Our New Time Traveller

 

The humble Moggy Minor is one of those cars that has risen above its mundane everyday beginnings. Today the Morris Minor has to be one of the most enjoyable bargains to be had in the world of classic car hire. The Moggy is all about smiles for your miles.
 

 


We love our fleet of Morris Minor convertible hire cars but there is something quite different about the Morris Traveller. We've been running a Morris Minor Traveller on our hire fleet in the Cotswolds for several years, so it made obvious sense to add one to our busy site in Yorkshire too. Now we have.
 
 

The latest addition to the Great Escape Classic Car Hire fleet is a late model Morris Minor Traveller 1000 finished in burgundy with an olive green leather interior. The car is available to hire by the day or weekend.
We call our Moggy Travellers the Time Travellers because they immediately transport you back to a bygone age when stuff just happened more slowly. Which was no bad thing. The Morris Minor Traveller will never win any drag races but it will take you out of the hussle and bustle of daily life to an era when things were perhaps a little simpler. There's no power steering, no ABS, no air con, no satnav. Just a wheel, an indicator stalk and a couple of switches for lights and wipers. That's it.
The new Morris Minor Traveller to hire in Yorkshire has been altered slightly from original with a 1.3 litre engine, 5 speed gearbox and thick leather seats. But in all other respects it looks and drives exactly like a Morris Minor Traveller should.



If you grew up with Moggy Minors or have just grown to love them, try one. we guarantee it's the most fun you can have for £150.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has the largest fleet of Morris Minors to hire in the UK, including three convertibles and two Travellers.  The cars are available to hire at our sites in Devon, Yorkshire and Cotswolds.  Prices start at £95 for 24 hrs.  To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.

Get By With a Little Help

 
At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we've tried to keep the cost of hiring an old car fair and reasonable. We haven't increased our prices since 2009, when the recession began to bite, and we've introduced new, cheaper cars for hire. Our hire prices now start at just £95 for 24 hrs use.
Yet we realise that the economy is still struggling and the cost of living is going up. So we came up with a plan to help our customers. It's simple and called Buy Now, Pay Later.
Our Buy Now, Pay Later service lets you confirm your booking without having to pay the full cost of the hire. We just ask for 25% of the hire cost to confirm the booking - the balance of 75% is then due either 6 weeks before the hire or you can choose to spread the balance into two payments at 6 weeks and 2 weeks.


There is no cost for this service and you still get the same terms and conditions and the same hire package. It just makes paying for it a little easier.
"The cost of living is on the rise and everyone is having to tighten their belts," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "Our Buy Now, Pay Later scheme is designed to help spread the cost of buying classic car hire as a gift or for a wedding or a holiday.
"We offer this facility to every customer and we remind them when the balance is due, so that they can plan ahead."
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has the largest fleet of classic cars to rent in the UK. Prices start at £95 for 24 hrs hire and you can rent from 11 UK locations. To find out more call 01527 893733 or email info@greatescapecars.co.uk. or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk

A very British day out


Ice and snow are not, strictly speaking, the best conditions in which to exercise two of Britain's fastest home grown sports coupes. But sometimes needs must. When Jaguar World magazine called us to request the Great Escape Classic Car Hire Aston Martin DB7 and Jaguar XKR for a photoshoot around the Heritage Motor Museum we had to agree. And then it snowed.
Here is the story of our day out with 800 bhp of rear wheel drive supercars. For the full story watch out for Jaguar World, on the news stands from 8th March 2013.


I am fortunate enough to drive the Jaguar XKR on a regular basis - we often use it to test driving routes and as a lead car for our corporate events. The late 90s XK model is often overlooked by car fans, who consider them complicated and therefore expensive to own. Consequently they are superb value for money - £9,000 gets you a good supercharged XKR, or pay less for a naturally aspirated model.  The sting in the tail, for all the doubters, is that there is no sting in the tail - like any car, if you buy well they are trouble free. I really like the XKR because it does exactly what you expect, and more - it is a big, supremely comfortable grand tourer that looks good and goes like stink. For a relaxing weekend away, what more can you ask?
So my trip down to Gaydon was the usual XKR pleasure. Once there I met up with the team.  Despite hiring the Aston DB7 out for nearly a year, this was actually my first chance to see it up close.  The car is based in Northamptonshire and hired out as part of our Owner Operated Network - classic car owners who want to earn money from their cars.



