The Aston Martin Rapide | Part Five


Aston Martin has always acknowledged the need for elegant, high-speed touring sports cars. The four-door, four-seater saloon displayed at the 1927 Olympia Motor Show began a long tradition of cars that combined elegance, style and power with usability. The Olympia car was a closed-body tourer that sported long, flowing lines for the era, tapering to a luggage trunk and mounted on a tubular frame. The car was also low to the ground, purposeful and sporting. Four years later another four-door saloon was exhibited, with an aluminium-panelled body by Bertelli, finely engineered, detailed and upholstered throughout, with intriguing touches like the roof-mounted opening glass panel above the rear passenger compartment.

Experimentation and innovation continued. The 'Atom' project began in 1939 as a response to materials shortages, packaging design and post-war needs. A four-door saloon, the Atom was built around a steel tube chassis, upon which the bodywork was mounted. The strictly geometrical bodywork drew upon the new science of streamlining, and the car was smaller and lighter than what had gone before, with an innovative chassis design that ensured the company retained its image as a technical ground-breaker. In the decades following the war, the David Brown-era cars created the quintessential image of the grand tourer, two-door fourseaters that remain icons of car design. Beneath the supremely elegant skins there were yet more technological firsts, like the strong chassis-and-tube 'Superleggera' construction of the early DB series. In the 1970s and 80s, Aston Martin was uniquely positioned to accommodate almost any customer request, and four-door variants of the V8 and Virage models were built for a select number of discerning customers.

The Journey

Every journey in an Aston Martin is an occasion, proving that the most enjoyable way of getting between two points isn't always a straight line. The Vanquish S, DB9 Coupé, DB9 Volante and Vantage are all designed to sharpen the senses, extracting every grain of texture from the road surface, with high levels of driver feedback and involvement. Yet when conditions preclude making progress or spirited driving, an Aston Martin adopts a relaxing, restrained character, with the massive reserves of torque and power combining with the uniquely cosseting interior to envelop the driver and their passengers in the Aston Martin experience.

continues... | Part Six
Published 11 January 2006 Melanie Carter

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