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I read with interest the letter in Issue 15 penned by Tony Skipper. Like Tony, I too have questioned the omission of the Cygnet from your listings of ‘All The Road Cars’ at the rear of the magazine.
I find the Cygnet an intriguing model, and one which ought to be celebrated as a proactive step taken in the face of impending legislation to promote lower average emissions across a manufacturer’s range. As a small independent, Aston did not have the luxury of making a multimillion-dollar investment in a sub-brand, as Mercedes did with Smart. Nor was it able to shelter under a wider group umbrella in the same way that Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari have.
The modern way of downsizing engines and turbocharging would surely have been less palatable to the purist? Surely better to take an already excellent product, sprinkle some fairydust on it and include it in the range.
I think the lack of acceptance of the Cygnet is more a reflection of attitudes towards cars as a status symbol than it is to do with the actual product. As I use a Smart Brabus for my daily churn about town, perhaps I have already addressed my insecurities, but it certainly keeps the pointless and mundane miles off my weekend drive. (Which I am ashamed to say in this context is a 911 Turbo… but I am working on my first Aston Martin!)
So go on, give it the place it deserves on the list and celebrate its albeit-brief existence. I am certain the mix of controversy and scarcity will see it hold its own as a future classic. I only wish I had bought one a few years ago; it would complement my planned investment in a ‘proper’ Aston quite nicely.
Excellent magazine, by the way – except for the odd omission, of course. Greg Davison
The owner’s view
In response to your question, should the Cygnet be listed, I believe it should. Aston Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Vantage Magazine, Dennis Publishing, Bedford Technology Park, Thurleigh, Bedford, MK44 2YA lists the Cygnet on its own website and in its model history literature. If and when they can find one, the dealerships offer them for sale on their Aston Martin Pre-owned pages. I just checked; currently they have none for sale.
There is no hiding the fact that much of the car underneath is retained from the donor Toyota iq, including the powertrain and running gear. However, the Cygnet retains only one of the iq body panels, the roof. Aston very cleverly scaled down and incorporated many of its current design features when it rebodied the Cygnet, while inside it is every inch an Aston Martin – not a whiff of iq here.
If you need one to play with, mine is available – it currently shares the garage with my Bamford Rose-tuned DB9 (featured in issue 5). But limited miles please. Its value has risen considerably over the last year, and as it’s currently low-mileage I intend to keep it that way!
Leave it out!
All those associated with the brand understand why the editorial team at Vantage choose not to list the re-branding exercise of a Toyota iq as an Aston Martin model worthy of mention in this publication. The Cygnet was not engineered by Aston Martin, nor did Aston Martin make any mechanical alterations to the Toyota iqs that were used. Only cosmetic changes were made to fulfil this crime against the marque.
As an employee of Aston Martin’s parent company at the time, I can tell you that the Cygnet caused great concern for the brand’s direction and, in my view, signalled the beginning of the end of Dr Bez’s reign.
There was no notable revenue generated. The few hundred that were made were all built for the dealers who then consistently sold them for a notable discount. Attempts were regularly made to include Cygnets in sales of a DBS if a customer paid the full list price. From what I can see, the Cygnet had no positive effect for the brand, fiscal or otherwise.
How would Tony Skipper suggest Vantage road-test such a basic mode of transport? A trip to the shops? A fuel economy test?
There are far greater small cars in this world to champion. Leave the Cygnet where it belongs… out of sight and out of mind. Name and address withheld
Cygnet v DB7
The Cygnet is a glaring omission from your list of ‘all the road cars’. This car was sold and marketed as an Aston Martin, through Aston Martin dealers. Is it really that much less a ‘real’ Aston than the first, mainly Jaguar, DB7 was? As you can gather, plenty of strong views on the Cygnet, the majority in favour of it being included in our model listings. And so, from this issue, it is. First Brexit, then Trump, and now this. Happy Christmas everyone! – Ed. WINTER 2016