OWNER Andrew English
‘I’m not In love, so don’t forget it,’ sang 10cc, in their eponymous 1975 number-one single; and I was beginning to feel the same way about Gobbo, my Aston Martin DB5.
I’d almost decided to sell the old girl and had squared my conscience with the idea of parting with the ‘family heirloom’, as my wife puts it on the good days. But then I saw the new Bond No Time To Die trailer, which is book-ended by his Silver Birch DB5 roaring and sliding, battered but unbowed and firing its chain guns (yes, forget those Brownings). It’s the sort of film that makes you wonder whether you really want to relinquish one of the loveliest things you’ve ever owned.
She’s been in my hands for many years now, though the Aston Martin Owners’ Club people still call her ‘Bob Fairburn’s Old Car’ or ‘Gobbo’. I bought her just as the tumbling masonry of the get-rich-quick ’80s was falling around our ears and DB5s were still rare, but available. I heard Gobbo before I bought her, twice. First, as Fairburn gunned her engine as he headed up to Glasgow after taking a class win at the AMOC Wiscombe hillclimb.
Second, when a friend raced Gobbo past my house on open exhausts, the rev-counter yowling past 6000rpm. I lifted my head and entered the fantasy world that the impoverished Aston Martin owner must keep one foot in.
In the meantime she’s been raced and hillclimbed but always as a standard car. She’s done countless high days and holidays and school proms, and had money poured into her slightly faster than you can pour it out of a two-gallon can. Two engine and complete drivetrain rebuilds, countless suspension and brake refurbs, and paint – oh, the paint that car has had in my tenure.
Best event was undoubtedly the 1400m Mont Ventoux hillclimb in southern France, where we were gate-crashers on part-entry fees and were asked by the organisers to slow down as we were upsetting owners with potentially far faster cars. Another best day was when my daughter took the wheel.
They’re all best days in an Aston but I have to admit that, while the costs have risen, my income hasn’t. Writing about cars never really did stretch to running a classic Aston, but these days it’s quite impossible; rates haven’t risen for over a decade. Gobbo really should go to someone with the wherewithal to keep her in the manner to which she’s become accustomed.
Trouble is, as soon as you announce that such an unmolested prize – she’s never been totally apart – is for sale, you are descended on by an army of the most deluded Walter Mittys. ‘Just put a bloody advert in the paper: it’s simple,’ said Talacrest’s John Collins a few years ago, when I interviewed him about selling a Ferrari GTO. According to my friend Andrew Mitchell of body shop and restoration specialist Mitchell Motors in Wiltshire, however, now is not a good time to offer Gobbo up for sale. ‘If things pick up, try the Spring.’
Good advice – but if you’re interested, get in touch anyway. To use that time-worn phrase: please, no time-wasters…