Between writing this and it being published, I should have won the Euromillions. Or at the least the regular Saturday Lotto. Hopefully both. £77.2m all in, which would be nice. And one of the first things I’d do is reserve of the 10 Brabus Rockets. Because, quite frankly, I think they’re awesome.
Some of that is the widebody, some of it is the wheels and some of it is about 900hp. But mostly I like the Rocket because it’s based on the four-door AMG GT 63, and that’s a car I already love. With a measly 640hp. As a concept it makes precious little sense - way heavier than the two-door it’s tenuously linked to, only a little better to drive than an E63, much less luxurious than a S-Class - and yet I absolutely adore the GT63. ‘Four-door sports car’ is a lazy cliché, but it’s the easiest way to convey the experience: stupendously fast, endlessly exciting, completely enthralling. Maybe the GT tag is actually deserved.
Whether it is or not, this particular ’63 S looks great. Obviously there aren’t many to choose from, but this spec really, really appeals. Sorry. All black everything (bar the window surrounds, oddly) with flashes of yellow brake caliper plays perfectly to the AMG’s mean, moody demeanour. £110k is a useful saving off the new price, too. And a heck of a lot less than a Brabus…
I quite fancy a Discovery 4. There. I’ve said it. Yes, I know the idea is fraught with peril. No, I haven’t taken leave of my senses. What I have done is driven one a lot. I’ve driven it on road and off. Years ago one saved me from finding a ditch with many, many close friends aboard when we encountered ice on return journey from the pub. When Jaguar launched the F-Pace, I put the car in a ditch in Finland. A Disco 4 was there to pull us out.
Not long after that we went through the drawn out process of saying goodbye to the Defender. Land Rover had gone into full-on PR overload about the departure; so much so that it was almost a surprise they didn’t have Ralf Speth shoot a burning arrow onto the last one as it rolled off the production line. Of course every employee you spoke to about it was quietly respectful in a my-mother-in-law has died kind of way. But slip in a question about the Discovery 4 being replaced and they lit up like a Christmas tree. Everyone had an anecdote. Everyone knew it was irreplaceable.
In fact its successor is very pleasant and much more sophisticated. But the Discovery 4 was precisely as sophisticated as it needed to be. The hybrid platform was brilliant at doing rugged, ill-advised things near trees. It was vast and practical and good to look at. And it drove down the M40 like a great purring cloud. I loved every minute I spent in one - and no, the experience of borrowing manicured press cars is not nearly the same as ownership. But still, the itch is there.
This car would satisfy it nicely. It goes without saying that buying one young and lightly used is sensible; this Landmark model is from four years ago and has covered 53k, which is a trifling number for the motorway munching Disco. Its in black so it looks the part and obviously it comes with all the kit and old fashioned switchgear you can eat. No, I would not bet my life on it being no trouble. But I can’t think of a lovelier way to carry seven mates for under £30k.
Barring ultra-exclusive stuff like Gordon Murray’s T.50, big engine cars with manual gearboxes are virtually extinct these days. The only three-pedal V8 car on sale in Britain is the Ford Mustang, and I can’t think of a single, sub-£2.5m new car that mixes a manual lever with 12 cylinders. You might think this would mean that anything with a dozen cylinders and three pedals would be easily overvalued on the used market, but it seems DB7s so equipped are still pretty attainable. Like the 2002 car I’ve picked here, which is up for £27k.
You’re certainly getting a lot of engine for your money, with the 5.9-litre under the DB7’s bonnet driving through Aston’s old six-speed manual. The naturally aspirated motor has 420hp at 6,000rpm and a peak of 400lb ft only 1,000rpm before that, so it begs to be revved. And while the transmission isn’t a click-clack metal gate jobbie, having full control of an atmospheric twelve ought to provide plenty on the visceral scale, especially if you’re the sort to attempt the DB7 V12’s listed 5.1 second 0-62mph time.
I’ve picked this particular car firstly because it looks to be in great condition, but also because it has a few upgrades, including GT brakes. No doubt those must prove handy when that big lump of metal under the bonnet means this is a 1.86-tonne car. I’m also a big fan of understated cars with lots of muscle, and a silver DB7 is elegance personified. Those looks have aged remarkably well, haven’t they? Probably because they were still inspiring Aston designs until very recently. Either way it's a fresh-faced and affordable way to revisit a bygone era.
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