The Aston Martin DB7 shape never fails to impress. It is a simply gorgeous looking car. In metallic ice blue it looks particularly good, the shape seeming to favour lighter colours. The Vantage spec of the Great Escape car means a 6 litre V12 plus a slightly more butch body style, which to my mind improves the car.
As most classic car enthusiasts know, the Aston started life as a Jaguar before, by various circuitous means, becoming an Aston. It has a lot in common with the XK - not only is it the car the XK was meant to be but the underpinnings are largely the same, namely XJS. As the XJS was essentially a shortened Jaguar XJ, the chassis of both cars can be traced back to 1968. Oo-err, you may say. But the reason the basics stayed the same for so long is because they were so good.  The Aston and Jaguar both ride superbly, offering a handling/ride compromise that few cars in this category can challenge. The Jaguar is overall the softer experience, with lighter steering too (clearly betraying its transatlantic market targeting), while the Aston is firmer and more direct. The Aston is definitely much more of an occasion car, every mile feeling memorable, while the Jaguar is more about effortless long distance cruising - both have their merits, which you prefer is inevitably a personal thing.
I had a great time on my Aston versus Jaguar day - great cars, great company and even the weather behaved. You can put either car to the test by hiring them from Great Escape Classic Car Hire.  But be sure to watch out for the Jaguar World feature - both cars will be on the cover from 8th March.  For more details on Jaguar World visit their website http://www.jaguar-world.com  For more information about the Aston Martin DB7 to hire or the Jaguar XKR visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733 or email graham@greatescapecars.co.uk. Prices start at £229 for 24 hrs - mention this article to claim 10% off.





How to sell a classic car


When you choose to buy a classic car it should be one of the most exciting purchases you make (well, if you like classic cars it should be).  A few months ago I posted some advice based on our experience of buying classic cars. Selling a classic car is an entirely different experience, here's our advice from the other side of the fence.  At Great Escape Classic Car Hire we aren't a trade dealer, but we have probably bought and sold more cars than most people in the process of runing our classic car hire business.
If you have owned and sold a few classic cars then you'll know that the selling experience is often akin to removing your own finger nails. It's horrible. It rarely goes smoothly. Potential buyers would distrust you only marginally less if you dressed in a sheepskin coat and gold chains and dragged a pitbull around. But there are ways to make it go much more smoothly and ensure you get a better price, with less risk of hassle months or even years down the line. Here's our guide.

1. Be Honest

You are legally obliged to describe the car you are selling accurately to the best of your knowledge. If you say it has a MOT it should have, similarly regarding service history and condition.  You aren't obliged to provide a forensic description of the car but what you do say should be honest and accurate. If you are selling the car 'sold as seen' it is up to the buyer to check the car's condition and satisfy themselves that it represents a fair price for its condition. Take care when selling the car on Ebay - as you are auctioning the car potentially unseen by the buyer you must make sure that what you say is accurate and complete. The buyer may not always agree with you but if you do you're covered in the event of a dispute when the car is collected.

2. Take care when advertising the car



The internet has totally changed how cars are bought and sold.  Websites like Car and Classic, Classic Cars for Sale and Ebay are now the main route for selling a classic car. When you place your car consider your advertisement very carefully - you are in competition with all of the other similar cars that buyers can easily and quickly access. Your advert is part of a sales proces - you want to convert interest into action, namely getting the phone to ring. This seems simple but it is surprising how few sellers bear this in mind when advertising their cars. The nature and quality of the photographs you show and the content you write are the only details a potential buyer has to go on before deciding whether to call you or pass onto the next car. Take good photographs in a pleasant location.  Wash the car and valet it before you photograph it. Photograph the service history and include it in the advert. Structure your words clearly - avoid unsubstantiated phrases like 'it's a great car' unless you explain exactly why it is. Clearly list the positive aspects of the car and the negative ones, thereby justifying the price you want. If you know these cars well or if you cherish them, make that clear - you are as important to selling your car as the car itself.  Buyers are more likely to buy from a seller who appears honest and appears to love and cherish their car. The more information you provide, the more calls you will get; they will also be better quality. A comprehensive advert may take time to write but it will save you lots of time in the long run and support the price you want. Since the vast majority of classic car sales adverts are very poor and do not conform to these guidelines your advert will easily stand out if you follow this advice.

