The transition from “Casino Royale” to reality has not been a short process. The Aston Martin DBS driven by James Bond was only a sketchy shell of Gaydon’s current pride and joy, derived from the first clay model of a project that was still in early development. Three examples of that shell were built, each of which with fake mechanicals created only for show.

In the words of its designer Marek Reichman, today’s DBS is like James Bond – “a tough guy, but in a dinner suit”. Reichman also says that it is “like Cassius Clay, the biggest, worst boxer, but with an extremely elegant style”, or “a race horse in full stride, an elegant symphony of muscles”. Above all, the DBS is the Aston Martin’s new flagship, as reflected in the price (£160,000 in the UK).

The DBS is, in a way, a symbol of the great renaissance in terms of both productivity and image enjoyed by Britain’s most eligible rival to icons such as Ferrari and Lamborghini. Auto industry politics have led Ford to sell off the brand (while retaining a 10% share, however).

The new owners are from Kuwait, a petroleum producing consortium which, however, has preferred to appoint a local businessman as president – namely David Richards, who made his name in motorsports as owner of ProDrive –
and former president from the Ford era Ulrich Bez as manager.

The most eloquent symbol of this great renaissance of the Aston Martin marque, however, was the inauguration of the new design centre last December, which was built in just six months and completes the incorporation of all the brand’s operations into the Gaydon headquarters.

During the inauguration – naturally an evening of the utmost style and elegance – against a backdrop of the models that have defined the history of Aston Martin (including a Le Mans winner), Reichman unveiled a concept which, one day, may even join the AM range: the V12 Vantage RS. This is essentially the ‘little’ Vantage, now endowed – with the necessary styling and engineering tweaks – with the same 6 litre V12 engine powering the DBRS9 racetrack version of the DBS.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 169

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