Thanks to an invitation from Shivia a charity aiming to empower the very poorest families in India and supported by Max Patel of St James’s Place Wealth Management, I got to spend the day driving Aston Martin’s at their HQ at Gaydon, Warwickshire – somewhere not normally open to the public.
Many of the guests had generously donated to take part in the day and these sums were matched by donations from St James’s Place, so a lot of money was raised for an incredibly good cause, putting additional funds into the Shivia Livelihood Services Programme in West Bengal.
We got an overall insight into the history, design, craftsmanship and engineering of Aston Martin’s award winning sports cars. As part of the experience, not only did we get lunch but the opportunity to test drive two of the current Aston Martin models, accompanied by a man who has to be very brave to do his job – teaching me how to get the most out of the car around the open roads of Warwickshire was no doubt terrifying for him.
Prior to the driving experience we had a tour around the museum and factory – far more interesting than I thought that bit would be. Surprisingly clean and shiny – I couldn’t believe how lacking in dirt, grit, dust, grease, sparks and oil it was. No mess to be seen anywhere and everyone had a job to do.
So the new “Cool Brand” list is out for 2016 and look where Aston Martin come in? Guess it’s to do with their James Bond tie in mainly…you can see why from these old photos:-
The 2016 “Cool Brand” list:-
Here is the team for the day:-
Here I am taking notes – unfortunately, although I wrote loads down in my notebook about aerodynamics and airflow and 5.2 twin turbo and V12 engines, I can’t honestly pretend that I know what I’m talking about so there is no point in even trying. I can only understand the bits about their delicious lunch, their 2,000 employees, that the company is 103 years old and has never made a penny – they have been bankrupt 7 times!! That they made 4,000 cars last year, that their small beginnings when Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford started the company in 1913, but then had to stop because of WW1 and then again during WW2, how they were owned by Ford Motors for 20 years, followed by individual investors AND MAINLY about how their tie up with James Bond came about more by accident than planning – Ian Flemming’s neighbour had an Aston Martin…and they have now featured in 12 out of the 24 films.
Their new master plan is to be more sustainable and invest in the future – they are confident that they are developing some excellent new cars and the DB11 is the latest car that will “take Aston Martin into the 21st century”
Thanks to everyone involved – a great day out was had by all!