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Driving a wedge into your Aston Martin preconceptions.

Chris Haining July 2, 2017 Cars You Should Know, Goodwood 4 Comments

It’s most appropriate that the badge of this car’s maker provides instructions on how best to gawp at it. However, Ogle Design has put its name to far more than this flamboyantly angular creation. David Ogle’s design consultancy has shaped many facets of daily life, and also provided Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder in a galaxy far, far away.

For a while, it designed and built cars, too. Various models for Reliant, including the imitation cheese Bond Bug, the Turkish Otosan Anadol, and its own Mini-based SX100. It also built two examples of the machine in these pictures, known as the ‘Sotheby Special”.

Students of Newport Pagnell may recognise the wheels, which betray that there’s an Aston Martin DBS V8 lurking beneath all the geometry. Actually completed after David Ogle’s death, the design was finalized and the car built under the supervision of Tom Karen – another stellar name from the who’s who of carchitecture. The ‘Sotheby Special’ name comes from its sponsor, who commissioned the car as a tool to promote its brand of posh cigarette.

The running gear is all Aston, but the bodywork is mostly fibreglass. Two road cars were finished, of which this is the second. The first, which is in a dilapidated though basically intact state, used perspex for the whole of its glasshouse. This car, though, used Triplex ‘sundym’ glass, distinctively printed with lines to reduce glare.

A truly no-holds barred design, the rear panel possibly its most notable aspect, made from stainless steel with cutouts for its 22 circular tail lamps. Fascinatingly, the brake lights illuminate sequentially depending on the severity of braking force – a novel idea but pretty redundant, a car is either braking or not braking. Surely just having brake lights is sufficient?

No, scratch that. Sequential brake lights are awesome.

The Sotheby was also the first Aston Martin to have pop-up headlamps, the pneumatically raised units necessary to allow such a low bonnet line. Though its determinedly pointy silhouette is about as 1970s as is physically possible, the proportions are terrific, with hints of Italian concept cars from Bertone and Giugiaro. And with the Tadek Marek V8 under the bonnet, it’s unlikely to disappoint its driver, either.

(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017)