Posts Tagged ‘top dead centre’

Like a brilliant and complex sunset, 2011 is slipping under the horizon. The end of another year provides time for reflection, for speculation on what the future may hold, and a re-commitment to not put off all those important things for another year. 2011 was kind of a crazy year what with all the local and global turmoil, the deposing of dictators, the ending of old wars and the starting of new ones.

2011 was a significant year for the automobile as well. It saw the untimely death of several beloved racing drivers, the birth of the new all-conquering BMW M5 and Lamborghini Aventador, one of the most exciting Formula1 seasons in recent memory, the rise of the American car companies as legitimate contenders, and the emergence of EVs as a legitimate path for the future of the car, to name just a few. 2011 was also a big year for Top Dead Center. Starting with a humble Genesis in February, the past few months running TDC has allowed me to do some great things like interview Travis Pastrana and lap Monticello Motor Club, meet fantastic new people and ride in my first Ferrari, develop my writing talents and have a perfectly legitimate excuse to be a card-carrying gearhead.

I wanted to take this time to not only pay tribute to the greatness that was 2011, but to take a look at all the exciting things coming down the road in 2012. Next month alone TDC will showcase an interview with a dirtbiking child prodigy, a feature on an amazing racing team with a focus on children’s charities, a photo extravaganza from the New England International Auto Show, and where in New Hampshire to crack the throttle wide open on your snowmobile. 2012 will also see TDC host an epic car show in conjunction with Guardian Angel Motorsports and New England Blast, and exciting new content from guest contributors.

For me personally, creating TDC has been a tremendously rewarding and challenging experience. Finding the personal discipline to write consistent content that is (hopefully) interesting and fun to read has been far more difficult than I originally thought, but seeing the consistent rise of visits to the site inspires me to dust off the keypad each week and put thoughts into words. It’s also surprisingly more meaningful than I had hoped to have people read your work, comment and post on it, and share it with others. It’s been an incredible experience and I want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has helped me, whether it was providing story ideas, helping edit pieces, or smacking me upside the head when I made a mistake (which I need. Often.) Although it’s far from perfect and has a lot of growing to do, I am proud of what this site is, and is becoming. I certainly hope you’ll continue to visit here and not only support local journalism, but continue to fuel the dreams that propel you to your optimum combustion.

Here’s to another fantastic year!

- The D

Few manufacturers can create a product or brand that defines absolutely the category or marketplace they compete in. When it does happen, even if you’ve never used the product or brand before, understanding of what it is and what it means is ubiquitous. When someone says, “That couch is the Cadillac of couches,” you know that couch is probably damn good. Or when you hear, “It’s a Dusie,” your mind flashes to the behemoth Deusenbergs of yore and the supreme luxury they represent. And with this week’s ‘Car in the Wild’, simply uttering the name ‘Aston Martin’ conveys the very essence of cool, luxury, and class. And this, the DBS, Aston Martin’s flagship car, is the rolling epitome of the brand’s DNA.

To the untrained eye (heck, to even the trained eye sometimes), the DBS looks basically the same as another Aston Martin, the DB9. And while the cars are very similar in nearly every way, the DBS is the harder, faster version of the DB9. Aston Martin essentially sent the DB9 to the gym, put a muscle shirt on it, had it grow a chinstrap beard, and unleashed it into the world. How’d they do? Well, a certain Mr. James Bond drove one in the last two 007 movies, so not too shabby methinks. With these changes, the philosophy of the two cars has grown apart as well. While the DB9 is focused on being a long distance grand tourer with sporting pretensions, the DBS is first and foremost a supercar with undertones of grand touring. The distinction between the DB9 and the DBS continues with minor but distinct cosmetic differences: two small hood scoops, a deeper chin spoiler, larger wheels, and carbon ceramic brakes among others. The result is a tremendously capable and powerful GT car that looks the business from every angle. Mr. Bond’s vehicle of choice packs a 6-liter V12 that pumps out 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, enough to dispense the run to 60 mph in a shade over four seconds, all the while cosseting the driver in the lap of distinctly British luxury.

Back to the styling for a moment. Some people criticize Aston Martin for essentially making the same car with four different badges and a look at their product portfolio seems to support this claim. The cars, the Vantage, DB9, Virage, and DBS, do look almost identical. Even the four door Aston, the Rapide, looks like the same car. However, delve deeper into each car and you’ll find substantial differences that separate them from each other. At the “bottom” of  the food chain is the V8 Vantage, also known as the “baby Aston.” Since its introduction in 2005, there have been a number of exciting Vantage variants including the V12 Vantage, the N400, and the Vantage S that help make it not-so-bottom-of-the-foodchain. Check out Fifth Gear’s review of the epic V12 Vantage HERE.

The newest member of the Aston Martin family is the Virage. It, uhh, looks exactly like the DB9 and the DBS, doesn’t it? Except for minor visual cues, it looks like the same car. There is method to the madness here, however. Aston created the Virage to fill the power, price, and function gap between the DB9 and the DBS . The DB9 is the “soft” grand tourer, the Virage turns the heat up a little from there, and the DBS  wears the family crown. It can all be a little confusing, but one auto magazine explained Aston’s family tree by saying the three cars were “theme and variations” on the same DNA. Again, cue Fifth GearHERE.

Bottom line, the DBS is one of the coolest cars on the road from one of the world’s most storied marquees. Money being no object, there would be a DBS just like the one pictured in the TDC Dream Garage. And a martini, shaken, not stirred.