3. Manage & Control Your Buyers


Selling a car can disrupt your daily life. Buyers will expect to see the car at the drop of a hat. They will travel miles to see it. You will spend considerable time preparing the car for the viewing and meeting the seller. Before arranging a viewing be careful to vet the buyer. Obviously you don't want to filter out genuine buyer - vetting is not about that, it is about focussing on the genuine buyers. Make sure they understand exactly what you are selling in terms of its condition - is this what they are looking for? Find out how serious they are about buying the car you're selling - is it the colour, model, condition and specification they want? How do they sound on the phone - are they open and friendly or closed and suspicious? When you discuss the car on the phone or by email don't oversell it - be honest and accurate and let the buyer do the running. That way you cannot be accused of misleading them.

4. Buyer & Seller Beware



If you've described your car accurately then it is up to the buyer to check it over and be sure it is what they want. They should assess the car and identify any issues or problems that you either haven't mentioned or aren't aware of.  You aren't legally obliged to list all of the car's faults but it is counter productive not to present the car fairly - omissions will probably bite you when the car is inspected (and therefore undermine your price) or further down the line. There will always be a reason why you are selling the car and the buyer will always ask you what it is - often this will be because you've spent so much money on it that you're sick of it.  You may not express it in those words but you may say it has cost you more than you expected - this is not necessarily a bad thing. Canny buyers know to buy cars that someone else has spent money on. If the buyer is not equipped to assess the car properly then it is up to them to bring someone along who is.  You aren't obliged to provide a test drive or a ramp, but both will be beneficial to you if you have nothing to hide. When the buyer inspects the car answer their questions honestly and comprehensively but avoid waffling and gushing. Give the buyer space to check the car without you hovering over them.

5. EBay Pitfalls



Selling a car on Ebay can be either fantastically easy or terribly fraught. It rarely seems to fall inbetween. Ebay auction winners will arrive to collect the car acting as if they are inspecting it for purchase. Unless the car was seriously poorly described they are contracted to buy it but very few buyers consciously acknowledge this. The solution is to clearly and obviously encourage buyers to view before they bid - if they don't then legally they have to accept the consequences if your advert was accurate. If an Ebay buyer tries to negotiate when they collect the car, walk away.

6. Get a signed agreement



Buying a classic car is a risky business. However rigorous your buyer's purchase checks are they don't really know what they've got until they've lived with it for a while. Buyers will discover issues with the car that you either never noticed or were only vaguely aware of. Things that you were prepared to put up with and therefore maybe not even bother mentioning they will notice immediately after buying it. Don't be surprised if your buyer calls, emails or writes accusing you of misleading them - you won't be the first person to experience this, or the last. To avoid potential comeback you must create a simple deed of sale to which both parties agree. This document doesn't have to be complicated - just include the names of the parties involved, the date of sale, the sale price and the words 'sold as seen with no warranty offered or implied.' If the buyer does contact you after the sale you may feel a moral obligation to assist them, but it is unlikely there will be a legal one.

7. Consider a public auction


If you don't like the idea of selling your car privately then an auction, such as those run by H&H, is an excellent alternative. This article is not a sales pitch for auctions but I now only sell my cars this way, in order to avoid the problems described above. You may not achieve quite the price you would get privately - although often the price will be very close or more - but the process is considerably simpler and much quicker. If you want a simple, easy sale with no comeback and a guaranteed sale date, auction it. A fairly priced and accurately described car will generally sell at auction - we have a 100% success rate. I can recommend H&H who make the process very easy and even offer a collection service for your car.

I hope this advice is useful. Most of my classic car sales have been smooth and largely pleasant. One or two haven't. I generally opt to auction any cars I sell now because it is impersonal and straightforward - in return for those benefits I accept that I have less control over the ultimate sale price. That may not work for everyone.

Of course, if buying, owning and selling cars feels like too much hassle and too much cost, at Great Escape we can offer a wide range of classic cars to hire.... Visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or cal 01527 893733. If you are selling a car feel free to email me on graham@greatescapecars.co.uk to ask any questions.




Vroom vroom goes the groom


Imagine arriving at your wedding in a cool classic car then whisking your new wife away in it to the reception. With Great Escape Classic Car Hire you can do just that - we can put you behind the wheel of a huge range of classic cars, whether you're looking for something cool and retro or modern and brutal.


