AMHT’s 19th birthday party

The Aston Martin Heritage Trust (AMHT) was founded in 1998, which means it was time for a party.
Located in what is known as ‘the barn’ in Drayton St Leonard (Oxfordshire) is the Aston Martin Museum and the trust’s archive. For some time I have wanted to go there, but due to the fact the museum was only open during weekdays I hadn’t had the chance yet. This was the perfect opportunity to go.

I don’t know why, but I expected the museum to be larger. This is perhaps because the photos I see give the idea it’s a spacious place, but it actually is not. It is also very full. There are seven cars (for argument’s sake: let’s call the clay model and cutout cars too) in there, taking up most of the space.
In addition there is a very large number of memoribilia: from car models to games, from trophies to furniture. Upstairs is the archive with a wealth of information. And it’s all about Aston Martin.
So yes, this is probably what heaven would look like to me.


The A3 is the oldest Aston Martin in the world and one of only five prototypes created by Bamford & Martin.
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On the trust’s birthday they unveiled a new exhibit: the Vanquish Volante which was driven by Daniel Ricciardo in the YouTube video with a caravan race (yes, really). It was a test car and it sounds like it has been through a lot (filled with water?). Nevertheless, it is a beautiful car and a lovely piece of unique history the AMHT has now added to their collection.

They do have more cars, but they are elsewhere. Some are in storage, some are at Aston Martin’s headquarters at Gaydon. I do hope AMHT will find bigger premises to move to so we can see more on display.


Aston Martin Vanquish Volante – the new exhibit
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Of course several visitors arrived in their own Aston Martins, adding even more fun to a pretty good party. There is a lot to take in due to the sheer volume and even after spending two hours there I know I haven’t seen everything. It was a joy to finally see the collection which is currently on display and I will certainly make an effort to go back at some point.

AMOC Spring Concours 2017

In 2016 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. told the world that they would open a new site which would become the factory for the DBX. The location was an old MOD site at St Athan, Wales.
In early 2017 the site is still mostly empty so the Aston Martin Owners Club took the opportunity to host their Spring Concours there. Let’s see: AMOC (very good at hosting ‘parties’), AML (very good at being at the right place at the right time) and AMHT (very good at displaying the best of Aston’s history) together at one location. Yes, that’s a must see.
So off to Wales we went.

AMOC hosts a Concours twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn. If, like me, you don’t know what that is: the club’s members bring their cars and these cars are judged. In short: there’s prizes up for grabs in several categories. One thing is for certain, you can expect the best examples to be there.
In this case reportedly around 700 Aston Martins were present. Considering several halls were in use, each of them huge, I believe that number to be accurate.


One of the halls was only beginning to fill up when this photo was taken. The entire hall is twice this big.
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The Aston Martin Heritage Trust was also there with, among others, a DBS display to celebrate this model has now been around for 50 years.
As if that wasn’t enough, there were several very special cars to be seen. There was the unveiling of the Red Arrows Edition Aston Martin Vanquish S, while previous special editions were on display nearby.


Red Arrows Edition Aston Martin Vanquish S
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I was very happy to see the Valkyrie. Even though I had already seen her in Geneva, I thought it was very good that people who may not have had the opportunity (or the wish!) to go to Geneva now had a chance to see her to. She got a lot of attention, which is not surprising. This car is something else.

My personal highlight was definitely the CC100. This car was created for the company’s centenary celebrations. Only two were made, so chances are very slim indeed to ever see this one anywhere other than in a magazine. But there it was.
An added bonus is that one of the designers involved in that project was at the Concours. It is a very welcome extra being able to talk to him for a while and get his perspective on the project and the car.


Aston Martin CC100
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And the list doesn’t end there: DBR1, Lola Aston Martin, One-77 and the Vulcan. All present and set up in such a way that everyone had a chance to have a good look. There were several Lagondas and I even spotted two Cygnets.
There was so much to see that after 4.5 hours I had to give up. Not only did I have quite a drive back home, but the sheer number of cars was a bit overwhelming. However, that drive (several hours) was very much worth it.

Just think: that very same evening they probably had to clear everything out, because the next day construction on the factory started. The Concours will very likely never be held here again.
It was an epic and unique event.