Desmond J. Smail
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Upcoming Events

An Evening with Aston Martin
A great evening was had by all last night (17th July) at ‘An Evening with Aston Matin’, hosted by Vantage magazine at the Sheraton Grand London. Aston Sales Kensington were pleased to provide a beautiful DB5 for display which was greatly admired and guests of Desmond J Smail enjoyed the evening hosted by Steve Ryder. Excellent guest speakers were present including F1 commentator Martin Brundle, David King, Vice President and Chief Special Operations, Aston Martin and Darren Turner, Aston martin racing driver.
Modena Cento Ore 2018
5th-9th June will see the 2018 running of the Modena Cento Ore; a fantastic event that Desmond himself took part in last year. This year, cars from the 30s all the way to the 80s will take part in a number of circuit races and special stages across Italy. Limited to a strict field of 100 cars, they will begin at the iconic Monza circuit before ending in the Piazza Grande in Modena 5 days later. Below are images of a client's beautiful DB5 en route to the fantastic event and another clients magnificent GT40 being prepared for the 2018 Modena Cento Ore. for more details on the event.
2018 Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
This weekend will see the 11th running of the biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique around the legendary streets of Monte-Carlo. Traditionally held two weeks prior to the modern F1 Grand Prix, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique sees the classic car world descend on the glamorous principality, at the invitation of the Automobile Club de Monaco, for some high-speed historic racing. The event sees Sports Racing and Formula 1 cars for all eras taking the to streets in many categories, viewed by thousands of spectators in the temporary grandstands around the streets. Desmond will be attendance, along with a number of clients to take in all the action! (Image Credit - Raphael Belly)
Bonhams Aston Martin Sale - 2nd June 2018
Bonhams has announced its 19th annual Aston Martin sale in association with the Aston Martin Owners Club at Englefield House, Pangbourne. The event is part of a special weekend celebrating the iconic marque, including the Club's prestigious international Concours D'Etat. Aston Martin Owners Club Secretary, Marc Aylott, commented: 'The Club is proud to continue its long association with the Bonhams Aston Martin Sale, which traditionally takes place on the Club's renowned Concours D'Etat weekend, in partnership with Champagne Taittinger and Lockton Insurance. Staging the Bonhams auction and Club Concours on consecutive days offers the perfect opportunity for our global membership to gather together with our UK Members to enjoy two wonderful world-class Aston Martin events.' Stay tuned for updates on some of the special Astons that will be passing through the block at the start of June.
Restoration Timeline - Aston Martin DB5 Completion
Following on from our recent update of the strip-down on the Aston Martin DB5 that we recently restored for a good client, please see below the images showing the re-build and completion of the job. The images show the hours of work and craftsmanship that goes in to a full 'nut-and-bolt' restoration at DJ Smail, with the end product being a vehicle presenting in 'better than new' condition and ready to be enjoyed for decades to come. Please enquire for all details on our restoration services.
Restoration Timeline - Aston Martin DB5 Strip-Down
Desmond J Smail has a world-renowned reputation for the finest restoration work on Aston Martin models, with hundreds of projects being completed over the last decades. Here we give a brief insight into one of these magnificent projects that we completed on a DB5 recently for a delighted customer. In this part of the timeline, we show the strip down of the DB5 to bare chassis, allowing for the complete 'nut-and-bolt' restoration to be completed. Stay tuned for the finished car and please enquire for details on our restoration services.
Auction Preview - Amelia Island
March 2018 sees the return of the Amelia Island auctions from several of the major auction houses, including RM Sotheby's, Bonhams and Gooding & Co. As ever, a number of Aston Martins form a strong selection of the cars on offer, especially in the lots from RM. On the 10th of March, RM Sotheby's will be auctioning a DB4 Series IV, DB6 Vantage, Virage Volante 'Wide Body' and a lovely DB AR1 Zagato. After strong results in their Retromobile and Arizona sales, it will be interesting to see what figures these examples can make. Images courtesy of RM Sotheby's.
Desmond to take part in Modena Cento Ore
Desmond will take part in the Modena Cento Ore next week in Italy co-driving with friend Richard Martin in a stunning Ferrari 500 TR Scaglietti Spider. Meeting in Rimini ahead of the rally the pilots and co-pilots will set off for Misano race track for the start of the rally on Wed 7th June. Taking in the sights of the beautiful city of Florence the rally will continue on to Mugello race track before arriving on the west coast at Forte dei Marmi. The final day will see them attend a special stage at Novi Sad Park before finishing at Piazza Grande Modena. More information on the rally can be found at
Blenheim Palace and Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance
This week sees Salon Privé return to Blenheim Palace for the Chubb Insurance Concours d'Elégance and we are excited to have one of our recently completed restoration projects entered. A beautiful DB6 Short Chassis Volante, owned by a long term customer of Desmond Smail, will take part in the concours in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, UK tomorrow. Windsor Castle also plays host to a Concours of Elegance from Friday through to Sunday where some of the rarest cars from around the world will be taking to the Long Walk. Desmond is honoured to be driving one of the most iconic cars of all time, a Ferrari 500 Testarossa, on behalf of a customer, and taking part in the Octane Tour from Cliveden House to Windsor Castle. For more information on these events visit:


