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VANTAGE - - Bulletin Letters -

Smart think­ing

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 eds@van­

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

Right Should we in­clude the Cygnet in our model list­ings, we asked. Here we print a small se­lec­tion of the re­sponses

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