The 2010 Midsummer Classic: Blue Skies, Bond and ‘Bassey’
Over 400 guests enjoyed the first Midsummer Classic – a mix of top-level, daytime concours d’elegance and an evening ‘Thunderball’.
James Bond was the theme, and not only was the Silver Birch DB5 there (and I do mean the very car which first appeared in Goldfinger, to be auctioned by RM in October) but the organisers also had Sean Connery, Oddjob and Jaws lookalikes to make the event that much more Bond-tastic.
The programme, staged by CTR Events in partnership Aston Martin Lagonda who provided a selection of its latest models including the extraordinary One-77, started at midday.
Passing through the sparkling V12 Vantage/DBS Volante/Rapide line-up outside Stoke Park – the golf club made famous in celluloid by the game between 007 and Auric Goldfinger – guests were welcomed with a glass of Louis Roederer champagne, then ushered through the impressive display by grand horologists Jaeger-LeCoultre to the rear lawn and a stunning display of concours entries.
The cars – all Aston Martin or Lagonda – were divided into four classes. True Greats was for pre-1958 entries, La Dolce Vita for six-cylinder Newport Pagnell cars, Kings of the Road for eight-cylinder Newport Pagnell machines and, finally, the most modern class was, appropriately, State of the Art.
Under the careful guidance of the Chief Adjudicator (Richard Williams, who else?), the judging panel (Jeremy Hackett, founder of the eponymous clothing chain; TV chef James Martin; factory Aston Martin Le Mans driver, Harald Primat; Louisa Skipper of Motor Sport; England Rugby star Will Greenwood; Aston Martin’s Commercial Director Michael van de Sand) had the tough job of picking out class winners and an overall ‘Best in Show’.
It proved to be a difficult decision as the blazing sunshine made the highly polished Astons ‘dazzle’ in every sense of the word. Jeremy Hackett, seen above judging Guy Dudding’s blue Lagonda Rapide, took proceedings particularly seriously, and he and his fellow judges decided that David Eyles' 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato '2 VEV' should be the overall winner.
In a closely contested finish, the class winners were as follows:
True Greats: 1930 Aston Martin International Fixed-head Coupe (Keith Piper)
La Dolce Vita: 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’ (David Eyles)
Kings of the Road: 1987 Aston Martin V8 Volante (Nicholas Hewitt)
State of the Art: 2007 Aston Martin Vanquish S (Gleb Stepanov)
In addition to the concours entries, there was a special Bond-themed display and a rare appearance of the multi-million-dollar ‘Goldfinger car’, 007’s original set of wheels which is set to break records at Battersea Park this October. RM representatives Max Girardo, Don Rose and Annette Abaci were on hand to show the car’s working features off to the guests, ably assisted by the surprisingly realistic-looking ‘Sean Connery’, ‘Oddjob’ and ‘Jaws’.
Aston Martin Racing had brought along the '007' Le Mans car, fresh from its finish in France only a few days ago. And Adrian Gosden was showing the Aston Martin DB5 in which he and co-driver Andrew Honychurch will be tackling this year’s Peking-Paris Rally. Brave chaps – our www.classicdriver.com stickers will help ward off evil spirits along the way.
In the evening, the two Bond baddies were gainfully employed as ‘security’ as the immaculately attired guests arrived for the ‘Thunderball’. When Oddjob’s metal detector ‘struck gold’, the hapless innocent was sent for further interrogation by Jaws. All excellent fun, and part of an action-packed day that was enjoyed by all.
‘Sean Connery’ was Master of Ceremonies at the Bond-themed dinner, while the 17-piece orchestra entertained guests with various film score renditions before Shirley Bassey-lookalike Maxine Barrie came onto the stage singing Diamonds are Forever. As featured charity for the event, the Help for Heroes organisation benefited from a successful auction hosted by Sholto Gilbertson of Bonhams.
For a first event, the Midsummer Classic was a great success – we’d recommend booking your ticket for 2011.
Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver/David Wright
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