We have the widest range of classic cars to hire in the UK and we back it up with a range of flexible services and packages that are designed to make hiring one of our cars for your wedding simple, inexpensive and easy. We have 11 UK locations - including 3 main sites in Devon, Cotswolds and Yorkshire - with a choice of 80 classic cars to hire. The range includes everything from Jaguar E Types to Jensen Interceptors and modern Aston Martins.
Prices start at just £170 for 1.5 days hire. Our wedding hire packages mean you can collect on the day before the wedding, get used to the car, and then return it on the day after, without paying the full cost of a 48 hr hire. We also offer a delivery and collection service local to each site and you can even add a second driver for just £25, who may be able to collect and return the car for you.



To find out more about our range of self drive groom cars click here or call 01527 893733.
"More and more couples are choosing self drive cars for their wedding day," explains Graham Eason of Great Escape. "It is cheaper and more flexible than chauffeur hire and avoids the problems with changing licencing legislation.
"Our range of groom cars has something for every budget. If you can't drive your dream car on your wedding day, when can you?"
For more information about Great Escape Classic Car Hire visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733

Nothing says love like four wheels


Forget flowers and perfume, what any red blooded male actually wants for Valentine's Day are the keys to a cool car. With Great Escape Classic Car Hire's special Romantic Getaway Day you can give the gift that gives back - because he gets to drive and you get to sit back and enjoy a great day out too.
Our unique Valentine's Day Romantic Getaway Day is available from either our Yorkshire or Cotswolds sites and costs just £125. For that you get the choice of a MGB, Alfa Romeo Spider, Morris Minor or VW Beetle for a day, a 100 mile touring route and our recommendations for lunch. Insurance for 2 drivers and unlimited mileage are included - you just pay for the fuel (and lunch).  The package is sold as a voucher that is valid for 12 months - just wait for the warmer weather and choose a date.





The Romantic Getaway package represent a significant saving on the normal price of hiring one of these cars. The cars are located on the edge of some stunning scenery - the Yorkshire Dales are just minutes from our Harrogate site and our Worcestershire site is on the edge of the glorious Cotswolds.
You can book the unique Romantic Getaway Day from Great Escape's online Gift Shop or call 01527 893733. We despatch all gift packs within 48 hrs.
For more details on Great Escape, our locations and our classic hire cars visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.


TFI Friday indeed


It's Friday, it's snowing, we've had too much coffee.  So here goes - for today only we're giving away one voucher to drive any of our three Jensen Interceptors for just £175. That's 30% off the normal price.
This deal is only available to readers of our blog and our Twitter followers.  To follow us on Twitter click here.
You get the same great hire package, despite this silly low price - 24 hrs use, 200 miles allowance per day and comprehensive insurance.  We also provide full UK breakdown cover at no cost to you.  The voucher is valid for 12 months - just wait for the good weather and choose a date.  It can also be redeemed against any of our Jensens.

  



Great Escape Classic Car Hire has a choice of three Jensen Interceptors to hire in the UK from its sites in Devon, Cotswolds and Yorkshire.  The cars are all blue Mk3 cars with the 7.2 litre Chrysler V8 engine.  To find out more visit our Jensen hire pages.

The ones that got away. Thankfully


A few weeks ago I posted a story about our customers' favourite hire cars of 2012. And I promised a follow up on the worst classic cars I've owned over the last 7 years of hiring them out.  So here it is. Warning - there are more dogs than Battersea Dogs Home.
By 'worst classic car' I really mean bad cars I've experienced. Other examples of the same car might be brillliant, but I remain to be convinced. I've called them worst because in many cases they're not bad - some of them I even still like, in the same way you might still have a vestige of affection for a dog that has bitten you several times, chewed your arm off, that sort of thing.  I apologise in advance to the respective owners clubs but this is what these cars were like for me.

1. Porsche 928

It would be remiss of me not to put my motoring nemesis at the top of this list. Here's the Porsche 928 I bought for £5k and promptly spent close to twice that keeping it mobile. In 12 months. Let it be said that there is no such thing as a cheap Porsche - labour rates at specialists are £90 an hour, parts are mind-numbingly expensive and they do go wrong. Forget bulletproof build quality, they certainly feel like they're hewn from stone but when they go wrong, they go really wrong. In my case it was the torque tube, electrical problems and brakes. I'm not even sure that I enjoyed driving it that much - it's too wide, too heavy and it's a difficult car to bond with. But it looks amazing and I do look at the photo above, even now, with a misty eye. Tears of pain, obviously.

