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Have you heard about the Aston Martin Goldfinger DB5 Continuation Edition? It’s a brand new, official factory replica of the Silver Birch-coloured car from the third Bond film. It even has actual working gadgets such as the revolving number plates. What an incredibly detailed recreation, an iconic melding of two eternally linked names and an awful load of nonsense!
Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Aston is flying high. Following the DB11 with the new V8 Vantage and then the DBS in a run of impressive cars speaks volumes about the competence and confidence of the firm under its current management. It doesn’t need this retro nonsense, and certainly not when it’s so horribly tacky. Aston is bigger and better than probably the worst secret agent in the world. And not least because this character habitually drives around in an Aston bloody Martin.
The DB5 recreation doesn’t harness 007 chic. It feels more like Aston’s captured the essence of some fat, flatulent bore who goes to ‘gala Bond nights’ at his local golf club, orders a vodka martini even though he doesn’t like them, says that sodding tedious catchphrase to the barman, then makes an embarrassing Pussy Galore joke to a woman he doesn’t know in the belief he’s ‘charming’. But he’s not. He’s a fool, and if he had Rs25 crore (in UK, excluding Indian taxes & duties) he’d buy this car even though it’s an awful idea and patently doesn’t have a full suite of ‘working’ gadgets because no one can sell you a car with built-in machine guns, not even in Russia.
Enjoying a Bond movie is fine. However, people who like Bond too much are the same as people who are a bit too into Star Wars. The same ones who put ‘Jedi’ on their last census form because they thought it was funny. Worse yet, in its quest to make an ‘authentic’ replica version of a car driven by a fictional man in a made-up film, Aston has hamstrung itself to building these new DB5s to the exact spec of the 1960s original, which means they’ll be God-awful to drive on the road, if you could do that, which you can’t, because, here’s the kicker, they won’t be road legal.
So, in a nutshell, the Aston Martin Goldfinger DB5 Continuation Edition is an extremely expensive, largely unusable and deeply naff car for dullards. Strangely, I don’t have the same reaction to the new, electrically powered E-types that Jaguar announced in the same week as the Bond-bore Aston. On paper, this might seem like even more of an affront to history, especially since they require the butchering of existing E-types and the factory doesn’t make them from scratch.
But let’s not forget, the E-type is not a particularly rare car. Moreover, customers can get the factory to reverse the electrical conversion and put back the old straight-six, if they desire. But I’m not sure you would. Most people buy high-end classic cars for the looks and not for the way they drive. I’ve tried E-types, and though they aren’t horrific, they’re not all that much fun either. In fact, through modern eyes an E-type is at its most pleasant going gently and, while the sound of the engine might be part of that pleasure, I can also imagine cruising gently through urban areas of a summer’s evening in a drop-top E-lectric, smiling and waving at people and feeling good about the world while knowing that my motive power made little difference to the overall sensation.
Frankly, the lump up front will neither slip out of tune nor boil to death. That’s why the electro E is a brilliant idea. You’d take a functional old Jag out more often, giving more people the pleasure of seeing it. Purists need not worry, as they can still get E-Types in exactly the state they left the factory. However, it’s fantastic how Aston is modernising some DB5s in a way that classic cars enthusiasts can enjoy them.
As such, Jaguar has created the battery-pack E-type as a clever, authentic bridge between heritage and modernity. I find myself wanting a Rs3.30 crore (in UK, excluding Indian taxes & duties) electric E-type almost as much as I very much don’t want to prance about in a dinner suit and millions worth of Innovations catalogue nonsense pretending to be James bloody Bond.