- Author Tony Martins
- Published November 7, 2019
- Word count 537
I can remember seeing some of the early films on the big screen as a young boy. "Gold Finger" and "Thunder Ball" come to mind. My Mom and her sister would drop off my cousins and I at The Beach Theater in The Bronx for the Saturday matinee. Besides the 007 movies, I had the toy attache case with all the gadgets, flat throwing knife, Luger with scope and silencer, 007 ID wallet, and other cool spy stuff. I also had the match box, Bond DB5 Aston Martin with cool spy gadgets, smoke screen, ejector seat, bulletproof rear screen, oil spilling device, machine guns, and knock off hubs that would extend out to slice up the side of villains chase car. James Bond is still the boss. When ever I get the opportunity I still enjoy seeing the early films.
So anyway, this is my Aston Martin Story. The year was 1972, my uncle was considering rescuing a red 1959 DB4 Aston Martin from a body shop that started putting a 327 small block Chevy engine in to replace the beautiful twin over head cam inline 6. I remember going with my Dad and Uncle to look at it. It was gorgeous. I was so hooked on Aston Martin’s. They had already started to cut the firewall to make room for the V8. I was thinking, buy it, they wanted $600.00. The reason they were fitting a Chevy engine was because the original owner had put a rod through the Aston’s engine block. In the early 70’s a 1959 DB4 wasn’t worth that much but replacement engines were very expensive and hard to come by. My Uncle’s plan was to save the Aston engine for a later date and temporarily install a Jaguar 4.2 straight six into the Aston. In those years I think the Aston and Jaguar engines were pretty similar, besides he had one sitting on the shelf from a heavily damaged 4.2 sedan. Remember, my Dad and his brother had a import salvage business. It sounded like a great plan. So after several months of back and forth negotiations Uncle Ed finally bought it. Well as some of you know my Uncle died and untimely death in a house fire in March 1974. My Dad was in charge of dissolving his brothers estate. I asked Dad, who is 82 and doing well why he didn’t hang on to it. He can’t remember details like that any more. I clearly remember begging Dad to keep it along with Uncle Ed’s Triumph Bonneville motorcycle. I was 15 at that time, a boys dream Aston Martin and a Triumph motorcycle. I really think looking back on that time in Dad’s life he was probably in shock, loosing his brother and business partner must have been difficult. There was a lot going on with closing their business and liquidating their assets. Within two years of Ed’s passing Dad sold our house in NJ and started over in Clearwater Florida. So to me the Aston Martin is the one that got away. For my Dad on the other hand I think he was trying to put it all behind him and move on.
Thanks to all my readers for sharing these stories, Tony
Tony started working in the auto body industry in the mid-1960s. This family business was Martins’ Auto Centre, a quality paint, body and import parts center. He also has formal training and education in the field, attending a vocational technical school for four years, studying auto body repair and welding.
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