2. Rover SD1 Vitesse


Doesn't it look good. The Ferrari Daytona for the bank manager in a hurry. I've always loved the Rover SD1 ever since I went to school in one back in the day. As I took in the Connolly leather seats and walnut dashboard, I thought I was in automotive heaven. Plus it had rear headrests - imagine! The Vitesse version has always struck me as one of the handful of cars that will become classics of the 80s, so it made sense to look at buying one for the fleet. The car I found was excellent in every way, except that it could never overcome the fundamental shoddiness of the original fixtures and fittings. The Rover Vitesse looks brilliant, to my mind, it sounds brilliant too. The trouble is it doesn't drive anywhere near as well. And when you are driving it you're forced into the driving position from hell facing a dashboard that would have been rejected by MFI. Nothing, and I mean nothing, fits properly inside a Rover SD1. I liked looking at the Rover and if I could afford to have it as a static object I'd still have it. But as a car it was a staggering disappointment.

3. VW Golf GTI


This is nothing but utter heresy. Don't tell me, I already know. But I just don't get the VW Golf GTI. I bought this car as an unfinished project - an early mistake - and spent the next two or three years getting it back into a fit state. That included a full rewire, engine rebuild and lots of bodywork. The finished article was virtually a new car. But when I drove it I was completely disappointed, and this is a car I've always wanted to own. The main problem was that it just felt far too clinical. The Golf did everything it should do, it was quick, went round corners well, steered nicely, stopped eventually and made a decent noise. But it just didn't warm me. So within a couple of months of finishing it I sold it and got a 205 GTI, which did all of those things but with a healthy dollop of verve on top.

So there you go, my classic car lowlights. Happy to take questions from the floor or be shot down. Sadly you can't hire any of these cars any more from Great Escape but we do have 80 other classic cars on the fleet for hire. Visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733. 










Good things come in fours...



To be frank, we just love cars. And we can't stop developing our hire fleet with ones we love. So to kick off the new year we've already added four new classic cars to our hire fleets at our sites in Shropshire, Devon and Northamptonshire.
The new additions are mainly aimed at providing wedding couples with more choice when it comes to selecting their self drive wedding cars. Proposed Government legislation that is due to come into place in November 2013 will mean that chauffeur driven wedding cars have to comply with taxi regulations. This is expected to force many chauffeur driven cars out of the market and push wedding couples towards self drive hire.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has added two Daimler saloons to its fleet, a VW Beetle convertible and another Jensen Interceptor. The Daimlers are classic and 'modern classic' versions suitable for weddings while the VW Beetle is finished in white and is perfect as a wedding car as it can seat up to four people. We have always found Jensens popular for weddings too as groom cars, and we expect our new car in Devon to follow the popularity of our Jensens in Yorkshire and the Midlands.
To find out more about each car click on the links. Price start at just £169 for 24 hours hire. We also offer bespoke wedding hire packages including a 1.5 day hire service, delivery and collection and the option to add a second driver for just £25.
To find out more about our new cars call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk View external link

Be cool in Devon


Somehow certain cars just follow you around.  That's how it is with me and Jensen Interceptors. I have, despite my best intentions, ended up with the largest Jensen hire fleet in the world.  Sure, there isn't a lot of competition in that arena, but even still, how did it happen?
The latest additions to our classic car hire fleet include another Jensen Interceptor and a VW Beetle convertible, both now located at our new and growing site in Devon. So you can get cool in the summer breeze or float around in a cool 70s haze in the Jensen, it's your choice.
I started Great Escape with two cars, one of them being a Jensen.  In fact, Jensens got me into it in the first place because hiring the car was the perfect excuse to buy it.  Over the last 7 years I've grown to appeciate what a great car they are and the fleet we have has covered 10s of thousands of miles, mostly without incident. Which belies the stories you hear about these cars.  It is true that Jensens were badly designed and badly built, but the problems can be easily fixed.  In any event, over 35 years after youngest left the factory, most of the issues relate to poor repairs and maintenance rather than emanating from the factory.  The Jensen is one of those cars that if you're a certain age you have to drive and it is perfect for cruising around the coast and countryside of Devon and Cornwall, the V8's burbling exhausts bouncing off the dry stone walls.


