SEP 17th 2015

Relief all round as Aston boss's classic Vantage is given official thumbs up

Aston Martin Proveance Earls Court

The identity of the first Aston Martin to be awarded Assured Provenance status – the new scheme launched by the British firm at Revival as its answer to Ferrari Classiche – can be revealed.

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It’s a 1981 V8 Vantage in green that Aston boss Andy Palmer bought for himself in July.

‘I was at school in 1979 and this was the car I aspired to,’ Andy told us when GRR caught up with him on the Aston stand inside Revival’s Earls Court Motor Show.

‘Getting a V8 Vantage was always my personal promise to myself, but I wish I had bought it back then because it would have been an awful lot cheaper. It is gorgeous though.’

Assured Provenance is the new classic car certification programme run by Aston Martin Works for cars between 1913 and 2007 (when production ended at Newport Pagnell). The aim is to provide reassurance to owners that what they own is the real thing – and to weed out cars with more puff than provenance (you can see more about the scheme here).

Aston Martin Proveance Earls Court

No doubt to everyone’s relief it appears the boss has not bought a wrong ‘un…

Andy’s £250,000 Vantage has been awarded the gold standard in the four-tier Assured Provenance scheme. The top platinum cars, says Aston Works md Paul Spires, would have to be ‘just like the day they left the factory, in original colour and trim and with original engine, gearbox and back axle.’

Perhaps the second customer for Assured Provenance status – believed to be serial Aston collector and Revival racer Wolfgang Friedrichs – will have something to fit the bill there…

Alas while Andy Palmer’s 1981 V8 Vantage was not at Revival its ‘presentation case’ was, complete with certificate, dashboard and sill plaques, photographic record and digital profile (each car is scanned electronically), and all very smart it looked. Reassurance is the main driver here but it’s nice to know you also get something tangible for your £4000 (plus vat) entry fee, with a further £6000 (plus vat) payable if the car is accepted on the scheme.

Aston Martin Earls Court DB5

So is there a problem with Aston fakes? Andy Palmer said: ‘There are a lot of good Aston Martin dealers and specialists out there but there are always some cowboys and you do hear horror stories, engines of unknown origin and so on. We want to make sure that when someone buys an Assured Provenance Aston Martin they know they are not getting a car that has been cowboyed.

‘I am not a rich man and my Vantage is an awfully big purchase for me. The reassurance that the Assured Provenance scheme provides for someone who is basically fulfilling a lifelong ambition has to be a good thing.’

And finally… in Frankfurt Motor Show week it would have been remiss not to ask Andy Palmer about the new Astons coming. So how are they coming?

‘All are on plan. The first one in 2016 will be everything you expect and more.’ (That’s the DB11 grand tourer, ed).

Aston Martin DBX

What about other British luxury cars like the Rolls-Royce Dawn and Bentley Bentayga SUV making their debuts at Frankfurt?

‘They are all playing to their own strengths. I like what’s happening with the luxury car British base, it’s fabulous that it has found its position in the world again. I think our three brands in particular could do more together to promote British craftsmanship around the world.

‘In terms of the Bentley Bentayga I like the space (in the market) they have found for it. SUVs exist in every segment (he should know; he put a lot of ‘em there while at Nissan, ed) so why not the luxury segment? I think Bentley will do very well with it.

‘Would I do a car like that for Aston? No. Our DBX concept is not like that. The DBX principle is, take a Rapide or DB11 grand tourer, pop it up high and give it electric and four-wheel drive capability. It has to be gorgeous.’

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The man has just a bit on his plate right now but surely there’s time to follow in his design director’s footsteps (see more on him and his Revival racing here) and have a go at historic racing?

‘I do fancy it. So far I have concentrated on GT3 and GT4 racing but I would love to compete at Revival. But I don’t know what I would drive…’

Suggestions on a postcard please….

Photography by Pete Summers and Aston Martin

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