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.





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