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Aston Martin: Ever the Thoroughbred - Book Review

An Illustrious History

by Robert Edwards

Aston Martin: Ever the Thoroughbred

Aston Martin is an interesting car company to say the least; one that has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It has produced arguably the world’s most famous car, yet it has also clung on for dear life amidst mismanagement and products that were certified stinkers for one reason or another. “Aston Martin: Ever the Thoroughbred” presents the story of each Aston from the first model in 1908 to today’s DB9 (the V8 Vantage had not been introduced when the book was published). Much of the book goes back and forth between technological advancements and the many mergers, buy-outs and management changes that have plagued the brand from the very beginning. For instance, it was interesting to know that the company was originally known as Bamford & Martin and the first 1908 Aston-Martin was named after the English town of Aston Clinton — there was never a Mr. Aston.

Overall, the book is an easy read with plenty of photographs throughout to make it worthy of your coffee table. Author Robert Edwards often comes across as a tad protective, though, frequently going out of his way to defend the cars as if some large populace considered them to be rubbish. This is particularly true of the chapter concerning the generally liked DB7. However, he doesn’t pull punches on the true Aston clunkers, like the completely forgettable Virages and V-cars from the 1980s and 90s (have you ever actually seen one in pictures, let alone out on the road?)

Ultimately, the lack of commentary on the brand’s ties to James Bond was disappointing. Sure, there are pictures of the “Goldfinger” DB5 and the Vanquish from “Die Another Day,” but there is very little said about the effect Bond had on Aston Martin. When most people think of the British brand, they generally think of that gadget-filled Silver Birch DB5 widely considered the world’s most famous car. Without James Bond, there’s a good chance Aston Martin wouldn’t be around today, and it seems like an omission to not go into more detail about the brand’s significant cultural connections.

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(Updated: 03/13/13 NW)

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