The “Goldilocks” Model

Evolution of a Classic Design

I will never forget seeing my first DB9 at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. I was there shooting for a new HDTV series and was having fun looking at all the new automotive offerings. But when I laid eyes on this car, the world seemed to slow down and freeze for a moment. The noise of the crowd fell silent and I forgot where I was headed. I turned to my crew and said “we are doing a story about THIS car.” It was the most beautiful modern design I had ever seen. It was at this very moment, I swore that one day I’d own this car. I had no idea how I would ever afford it, but that did not matter. I just knew it had to be in a future garage of mine. Years later I realized that dream and nothing makes me happier than quality time with my Aston.

As a lover of classic car design, I believe that in the future we will look back at the DB9 as the “Goldilocks” model of this era. What I mean by that, is the design is just right compared to what came before and after it in the series.

[Editors Note:  This article was written by Brian Greene whom I wish to thank for taking the time to prepare this article to share with all of us!]

Take for example, the era of the DB4-6. The DB5 is considered the most sought after of the set, and yes much of this is due to Bond films. But while the DB4 set the tone for that style and the DB6 is by far the best driving out of the bunch, the DB5 aesthetically is “just right.” (although if I had a spare $800k lying around, I’d buy the DB6)

Take another example from a different make. The British MG T series. The TC is a classic and beautiful car to both drive and look at. The TF is more refined and better engineered, but the TD, the one in the middle, is by far the perfect blend of the three cars. Line the 3 up and most people when they think of an MG from that era, they imagine the TD, not so much the other two.

This is what the DB9 will represent. The DB7 pulled AML kicking and screaming into the modern era, even though it has a ton of Ford influence. But without Ford, the brand would have long ago died, it could not compete in the modern world as an entirely hand tooled car. So despite all the flaws of the DB7, it saved the brand. The DB9 is and will always be a striking and beautiful design. Pulling from classic styling cues going many decades back. It is rolling sculpture if you stand by and admire it, the earliest versions being most pure. Such as no break in the flow of interior design interrupted by cup holders. (They later added cup holders to appease the Americans, but it was not what the designers had intended.) The coupe has the cleaner lines, where the convertible breaks them up a bit, especially with the rag top up. But no matter how long you own the DB9, it will always be a beautiful design and will continue to increase in value over the upcoming decades.

DB11 Compared to the DB9
Even though the design is over 15 years old, it does not look dated.

The DB11 was always going to be a challenge for AM, because it achieved artistic perfection with the DB9. But again, it was time to move on carefully. It is technically a better car, and the engineering offers significant improvement. It is a more modern version of the DB9, honoring some of it’s original beautiful lines going back to the DB4. In my opinion, its more attractive than any other in it’s exotic car class. But like the DB6 and the MG TF, it goes a bit too far and the newer design is not quite as attractive. I’d like to have a DB11 in a couple of years, once they dip down to below $100k on a 2016 model. I just want to play with it for a while. It’ll sit beside the DB9, but I have no intention of selling my DB9, it’s exactly the way I wanted it. Pure, original, and as the designer intended it to be. When the DB11 is gone, it’s older sibling will still be in my garage.

6 thoughts on “The “Goldilocks” Model

  1. Exactly my thoughts. In my opinion, all the manufacturers zero in on some of the main features of the vehicles and pervert it by blowing them out of proportion. For example, compare the first design of the beautiful Ducati Monster to the new spaceship design, its a pity. Same with the modern AMs, especially the new Vantage V8 with its overlarge grille. Unfortunately this happens with all the classic brands nowadays, and If you want beautiful design, it‘s called retro.

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  2. Dave Steven

    I think of my old Ferrari 328 as the most refined design of the 3X8 series. The 308 set the tone but the 348 went off in the Testarossa direction with the side strakes. I love my DB9; its just right!

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  3. JOHN GREEN

    A bit of a segue but relevant I think to your great article. I was recently in Ilkley in the UK. Two cars parked about 3 spaces apart . A beautiful new Aston Vantage and an immaculate Austin Healy 3000. Every passing male stopping to look at the AH. The classic always outperforms.

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  4. Bob Dispennette

    Another great post Steve, and I could not agree more. As a 2005 DB9 owner, the first generation is the purest. AM skipped DB8 for a reason. Our DB9s are the result. The lines, handling and power are just right for me. She does everything I need and a looker. People don’t know what it is. They come up to the car to admire it. Most folks in my neck of the woods have never heard of AM, let alone seen one in the wild. Everyone loves it and I always drive off smiling.

    Although I do enjoy the new “design language”, your pic at the top of the post say it all. Past, present and future. I’ll stick with my Goldilocks DB9!! She’s a keeper.

    All the best from NC.

    Bob D.

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    1. Hi Bob. Thanks for the Kudo’s, but this article was written by another follower of the site, Brian Greene, and he deserves all the credit. Brian shared his thought with me about the Goldilock model, and I thought it was a terrific idea and asked if he would write a guest article for the site (and he did!)

      I entirely agree with you. I prefer the lines of the early DB9 models over even the later DB9s and Vanquish. I do like the DBS evolution.

      Thanks for reading!

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  5. Paul Hicks

    Another superb post Steve,

    I couldn’t agree more the DB9 is a design milestone. As elegant externally as internally it will not age.

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