Largest-ever Aston meet
The centenary of the oldest surviving Aston has been celebrated in grand style
The 100TH Birthday party for the oldest surviving Aston Martin resulted in the largest-ever gathering of Aston Martin cars and their owners. Some 681 Astons of all ages descended on Dallas Burston Polo Club near Southam, Warwickshire, for the event, organised by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust.
While visitors were funnelled into era- and model-themed car parks, displays on 26 June included examples of cars from every stage of the company’s 108-year history, from pre-war Aston Martins and Lagondas, through the Sir David Brown-era cars and right up to today’s range of sports cars and the DBX SUV.
Highlights included a V8 showcase with saloon, Volante, Vantage, Lagonda and Virage from 1968 to 2000, plus a selection of Aston Martin Tickford specials. Of the modern showstoppers, both Victor and Vulcan were at the event along with the Valkyrie hypercar and a host of intriguing one-offs, including the bonkers V8-engined Cygnet.
Undoubted star of the show, however, was the birthday boy, A3. This car is not only historically important as the oldest surviving Aston Martin, but also has a fascinating back story, having disappeared for decades. Its significance was only realised when it came to auction and an eagle-eyed inspector spotted the chassis number.
A3 is ‘the jewel’ in the Aston Martin Heritage Trust’s collection. Built in 1921, it was successfully hillclimbed at Aston Clinton by Lionel Martin (co-founder of Bamford and Martin) and as a result helped give the company its name. It also set light-car records at Brooklands in 1921, including averaging 100 miles at 86.2mph. A3 has been a regular at AMHT events and toured the world for AstonMartin’s centenary celebrations in 2013. It has had its drivetrain rebuilt by specialist Ecurie Bertelli over the past two years.
Commenting on the success of the event, and the record-breaking turnout of Aston Martin owners, AMHT chairman Rob Smith said: ‘The centenary of “A3” is a huge occasion for us at the AMHT and, of course, the Aston Martin brand, but even with that context we were stunned by quite how many owners made the journey to our event.We are delighted that so many came to the festival to help celebrate the anniversary. Interest in the car has been absolutely fantastic!’
A3 has now returned to its usual home, the Aston Martin Museum at Drayton St Leonard, Near Wallingford in Oxfordshire. See amht.org. uk/the-museum.
Clockwise, from top How many Astons can you fit on a polo field? This many, socially distanced; V8 Cygnet and One-77; A3 with the Vantage Roadster A3 Centenary Edition; menacing Valkyrie.