As far as Aston Martin aficionados go, Barry Weir is up there with the best of them. An avid collector of the brand, Barry also achieved his record-setter status in one of its cars, piloting his 1954 DB2/4 around the world in just 80 days. The Aston Martin Jet 2+2, however, is probably his greatest motoring accomplishment.
Originally conceived as a one-off concept, the shooting brake made it from back-of-a-napkin sketch to Geneva show car, and could have gone further still. Having been commissioned by Weir following a rebutted attempt to purchase the similarly-styled Vanquish-based Jet 2, the car was custom-made by Bertone, with approval from Gaydon, in order to mark Aston Martin's centenary year and six decades of collaboration between the British manufacturer and Italian coachbuilder.
It made use of the same 477hp 5.9-litre V12 found beneath the bonnet of the standard Rapide, as well as the remainder of that car's mechanical components. Nonetheless, despite widespread retention of OEM parts, designer Adrian Griffiths described the car as being only "about 70 per cent Rapide" - which goes to show how much work went into the rest of it.
Both hand-shaped aluminium and carbon fibre panels were used to construct the unique rear end, a design which necessitated that the back to be lifted slightly to prevent it from sitting too low. Within the wood, aluminium and leather-trimmed 2+2 cabin are four individual seats and, while only the rear passengers benefit from the Jet's increased headroom, every occupant benefitted from the airy feeling created by a panoramic glass roof, made using electrochromic panels that can be darkened to block out the sun.
When not in use, the two rear seats can be folded flat and covered by a sliding parcel shelf to create a capacious luggage space, accessed via the rear tailgate. What's more, at 1,990kg the finished product weighs roughly the same as the standard Rapide from which it was crafted, meaning that a 5.3-second 0-62 time and 200mph top speed remain within the realms of possibility.
You may have noticed, though, that the car itself is not alone in the advert pictures. That's because, having discovered the original clay model, moulds and tooling used to build the car in an Italian auction house, Barry was able to reunite each element of the Jet 2+2 once more.
Following its warm reception at Geneva, rumours abound that Aston and Bertone were to put the project into a limited-production run. Unfortunately, the market had other ideas, and Bertone went bust before the idea could be realised. Not only were no more Jet 2+2s made, but Barry's car would be the final machine ever created by the legendary Italian firm.
Now though, one lucky buyer has a chance to put that right. Not only is the only example of this exclusive car up for grabs, but so are all the tools needed to build another. And another. And another. Speaking of the sale, Barry said: "Now we have the moulds, the clay model, the number plate and the finished car, I'm minded to sell the complete package and the buyer can choose what they wish to do with it.
"They could reproduce the car with the moulds and model or, alternatively, have it as a one-off production car which is registered as Aston Martin Jet 2 [the DVLA's system couldn't cope with '+2'] which is a new model. Part of me would love to see it reproduced but another part likes the idea that it remains a unique one-off as part of automobile and Aston Martin history." Whichever option the eventual buyer decides to go with, it's safe to say that there are no bad choices from where we're sitting.
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