Monday, December 1, 2014

Aston Martin

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We happened to be in London during two big events.  One was the birth of Prince George, which was more interesting to watch other people be excited about.  The other was the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin, which Lana wasn’t that interested in.  David was riveted.  The centenary was held in Kensington Gardens, just a few blocks from our hotel, and Lana very patiently spent part of a morning there as David ogled and snapped pictures.  She did have some interesting people watching, as it drew a different crowd than the park typically sees.

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There was a timeline of Aston Martins lined up from the north side of the park to nearly the south side—about a half a mile of cars—starting with the first models from 1913 and ending with a concept car from 2013.

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Aston Martin started making racing cars in the ‘20s, and they were interspersed with consumer models in the timeline, as with the Razor Blade above, and the Brooklands Racer below.

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An Ulster 2 Seater above, and the 4 seater below.  It was interesting to see fire extinguishers placed regularly along the line of cars; some are quite rare.  Up to a certain age, the cars had a pan below them to catch oil drips, too.

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Detailed view of the front wheel mechanics for the Ulster 4, including the rotary shock absorber. 

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Speed Model Type C above, Two Litre Sports below.
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Most of them were very pretty, of course.  David thought the models from the ‘50s and early ‘60s were particularly photogenic.  DB2/4 MkII Competition Spider by Bertone above, and DB3 S/11 below (as well as the lead picture).

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The cars for consumers got a little awkward looking in the late ‘60s, followed by a brief period of muscle-car designs in the early ‘70s.

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The late 70s and 80s were appalling.  David could only bring himself to photograph the worst of the worst: the Bulldog.  The ‘90s were somewhere between appalling and appealing.

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One entire section was devoted to cars used in various James Bond movies, like the DBS “roll” car from Casino Royale, or the classic DB5 (I believe this is not the original, but the one used in the recent Skyfall)

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Also the V8 Volante from The Living Daylights, with missiles hidden behind the lights, as well as pop-out outboard skis, which were present on this car, but not visible in this picture. 

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As we left the special Bond cars area, we saw a couple posing for a picture in front of one of the DB5 with their two dogs, which struck us as both cute and weird.  Then, one last view back down the early 70’s line.

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Another section was devoted to more recent race cars, but was restricted to ticket holders; it was labeled the Park Privé.  This area had a higher concentration of people who looked like they should be at the Kentucky Derby, or a formal British wedding.  Suits, fancy hats, the works (sadly, not represented in the picture above).  The Bond Car area was sort of the polar opposite.  It was an amusing blend of people to watch, along with the normal array of joggers and dog walkers who ranged from puzzled to frustrated as they navigated the crowd.

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Finally, we reached the end of the timeline.  Above, a V8 Vantage N24 Prototype which placed 24th in the 24 hour Nürburgring race in 2006; below, a 2013 CC100 Speedster concept car.  Looking at the drivers listed on the side of the V8 Vantage, it’s interesting to note that the CEO of Aston Martin, Ulrich Bez, was in the race rotation.  In a city where you hardly see cars, it was a fun change of pace, and David enjoyed the opportunity as a photographer, as well as a sports car enthusiast.

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