new record to get a car from the container and onto the road.
So far, I’m not at all disappointed. There are a few little things to take car of, but they can be done once I get it organised onto a regular servicing plan.
Incidentally, I have been in touch with the Aston Martin Owners Club forum, and it actually looks like my car is one of two cars that were originally ordered new by Victor Gauntlets. The two cars had consecutive plates and the other one was a famous car used in many road tests at the time.
I hope to be contacted by Victor Gauntlets son, regarding the car!
Hope to have many years of pleasant motoring ahead!
Aston Martin V8
Chassis Number V8SOR 12260
Engine Number V/580/2260/S
First registered PBM 743W 1st August 1980
First Registered owner Pace Petroleum Ltd
Second registered Owner from 1981?? J Maclean???
I have no paperwork or dates relating to this owner, information from Tim Cottingham, AMOC only
Third registered owner Kingfisher Wood Products LTD 8-7-83
Registration changed to 1 KWP
Fourth registered owner Philip Vincent Meakin 22-9-88
Registration changed to RBW 682W
Fifth Registered owner John Czarnowski 1-3-93
Sixth registered owner David Sloan 27-10-10
Seventh registered owner Simon Wells 14-4-11
In 1987 and again in 1988, the car got third place in the Silverstone concours
From new to 10-4-85 (25,000 Miles) service by Aston Martin Lagonda, the 10,000 Mile service voucher is not stamped??
30,000 (21-8-87) and 35,000 (25-3-88) service by Richard Stewart Williams
40,000 (19-4-91) service by Aston Martin Lagonda
45,000 (2-12-91) and 50,000 (26-9-94) service by DJR Services
55,000 (6-11-00) service by Rikki Cann
On going servicing and repairs to end 2002 by Rikki Cann
Only minor repairs and service since
I wonder if servicing stopped at Aston Martin Lagonda because of cost? In May 1989, the invoice reports renewing the rear cigar lighter. Breakdown of parts supplied shows 1 cigar lighter, cost 30.47 GBP plus 15%VAT!
September 2002 Rikki Cann carried out extensive repairs to sills, jacking points and rear suspension pickups. Body work was repaired around front and rear window openings, and the car was repainted, though not to bare metal.
Total cost of this work in 2002 was over 10,000 GBP.
Mileage at this time was 57765.
Although staying with the same owner until Oc27-20-20 rather strangely, having spent all that money, since then the car has barely been used, having covered only 2314 miles for a total of 60079 in the last 9 years, and only 337 since its MOT 16-3-07.
One year 09-10, it traveled as few as 4 miles according to the MOT tests!
Well, half his luck hey!