Aston Martin

“Aston Martin-1983-1972” by Dudley Gershon, C.Eng., M.I.Mech.E., M.I. Prod.E, A.M.B.I.M., F.I.W.S.P. 136 pp. 8 3/4 in. x 51/2 in. (Oxford Illustrated Press Ltd.) Shelley Close, Headington, Oxford, OX3 8HB. £3.95.)

The Aston Martin is about as well-documented as any other well-known car. There is the full history, by the late Dudley Coram, with the vintage chapters written by Inman Hunter, there are those reproductions of Press road-tests reports of various Aston Martin models (yes, we know the earlier ones had hyphenated names) and Inman Hunter is now at work on a new book about all the pre-war Astons and there is now this book about the later DB Aston Martins made at Newport Pagnell.

This present book is of interest because the author was until recently Director of Engineering at Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., and was, with his team, responsible for the DBS Astons, the V8 Lagonda and the development of the DB6. He is thus able to describe the policy behind this work and the problems encountered, and if this is not gone into in intense technical depth, it is just the sort of information those owning or restoring such cars are avid to have. In addition, Mr. Gershon gives a picture of what it was like to work on such famous cars at the David Brown factory at Newport Pagnell, where coach building craftsmen were available, and he goes into such interesting facets as the Company’s relationship with the Press, both technical and unskilled, the journalists who took these very fast cars away for road-tests, the times when Royalty, from HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh downwards, came to see how Aston Martins were made, how the James Bond car and the miniature Bond car came to be constructed, etc.

Indeed, Gershon’s opinions of racing, styling, Motor Shows, and the future of high performance cars in an age of increasing legislation (emission control and crashsafety, etc.), are all here. Of particular value to followers of the Aston Martin cult are the Chapters devoted to the development of the DBS and the DBS V8. Mr. Gershon joined the Company on the Service side and is also able to enlarge on the problems of faulty cars and discerning customers and one of the more unusual revelations of this frank book is the degree of co-operation within the Industry when detailed engineering problems were causing trouble.

“Aston Martin-1963-1972” is quite a modest little volume, but with adequate and clear though not wildly-exciting photographs. Its approach to the subject it covers is refreshing and it forms a valuable contribution to the history of a much respected British motor car.—W.B.

A superficial but inexpensive soft-cover book about transmission systems, by E. B. Watson, has been published in Newnes Technical Books “Questions and Answers” series, for £1.00.