The VW is an entirely different character.  Seemingly hewen rather than assembled the drop top Bug oozes a sense of solidity and stability that is a far cry from the rather fragile Morris Minor.  There are few classic four seater convertibles but the VW is one of them, making the Beetle perfect for a getaway with friends and family.  The Great Escape Classic Car Hire Volkswagen Beetle to hire in Devon is also finished in white, making it ideal as a self drive wedding car.
The new cars join our existing fleet of four classic cars that are available to hire from our new site just off the M5 junction 29 near Exeter Airport.  Prices start at just £150 for 24 hours hire and include insurance, breakdown cover and in most cases unlimited mileage too.  Great Escape can also provide advice on places to see and stay as well as good driving routes.  To find out more visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.

Last Few Driving Day places now available



Demand for the Great Escape Classic Car Hire 2013 classic car driving days has been intense. We are running 5 events this year from our Yorkshire and Cotswolds sites.  Each day gives you the chance to drive at least 5 different classic cars over a superb 100 mile route. There are just a few places left – we want to fill them quickly so that we can get stuck into the new season.  So we’re offering the last few places at just £199 each. That’s less than £40 per car and includes fuel, insurance and lunch.
Because we have the largest fleet of classic cars to hire in the UK, our rallies give you the widest choice of cars to drive, including E Types, Mk2, Jensen, MGs, Triumphs and Alfas.  You can even tell us what you want to drive and we’ll do our best to include it.


Our driving days are very popular and have received rave reviews from customers and journalists.  Click here to read some of our testimonials.
You can bring along a non-driving partner or friend for just £99.  They’ll get the chance to experience these magnificent cars plus lunch.
If you would like to join one of our rallies please hurry – places are limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone.  We don’t add extra places.  For more details call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.

There's more to Aston Martin than James Bond


So Aston Martin is 100 this year. The many who imagined the Newport Pagnell firm only came to life with James Bond, may be surprised to discover that the company has such a long heritage.  I'll admit, I was.
Besides James Bond this may also be because Aston Martin has been through quite a lot of owners during that 100 years. At times it was difficult to work out whether it was still going.  But one thing has remained the same - the company has always been a low volume manufacturer of bespoke, hand-built cars for discerning buyers.  An Aston is a distinctly British purchase that  is about more than just an international man of mystery with a four letter name.  Here's my potted Aston history and my model highlights.
The centenary of Aston Martin finds the company in pretty rude health.  Sure, sales were down last year but finally back in independent hands and with a new slug of capital behind it, Aston Martin remains relevant and competitive in its rarefied marketplace.
Along the way to 100 years Aston, like many low volume car manufacturers, has had some significant highs and some similarly low lows.  After near half its lifetime Aston really started to come into its own, offering the world a succession of gorgeous grand tourers that started with the DB1.  This followed the acquisition of the company in 1947 by David Brown (hence DB).  Mr Brown was a successful tractor and transmission manufacturer and had the vision and resources to build Aston into a brand that appealed to the newly post-war rich. The company progressively improved and changed its basic design, culminating in the gorgeous DB4, DB5 and DB6, all of which wore increasingly evocative bodywork over basically the same engine, transmission and chassis.  By the mid-1960s, thanks in part to patronage from James Bond and The Beatles, Aston Martins were the car to be seen in, the pinnacle of British motoring.


Undoubtedly the DBs 4-6 were and are gorgeous cars. Nothing on the UK high street had quite the glamour of an Aston, which is true as much today as then.  But it would be a little remiss to describe them as great all-round cars. Astons are cars that look great and drive quite well, they've never aspired to be the last word in driving sophistication. But what a DB misses in ultimate driver feedback it more than makes up for in terms of kerb appeal.
After the prolonged honeymoon of the 1960s there was a sort of prolonged wobble.  David Brown sold out in 1972, ushering in an era of non-DB badged cars with a different flavour - the fastback V8 cars of the 1970s.  These cars were popular but not quite so rarefied as the earlier cars.  Which is a shame really because in the V8 Aston finally offered a car that was as sophisticated in its engineering as it was attractive.  Aston endlessly fiddled with the William Towns design, but in its purest and original DBS 6 cylinder form it was a genuinely game-changing design with lots of clever detailing.


