Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Aston Martin Competition Model: a closer look.

The #309 Aston Martin in Competition model guise has always been one of my favourites. I never had one as a child, or even an 'ordinary' Aston Martin DB4 #218. The early Aston was just a year or two before my days as a collector but I ought to have had one of the later ones. It came out in Aoril 1962 and, a year after the Bentley Continental, being just the third car to get jewelled headlamps, a similar update to the Mini Cooper #227 that came along a month or so later and using the simple addition to revive a casting like they had for the Fiat 1800.

I have now had three examples, being keen to get this when I restarted a year or so ago! One was immaculate and had its original box and was my first ever sale, interestingly to someone who had a real DB4 and had initially just wanted one of my silver resprays. I have two left and a query from someone on Ebay just made me look a little closer at them. The casting is pretty poor! Flaws everywhere that are nothing like as bad on the 218 models.

The rear end has all sorts of issues, with a more pronounced horizontal line on the lower edge of the boot, where the blue meets white. The rear lights are quite different in dimensions, one having a larger blob than the other. Difficult to see in pictures, there are also curious marks beneath the paint that must be flaws in the cast but could be mistaken for a poor repaint in places. They really are not the latter but the close-ups can be worrying as I am looking for a price of three figures! In contrast the #218 is much smoother and generally tidier at the back.

A side view shows more issues, most obviously the gap between the wing and door frame and some ugly blobs around the door frame itself. Below is the other example I have which has poor decals and a few marks on the paintwork but has a better casting.

The door frame is much nicer and the gap between the door and wing is less obvious but there are still flaws.

The rear of this one still shows the different size tail light sections but seems to have a slightly better and less uneven finish.

For all that, I still love these cars. The switch to free spinning wheels was perhaps the big advantage: you could actually steer these around bends! The 218s all had fixed wheels. There are hints in the catalogues of these cars getting the same spoked wheels as the James Bond version or the Buick but I have never seen one and really have my doubts as to whether any, other than the odd factory sample, ever made it to the shops. They were clearly shown in the 1965 catalogue but these were drawings, of course!

In the Mercedes illustration they even highlight them and they're not 'Available soon' but simply displayed there for all to see, priced and, seemingly, in the shops. I wonder.

I am very tempted to make one, using an old Bond car for the donor wheels.

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