Seriously? At a classic car sale? The enthusiasts will be demonstrating against the proposed construction of a Tesco chain supermarket on the site of the old Aston factory there, which they regard as an historically significant site. Aston Martin Lagonda Limited moved its manufacturing facilities to Gaydon in nearby Warwickshire and stopped assembling new Astons at Newport Pagnell when the last Vanquish rolled off the line there in July 2007. Since then, the site has remained home to the Works Service that maintains and restores old Astons and Lagondas, but prestigious as it is, there's only so much space a classics garage needs. Some 2,000 letters of protest against the construction of the supermarket have been sent to date, but the most enthusiastic among the outraged are set to gather at the site this weekend and put on a little show for some of the company's best customers in the hope that the site may be preserved with more dignity than the frozen food section that's planned instead. For more information on what's in store for this year's auction, follow the jump to the full press release.
[Sources: Aston Martin and Octane] PRESS RELEASE
Aston Martin Works Service to host annual Bonhams Auction
6th May Gaydon, 2009 – On Saturday 9th May 2009, Aston Martin Works Service will once again host Bonhams' annual Auction of Aston Martin motor cars and related automobilia. Bonhams is one of the world's leading automotive auction specialists, and 2009 marks the tenth anniversary of this hugely successful and highly popular sale.
Aston Martin Works Service at Newport Pagnell is a unique facility with a remarkable automotive heritage, specialising in all post-war Aston Martins and Lagondas. With over four decades of experience working on every model of Aston Martin, Works Service is more than just a workshop; it is a place where skilled craftsmanship, technology and specialist knowledge come together to ensure Aston Martin's historic legacy is enjoyed by future generations.
Taking place within the atmospheric surroundings of the Newport Pagnell workshops, this year's auction is a testament to the enduring strength of Aston Martin's brand, the strong performance of the classic car market and the company's belief in maintaining a unique relationship with owners and enthusiasts.
Since 2000, when the first auction was held, nearly £19m worth of historic Aston Martins have been sold by Bonhams, together with a treasure trove of historical documents, parts, and other automotive ephemera. At the 2007 sale a Works Service-restored 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Volante achieved a price of £430,500, while in 2008, a 1961 DB4 GT Coupé, one of the most iconic and highly sought after Aston Martins ever made, was sold for £1,079,500.
As Kingsley Riding-Felce, Aston Martin's Director of Works Service and Parts Operations, explains, the sale is now a central part of the international automotive calendar. "Year on year it has been more and more successful," says Kingsley, "I think it does so well because people feel like they're coming to the heritage home of Aston Martin – Works Service is a unique automotive setting and the perfect environment to host the Bonhams Auction."
The 2009 sale features a record number of lots exceeding 200 sure to attract international interest. Highlights include more than 40 cars, featuring a stunning selection of Aston Martin's road and race cars from Feltham-era DB cars, through to a 2004 DB7 Zagato; one of 99 produced. There are a number of key cars in the sale, including a 1962 DB4 convertible, formerly in the collection of film director Bruce Robinson, and a rare Lagonda Rapide Sports Saloon. Other lots comprise a unique selection of automobilia including – for the first time – an exceptional quantity of historic material from the archives of Lionel Martin, who co-founded Aston Martin with Robert Bamford in 1914.
Works Service retains a pivotal role within the modern Aston Martin. More than 50 highly-skilled Works Service staff provide exceptional levels of expertise, through four key departments: servicing, accident repair, special vehicles and heritage and restoration.
"Our ethos here is to provide a truly personal service – one where owners of old and new Aston Martins feel they can just call and talk about their cars," says Kingsley. "It is a one-to-one relationship that has always been central to the way the service department has been run from the days of our founders; it has inspired great customer loyalty."
The detailed histories and solid provenances of many of the cars featured in Bonhams' sale highlight the ongoing role Works Service plays in maintaining Aston Martin's heritage. "Aston Martins allow owners to enjoy the ownership experience, regardless of difficult times and over a sustained period of time can provide value on an investment," adds Kingsley.
Works Service exists to maintain and preserve these pleasures. Proud to provide a uniquely personal service for Aston Martin owners in nearly 30 countries around the world, upwards of 2,500 cars are seen in the workshop each year, and the number is rising. The decade-long collaboration with Bonhams will once again bring Aston Martin's exceptional heritage into focus.
The Bonhams Auction at Aston Martin Works Service starts at 9am on Saturday 9th May.