On an Emirates flight to Europe this week, I for once eschewed the in-flight films and music to watch some car-related content. I’d read about For the Love of Cars, but never seen it, and Emirates currently has the entire Series Two on offer. It’s presented by Philip Glenister, better known as the politically incorrect Detective Gene Hunt from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, and Ant Anstead, a world-renowned car-restoration specialist.
The premise of this series is that the two enthusiasts have chosen a list of iconic British and European cars to restore back to their former glories, and all but one are projects that failed due to their owners running out of time, inspiration or money. One had even died before getting his car back on the road. The cars are then rebuilt and eventually sold at auction, with the proceeds going to the respective owners or their families. It’s proper feel-good television – well presented, brilliantly produced and even a bit nerve-racking, when you see just how bad these cars are when they’re being stripped.
But it was a show featuring an Aston Martin DBS that really had my attention. This car was unusual in that it was the only one not owned by somebody else – Anstead found one languishing in a barn and bought it. The ensuing restoration, which had to be completed within 10 weeks, was absolutely remarkable.
The quality of work put in by Anstead and his team is beyond doubt, but it was the decision-making processes between the two presenters that really caught my interest. The DBS, which was built after the DB6 between 1967 and 1972, is Glenister’s favourite car, the actor having fallen for it when it featured in The Persuaders and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and just 787 were built. Each was unique, having been formed from hand-beaten aluminium, and Aston Martin historians are rightly protective of what they see as bona fide classic cars.
So they were expected to restore the car to its original specification, but the presenters had other ideas. Their car was an automatic with a 4.2L straight-six engine and, when they tested another example, they were left wanting more oomph. That extra poke was available from the Vantage spec car, which was fitted with a manual transmission and Weber carburettors, transforming it into an engaging and exciting machine. So they decided to source a new transmission and make the necessary adjustments to the cylinder head.
That isn’t uncommon and doesn’t necessarily affect the value of classic cars adversely. But the choice of colours for the exterior and interior of any car can make or break it in the eyes of collectors. Their car had been bright red but they decided to repaint it olive green, which was the colour of the Bond DBS in OHMSS. But Anstead wanted to be braver for the upholstery than going back to the original black hide, instead opting for oxblood-red leather with matching carpets.
The contrast was extraordinary and showed me how important it is to coordinate and contrast our cars’ colour schemes when we’re ordering them new. The gamble paid off and when the Aston went under the hammer it sold for Â£169,800 (Dh885,000), setting a new world record.
It was able to fetch such a sum because, apart from the restoration, the contrast between the green and the red had bidders transfixed. Sometimes it pays to be bold and, if you’re brave but tasteful, the choices you make while ticking the options lists at a dealership can add thousands to the value of your car.
Source: art & life