There’s just something about climbing into an Aston Martin. The sight. The sound. The beauty. The fact that releasing the parking brake requires a long, detailed explanation.
Yes, my Aston Martin V8 Vantage has a lot of weird quirks. Some are endearing. Some are bizarre. Some make you wonder whether the good folks at Aston Martin had ever previously designed a car. Or engineered a car. Or seen a car.
Today, I’ve decided to share all those quirks with you in a nice little listicle, which seems to be all the rage with the kids these days, kind of like meth.
I’ve also created a video, wherein I demonstrate these quirks while wearing a microphone the size of a pencil sharpener. Check out both of them and you’ll be the resident Aston Martin V8 Vantage expert the next time you see one at your local Cars and Coffee, or in valet parking at a high-end restaurant, or broken down on the side of the road.
Anyway, here goes:
QUIRK NUMBER ONE: The Parking Brake. Oh, God, the parking brake. Here’s the situation: the parking brake is mounted between the driver’s seat and the driver’s door. Right there, with just that sentence, you can smell trouble. It’s so hopelessly out of place. Why would they put it there? That’d be like if you’re playing soccer, and you’re on a fast break, and you’re about to kick it in, and then instead of the goal there’s a hot tub full of antelopes.
And indeed, trouble appears: to set the parking brake, you pull it up, just like in a normal car. But since a raised parking brake would get in the way of entry and exit, you must then put away the parking brake by moving it back down. Now it’s on… but down. To release it, you pull it back up, press the little button at the top, and put it down again. This means two things. One, the parking brake is always down, regardless of whether it’s on or off. And two, every single time I let someone else drive the car, I must have a two-minute Who’s on First?-style conversation about simply releasing the brake.
QUIRK NUMBER TWO: The Warranty. Although the good folks at Aston Martin didn’t quite think through everything when designing the car, their lawyers certainly did when creating the warranty. I say this because my Aston Martin certified pre-owned warranty is a 28-page document that’s long enough to be a television script. Of course, it would be the world’s only television script worse than Roseanne, as it uses the word “arbitration” 16 separate times.
My personal favorite part of the warranty comes in section 7, subsection I, which states, and I am directly quoting here, “This warranty does not cover any consequence, whether direct or indirect, of war, invasion, act of foreign enemy hostilities, civil war, rebellion, revolution, terrorism, or military or usurped power.” Imagine the conversation: “I’m sorry, Mr. DeMuro, but we can’t authorize your brake light repair. It failed due to revolution.”
And that isn’t even the strangest part. Subsection J states very clearly that “This warranty does not cover loss directly or indirectly caused by nuclear fuel, or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel.” Imagine that conversation. “I’m sorry Mr. DeMuro, but we can’t authorize your heater hose repair. It failed due to the nuclear holocaust that has currently enslaved the human race.”
Although your attention to detail is admirable, Aston Martin attorneys, trust me when I say that if we’ve reached a point where my vehicles are getting damaged by foreign enemy hostilities or nuclear waste, I prooooobably won’t be submitting any warranty claims.
QUIRK NUMBER THREE: The Key Fob. One of my all-time favorite things about the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is that the key fob is borrowed from Volvo. And I don’t mean the Aston Martin key fob and the Volvo key fob share a general design, or they have a similar look. I mean that in order to create the Aston Martin key fob, Ford – at the time, owners of both Volvo and Aston Martin – literally took a Volvo key fob and wrapped it in leather to cover up the Volvo logo. If you peel off the leather, the key fob actually says Volvo on it. But hey, the car only cost $126,000, right?
QUIRK NUMBER FOUR: The Doors. By now, most car enthusiasts know that the doors of an Aston Martin open up. No, not “up” like the gullwing door on a Mercedes SLS or the scissor door on a Lamborghini Diablo. Rather, they open normally, but with an upward tilt. This is both cool and functional: when the doors are open, the car looks like it has wings – and the upward motion also helps you avoid curbs.
But there’s one little problem: the doors of a coupe are usually heavy, large, and a little unwieldy. The result is that if you open the doors on even the slightest incline, they immediately close again. So you go to open them again, and they close again. Want to open the door to your Honda Fit on a hill? Go for it. Want to open the door to your Aston Martin on a hill? Prepare to get smacked in the butt like a running back who just scored a touchdown.
Of course, these are only a few of the Aston’s quirks. Several others are explained in the video—and for others, well, you’ll just have to drive it. Assuming you can figure out how to release the parking brake.