The Good Oil: When Victor was victorious with Aston Martin
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It’s fitting that Aston Martin has revealed its one-off Victor concept car at the same time as the DBX SUV is rolling out to its first owners. Because the DBX looks like it could save the company in these troubled times; but the namesake of the Victor saved the company in another troubled time.
Victor Gauntlett was a dapper English gent and former RAF pilot who bought a 10 per cent stake in Aston Martin in 1980 – at a time when the company was considering shutting down production of new cars to focus on service and restoration.
Shareholdings and partnerships came and went (it was very complicated), but by 1988 Gauntlett owned 25 per cent and the company launched the Virage, the first properly all-new Aston in two decades.
Getting Aston back together with the James Bond franchise was a key marketing move and Gauntlett negotiated the return with The Living Daylights (1987), even loaning his personal pre-production Vantage Volante for filming.
The next big move was raising funds for the new “baby Aston”, the DB7. Ford had taken a shareholding in 1987, but took complete control of the company in 1991. Gauntlett handed over chairmanship to then-Ford boss Walter Hayes.
Victor Gauntlett passed away in 2003; Ford sold Aston again in 2007.
This weekend some lucky Brits will be enjoying “the world’s most extreme staycation hotspot”, in a tent suspended 75 metres above The O2 in London.
The Renegade Motel is part of a promotion around the new Jeep Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid. Stays are just one night – but that looks like plenty, thanks. The Motel is a hanging tent system called a portaledge, which is attached to one of the yellow pylons of The O2.
Guests have to climb up, but once inside they’ll be able to watch the sun set and rise over the iconic skyline of Canary Wharf.
The experience includes dinner (at The O2 rather than in the tent) and a 24-hour concierge (handy for when you wake up screaming), as well as a number of features powered by the Renegade 4xe’s electrical system: wi-fi and Amazon Alexa connectivity.
A rain cover and very warm sleeping bags are provided while guests enjoy the beautiful British climate.