Throughout the 1970s however that focus on design tended to slide somewhat.  Aston struggled and with no money for new cars had to make do with making over its existing ones.  At one extreme this included the astonishing Lagonda four door saloon, which was essentially a four door V8.  At the other extreme Aston resorted to Mustang-like bonnet cowls to beef up the V8 coupe.
In the 1980s, under new owner Victor Gauntlett, Aston went a little off the rails.  Inevitably money was tight so the company fiddled around the margins, updating, if that's the word, the V8 with spoilers and body kits that were very LA, and offering its expertise to Ford and Austin Rover with Tickford versions of bog standard cars.  There was even a short-lived plan to buy MG and makeover the MGB.
By the late 80s Aston was furrowing an increasingly narrow rut and had replaced the V8 with the ungainly Virage.  But there were glimmers of sunshine on the horizon.  Gauntlett had renewed the association between Bond and Aston and had set in motion plans to build the DB7.  All of which laid the groundwork for the introduction of Ford and the rejuvenation of the Aston Martin name.


The relaunch of Aston really dates back to the DB7 which was launched in 1993.  Although essentially a Jaguar XJS in fancy designer clothing, the DB7 nonetheless looked so good that it couldn't really be ignored. Ford investment resulted in a closer alignment with Jaguar and platform sharing.  The arrival of the DB9 and the V8 Vantage secured Aston's future.


The company once again changed hands in 2007 with the arrival of David Richards, formerly of Prodrive.  Ford still provides a lot of the engineering for Astons including its engines, which are built in Cologne.
It would be easy albeit churlish to argue that Aston has traded on perhaps 15 good years from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s when it produced the DB4, 5 and 6.  That and the Bond association of course. There is probably some truth in that. But like Jaguar, who have arguably done something similar until recent years, eventually even the most illustrious history has to be re-written. The DBs, like contemporary Jensens, were high performance trucks with pretty basic engineering clothed in luscious bodywork. Modern Astons are far removed from that - they have stayed true to the heritage of the brand but moved the game on to suit a modern audience.  A modern Aston can easily compete on a level playing field with a Porsche yet is more distinctive and rarefied.
Aston may not be quite out of the woods after 100 years but it has the makings of doing so. Few car brands are so desirable and whether you drive a DB6 or a DB9, nothing quite says 'I've arrived' as subtly as an Aston.  Here's to the next 100.
Great Escape Classic Car Hire has the largest fleet of classic and modern Aston Martins to hire in the UK.  Prices start at £299 for 24 hours and can be hired from several UK locations.  To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk. Mention this article and we'll take 10% off the total hire price.




A wedding car for the bride in a hurry


Your wedding day will probably be the busiest of your life. Which makes the latest addition to the Great Escape Classic Car Hire fleet rather handy. If needed it can whisk bride and father to be to church about as fast as any car can, thanks to a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds and top speed of over 150 mph.  But of course, only if it's needed.
Our new Daimler is really about more sedate pursuits, about luxury and relaxation on your way to the church or registry office. It may have a supercharged engine but its main task is creating a calming and cossetting environment for bride and father of the bride.  Because this car is a limousine in the true sense of the word.  The extended wheelbase means you can stretch out in the back in the individual heated leather seats while the driver whisks you along in virtual silence.


The latest addition to the Great Escape Classic Car Hire fleet is a Daimler Super V8 finished in dark blue metallic with an oatmeal leather interior.  The car is available to hire for weddings on a self drive basis only - we no longer offer a chauffeur option due to the proposed changes to legislation covering chauffeur driven cars.
The self drive option is proving very popular with couples because it is cheaper and more flexible than chauffeur driven hire.  Great Escape also offers various extra services for wedding couples to help them easily fit self drive hire into their busy wedding day plans.  These services include a special 1.5 day hire package, whereby they can collect the car on the day before the hire and return it on the day after without having to pay the full 48 hr price, and a delivery and collection service.  Couples can also add a second driver to the package for £25 who can delivery or collect the car on their behalf.



The new Daimler Super V8 limousine can be hired from Great Escape's Northamptonshire site and can be combined with any of our groom cars to create a complete wedding package.
To find out more about the new Daimler Super V8 for self drive wedding car hire call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.