Not so long ago I found myself in an absurd situation when a man from Aston Martin handed me a cup of coffee and said, ‘Would you like to spec your car now, sir?’ If I wasn’t already sitting down, I would’ve fallen down.
Even now, I can’t quite believe it. I nearly bankrupted myself buying my Clio V6, so I’d never be in the market for a car that costs £96,995 basic. However, Aston offered, and who could refuse?
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Traditionally, Aston Martin does not offer press demonstrators over a long period. Doing so is risky – the car will be under constant scrutiny, it’ll be driven within an inch of its life and any failings (or failures) will bereported. And to compound matters, the car they offered evo is a V8 Vantage Roadster without the optional sport pack. A boulevardier rather than a barnstormer, then. ‘Just try it,’ they said confidently, ‘you’ll besurprised.’
Of course, I didn’t need asking twice. Which is why you can see me above, sat in a quiet room at Gaydon with Aston’s Matt Clarke, speccing the car. The experience was thoroughly enjoyable – real kid-in-a-sweetshop stuff – but I must’ve frustrated my host as I deliberated over almost every combination of paint, trim and roof colour. Saying that, Matt didn’t bat an eyelid after I changed my mind for the millionth time. ‘Imagine if you had your wife and kids here,’ he said, ‘that’s when it gets difficult. Everyone has an opinion.’ Apparently it’s not unusual for a couple to arrive at Aston to spec one car and depart having specced two – one for each. ‘Often that’s the only way to avoid marital discontent.’ Not bad business either.
So, which boxes did I tick? (Deep breath…) Sports seats, 20-spoke alloy wheels with diamond-turned and graphite finish, front parking sensors, clear rear lamps, N400 sill design, wind deflector, Magnum Silver mesh pack, alarm and tracker, Piano Black wood facia, cruise control, Bluetooth, sat-nav (yes, an option!), battery conditioner, auto dimming mirror and a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 1000W audio system. That last item costs a scary £4750, so it’ll really need to impress to be worthy of recommendation. The total cost came to £107,899.
And the paint, trim and roof combination? To those online users who haven't seen the car in the mag yet, all will be revealed soon…