Brian Greenstone

BrianGreenstone.com

brian@briangreenstone.com

ASTON MARTIN


HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR ME

Prior to 2009 if you had asked me if I ever wanted to own an exotic sports car / supercar I would have laughed and said "No way!" I had absolutely no interest in those things beyond the fact that they were pretty to look at, but owning one was nothing that appealed to me since I just didn't see the point. I thought they were all pretty obnoxious and flashy, and I didn't see the point of owning a car that could go 200mph when the highway speed limit was 70. I've owned plenty of sports cars in my life, but they were all pretty common, boring cars: 1979 Camero RS, 1986 Firebird, 1992 Mitsubishi 3000, and a Lexus SC430. All quite affordable, and nothing over the top. I had recently sold my SC430 because I decided that owning two cars was a waste of money, and since I needed my SUV it was time to ditch the sports car. I needed another car like a hole in the head.

But then a seemingly small event occured in my life that was one of those watershed moments that ended up having a huge influence on me. I was to meet a guy for a business meeting at a restaurant for lunch. He drives up in this incredibly cool looking green car that was catching everbody's eye, but I had no idea what it was. So, when lunch was over and we're walking back to our cars I asked "So, what is that thing anyways? A Maserati?" He responds, "Aston Martin DB9". I was surprised by that and said something like "They're still in business?" I hadn't heard anyone utter the words "Aston Martin" in ages. I just figured it was another bankrupt British car company who's only claim to fame was that James Bond drove one. So, he gives me the 3 minute tour of the car.

Green Aston Martin DB9

The car I saw at lunch looked just like this one

The car really struck a chord with me because it was stunningly beautiful without being obnoxious. It actually looked classy, and I figured "hey, I could probably drive one of these around town without looking like a total jerk." It was a few weeks before I got around to doing any further research, but once I Googled it that was it. They say knowledge is power, but knowlege can also lead to addiction, and I was totally hooked on the car and had to have one.

By pure coincidence, that same week the local Aston Martin dealership was opening up in Austin, so I gave them a ring. They invited me to their grand opening party where I had a chance to talk to the salesman in some detail about the car. A few days later I came back for a test drive, and literally within 90 seconds of just sitting in the passenger seat while the salesman drove I was totally sold. Getting behind the wheel was just a formality at that point.

I had a good idea of what options and color schemes I wanted, and I was fully prepared to have to wait 3-4 months to special order it. These cars are not like Buicks where they get 20 new ones in every week. The odds of them locating exactly what I wanted were quite slim. However, they just happened to have the car that I wanted up at their dealership in Dallas so getting it would take just 2 days. Wow! Talk about luck! This color combo is very, very rare. I've never seen another Aston configured like mine - most people go for the black interior for some odd reason. It looks soooo much better in a lighter color!

Tungsten Silver & Sahara Tan Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster
Tungsten Silver & Sahara Tan Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

My 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster


THE ASTON MARTIN OWNER'S CLUB

When I bought my Aston the dealership also paid for my first year in the Aston Martin Owner's Club. I probably wouldn't have bothered joining if not for that, but I am so happy that I became a member. The first event that the club participated in which I attended was the 2009 Texas All British Car Show where I got to meet the other folks in the club. I was afraid that they might end up either being a bunch of motorheads or snobby rich people, but I was wrong on both counts. The folks in the club are some of the nicest people I've met in a long time, and we had a great time socializing at the show. Much to my surprise, my car won 1st place in the Modern Astons category out of around a dozen other Astons! In 2010 my car won 2nd place - the 1st place car was a 2003 Aston Martin Vanquish which in my humble opinion is the prettiest Aston ever, so they totally deserved to win 1st that year.

1st Place at TXABCD

So, at this point I'm already really thrilled about my expensive toy that I thought I didn't need. I was having a blast driving it around town, but I had no idea what was to come next! A few months after the All British Car Day event the AMOC scheduled a group drive though the Texas Hill Country. I was a little nervous because even though I'd had the car for 5 months I hadn't really gone anywhere with it or driven it too fast. I had no idea what to expect from this group, and I had no idea what my car could really do.

Let's just say that this drive was one of the most fun days I've had in 10 years! There were something like 14 Aston's flying thru the backroads, and I was blown away at how well the car handled at high speeds. I knew that I had a cool car, but I was unprepared for the engineering perfection that it was! Halfway through our drive we stopped at the Sisterdale Winery, and when we got there you could smell the burning rubber from our tires!

