A selection of Aston Martin models will be featured at the Concours of Elegance 2019, to be held 6-8th September at the Hampton Court Palace in London. These include the track-focused 1932 Le Mans Lightweight ‘LM9’ to the 1985 V8 Vantage that formed the template for the X-Pack Vantages.
Now almost 90 years old, the 1932 Aston Martin Le Mans Lightweight ‘LM9’ was created to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours race that year, in conjunction with its sister car ‘LM10’. ‘LM9’ was fitted with a number of ‘Electron’ parts, a magnesium and aluminium alloy, to help reduce weight over previous Aston Martin racers, and had a pointed tail and low radiator design to help with aerodynamics.
The 1.5-litre car’s first outing was at Le Mans, during 1932 but it didn’t prove successful. The driver pairing of Peacock and Buzzant were forced to retire from the race when a rocker arm broke, was replaced by mechanics, but then the whole rocker bracket failed on the next lap. But its story doesn’t end there; ‘LM9’ returned to Le Mans the following year with the driver pairing of Driscoll and Penn Hughes, with more success. In fact, ‘LM9’ finished the Le Mans 24 Hours fifth overall, first in class and 2nd in the Rudge Cup; an early weighting system that compared a car’s finishing position with its engine size.
At the more modern end of the Aston Martin line-up, Concours of Elegance will be displaying a V8 Vantage model with history. The car on display at the 2019 Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance is the genesis of the X-Pack V8 Vantage models, of which 131 were built. Finished in Kensington Silver, this V8 Vantage started life as a ‘standard’ car, but was later returned to Aston Martin Works so they could begin developing a new, more powerful and better handling version to best the Ferrari 288 GTO and Lamborghini Countach QV 5000. As a result, it got new high compression Cosworth pistons, a larger intake manifold, new Weber carburettors, redesigned cylinder heads and more.
No line up of Aston Martins would be complete without key ‘DB’ models; and Concours of Elegance will start with one of the earliest, the DB2/4 Mark II Saloon. Produced as a more practical four-seater version of the DB2, this example was purchased new in June 1956 from Brooklands of Bond Street by the Count Charles de Salis who, together with Cpt Gregor MacGregor entered the followings month’s International Alpine Rally — renowned as being one of the most gruelling motor events of its period. The pair came second in class and won a much coveted ‘Coupe des Alpes’.
The Aston Martins in the main Concours display will be joined by a Zagato feature as part of Zagato’s Centenary celebrations. Concours of Elegance will gather one of every Aston Martin Zagato variant ever manufactured in celebration of Zagato’s Centenary. From the 1960 DB4 GT Zagato, right through to the Vanquish Zagato Coupe, Volante, Speedster and Shooting Brake, visitors will be able to browse 19 examples of Zagato-bodied Aston Martins.
Andrew Evans, Concours of Elegance Director, said: “For fans of the Aston Martin brand, Concours of Elegance 2019 is an absolutely unmissable event. Not only do we have a number of the most significant Astons ever produced in our main line-up, but we’ve also got a world-first Aston Martin Zagato display gathering one-offs and rarities that will come together only once in a lifetime. Add to that an official presence from Aston Martin itself, alongside car club displays from the Aston Martin Owners Club, and visitors will have nearly a hundred Aston Martins to admire over the course of the 6th-8th September.”