A tricky brief, broadly well realised but with some notable and, to be honest, really rather disappointing exceptions.
Now that I’m in my mid-90s (so ancient, indeed, that I can’t remember when I was born but most authorities agree it was around 1921) a certain old English traditionalism should be allowed without ever creating the impression that I am some kind of dilettante, Sobranie-smoking lounge lizard.
This is a note struck to perfection by the use of leather. But at the same time, I must be seen to be embracing modernity and I find much in the carbonfibre accents that speaks well of my cold, hard character and monochromatic outlook on life.
The dials are excellent, too, and prove a point lost on Aston Martin these past dozen years, namely that it is entirely possible for an instrument panel to be stylish and easy to read, all at the same time. But I’ll reserve the closest I come to real praise for the steering wheel, whose rim shape and thickness fit my hairy knuckles to perfection.
However, I’d lose all the buttons mounted on the wheel: I have no desire to be seen trying to emulate those pasty-faced, lily-livered, message-wedded Armco-dodgers who pass for racing drivers these days.
And now the less impressive aspects, the least of which was the near-terminal consequences of someone forgetting to load the machine guns.
I’m actually more annoyed about the lack of stowage space on board. In the light of the smoking ban, I suppose I must accept the deletion of the humidor, but there’s not even anywhere to chill the Dom Perignon.
Need I remind you that the last time we spoke on this subject, you promised me that the champagne would be kept in a computer-controlled, gyro-suspended, independently cooled centrifuge that would match in exact, equal and opposite measure every movement of the car, so that even if said car spun through 720deg, not a single bubble would be released from the precious liquid. Q, it hasn’t even got a bloody cupholder.
Finally, there are the windows. Which genius thought it a good idea for them not to open? I have suffered some indignities during my time in the field (see ‘crown jewels’) but none compared to having to open the damn door to chat to the charming senorita in the Kamm-tailed 1750 Alfa Spider parked next to me in one of Rome’s famous traffic jams.