Astons at Sisterdale winery

I was already addicted to the car's sound and beauty, but this was the day that I became addicted to the car's performance. Then, in the spring of 2010 the club organized a Track Day event at the Harris Hill racetrack in San Marcos. Once again, I was a bit nervous because auto insurance policies do not cover accidents that happen on any "racing surface", so I knew that if I crashed I was screwed. Luckily, I didn't crash, but thanks to the great instruction I got from the driving instructors there I was really able to test the limits of the car. The limits were far beyond what I had expected!

UPDATE: As of October, 2012 I have been put in charge of the regional Aston Martin Owners Club which covers Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Here's the new web site I've put up for the club.

FEEDING THE ADDICTION

So, in a very short amount of time I went from not knowing anything about supercars, and not having any desire to own one whatsoever, to being totally hooked on them. I'm even now an avid fan of Top Gear - the best TV show ever! Everything about Aston Martin is a total thrill, and I think that this car has made me happier than anything else I've ever purchased. People who say that money can't buy you happiness obviously have never owned an Aston Martin!

However, this left me wondering if all supercars were as awesome as my Aston Martin. Should I be looking at buying another one? In the fall of 2010 I had a chance to drive a slew of other supercars (the planets were in alignment or something). First was a track day up in Dallas that was being hosted by Aston Martin and John Eagle European, the Austin Aston dealer. At this event I got to test drive all of the current models on their track with a professional instructor. Long story short of it is that while they were all amazing, I still like my V8 Vantage Roadster most of all. The new V12 Vantage was, at the time, the most incredible car I had ever driven, but since my car has the paddle shifter and is a convertible it's still better overall, but that V12 Vantage is absolutely outstanding to drive!

A few weeks after the Dallas event, I was invited to another driving event, this time in Bandera, TX. Here we got to spend day test driving several different exotics: Ferrari 430, Ferrari 599, Bentley Supersports, Audi R8, and a Lamborghini Superleggera:

World Class Driving Tour in Bandera

You might find this hard to believe, but the Bentley Supersports was the best of that lot. It was an amazing car to drive, and I can honestly say that it is the best car I've ever driven. It beats the Aston V12 Vantage that I had driven just a few weeks prior which I thought was the best car I'd ever driven. That being said, the Bentley Supersports is probably the dullest looking exotic sports car out there - nobody would look twice at it going down the road, and for that reason I'd still choose any Aston over it. For that matter, I'd easily choose my Aston over any of those other cars without question. The Aston Martins simply have the best combination of performance, beauty, sound, and comfort of any supercar out there that I've driven. Sure, there are faster cars, and probably some even better handling ones than my V8 Vantage, but nothing I've seen beats the perfect combination of things that make Aston Martin the best of breed.

Just a few days after that Bandera event I had a chance to test drive a Tesla Roadster - the high performance electric sportscar from California. This was the one car I was interested in before the whole Aston thing started for me. I really liked the idea of owning a fun electric car, but since there were no dealerships in Texas I never seriously considered it. There still aren't any dealerships here, but it is possible to buy one, so the Tesla folks brought one down to Austin for me to test drive. Perhaps I had set my expectations too high, but the car just didn't "wow" me at all. The 0-60 in 3.7 seconds acceleration was nice, but it lacked the excitement that you get in a gas powered supercar. Nothing else about the Tesla felt like a car worth $150,000 which is what a properly configured one was going to cost me, so even that car is no comparision whatsoever to an Aston.

CONCLUSION

I can drive the Aston around town without feeling like a showoff. I always drive it with the top down, and it's amazing how many people will want to talk to me about it at a red light. The single most common thing that people ask is "What is it?" This is the other reason why Aston Martin's are great to own. Everyone knows a Ferrari or Lamborghini when they see one, but Astons are so rare that most people have no idea what they are. Most people would be afraid to talk to a guy in a Lamborghini or Ferrari at a stop light - they're just too intimidating, but the Aston Martin has a sense of class and beauty about it which is much more inviting. I absolutely love my Aston! Hopefully I will be an Aston owner for the rest of my life, and there is no other car out there that I would rather have at any price.

Remember when you were 13 years old and you thought "boy it's going to be fun when I get my driver's license in a few years" only to find that when you got your license, driving just wasn't as much fun as you thought it would be? Well the Aston Martin *is* what I thought driving would be like when I was 13, so while I'm bummed that it took half my life to realize it was possible, I'm really happy that I discovered it! I'm having a blast with the Owner's Club, and even now, every time I take the Aston out it puts a smile on my face!



©2001-2011 Brian Greenstone