23/09/2011 The Bespoke Driving Suit from Henry Poole
Aston Martin’s stylish stylist, Marek Reichman, had a new set of threads for this year’s Goodwood Revival. Not for him grandad’s old ARP uniform, no, it was to Savile Row he looked for the ultimate, tweed-based ‘Driving Suit’.
And he was to take his sartorial inspiration from another Aston-driving man, collector and racer Nick Cussons (who has owned or raced some of the best David Brown-era Astons including the DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’).
In the manner of Sir Winston Churchill and his famous ‘Siren Suit’, Cussons had ordered a hand-made suit of practical purpose, designed to his (very) particular requirements.
The pockets contained leather dividers for spark plugs, a tyre-pressure gauge and spanners. Even the oh-so-necessary - in those days - ‘oily rag’ had its own compartment. The latest version also has this leather element, carrying the famous Aston Martin wings and lasered outlines of the contents of the small pockets, in the manner of tools on a garage wall.
In his day, Cussons had cheerfully eschewed fireproof fabric for his suit, as “...we wanted to be able to have drinks after the race, so we used good worsted, where the wool would simply singe if it caught fire”. Although Reichman chose FIA-spec Nomex for his drive in the Earl of March Trophy (behind the wheel of his own 1951 Emeryson-JAP), he could be seen in the paddock proudly wearing the newly commissioned suit in its light, Porter & Harding Prince of Wales check tweed.
The leather in the pocket-linings, by the way, is the same as used by Aston in the V12 Vantage Zagato, Reichman’s latest design project.