Desmond's motorsport involvement traces all the way back to the formative days of his professional life, working on Aston Martin racing legends like Project 215, and he’s remained involved ever since.

Behind the wheel, Desmond's early racing saw him contest the Slick 50 Road Saloon Championship and Tomcat Challenge. In 2011, Desmond relaunched his race team, Border Reivers, in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge.

The team has also prepared a host of one-off Aston Martins for competition, including, uniquely, rallying. In 1997, we readied a DB5 for the legendary, 47-day Peking to Paris Challenge. It was the first Aston Martin home.

Other campaigns have included the Monte Carlo Challenge, the North Cape Rally and the Round The World in 80 Days Challenge.

If you have an interest in taking an Aston Martin into competition, whatever the adventure, we’d love to hear from you.


August 2018 RM to sell ex-Le Mans Aston Martin DP215 in Monterey 1
August 2018

RM to sell ex-Le Mans Aston Martin DP215 in Monterey

RM Sotheby's will be offering the incredibly special Aston Martin DP215 at their flagship Monterey sale this month. The DP215 followed the DP212 and the DP214 as the final factory-built ‘Design Prototype’ sports-racing Aston Martin. Built at the request of John Wyer, the unique car was developed just two months before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963, where it was to be driven by Phil Hill and Lucien Bianchi. Indeed, at Le Mans, the DP215 recorded an astonishing 198.6mph on the Mulsanne Straight and became the first car to officially exceed 300kph at the Circuit de la Sarthe, placing it in the record books forever. Although the car was fundamentally uncompetitive in period, the DP215 represents the end of the David Brown era and the pinnacle of Aston Martin’s competition activities in the 1960s. DP215 has a pre-sale estimate of $20-25m.
July 2018 - DJS @ Classic Car & Bike Meet - Earls Barton

Desmond J Smail recently took part in the Classic Car & Bike meet in Earls Barton, with over 1,000 vehicles turning out for the magnificent event. We showed our recently restored DB5 and DB6 at the event and were pleased to receive numerous compliments on the quality of the craftsmanship and the cars themselves. We very much look forward to attending more of these events in the coming months and years. Search 'Classic Car Meet' on Facebook for further details on their upcoming events.
June 2018 James Bond DB5 to be offered by Bonhams 1
June 2018

James Bond DB5 to be offered by Bonhams

On 13 July at its Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale, Bonhams will offer one of the most famous Astons; the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) in the 1995 motion picture GoldenEye. The DB5 has become synonymous with James Bond, and this example featured in the famous opening chase scene of GoldenEye where Bond dices with arch villainess Xenia Onatopp in her Ferrari 355 GTS through the hills above Monaco. When purchased by the current owner in 2001, the car became the most valuable piece of Bond memorabilia ever sold. The estimate is £1,200,000-1,600,000. See the car in action on the following link -
May 2018 - Mille Miglia 2018

On the traditional 1,000 mile route of Brescia-Rome-Brescia, the 16-19th May saw the 2018 Edition of the Mille Miglia; the most prestigious regularity race in the classic car calendar. Since 1977, the MM was reborn as the 'Mille Miglia Storica,' with cars produced pre-1957 following a similar route to the original endurance race, with the start and finish point at the iconic Viale Venezia in Brescia. The original race was banned following two fatal crashed in 1957, with the Mille Miglia tragically claiming 56 lives from 1927-1957. The Mille is still the iconic event and legendary achievement for any historic car enthusiast, with locals lining the streets along the route to get a glimpse of former racing royalty. Image Courtesy of Classic Driver.
May 2018 Mille Miglia 2018 1
May 2018 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Offered by Bonhams 1
May 2018

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Offered by Bonhams

The most valuable British car offered at Auction will be going through the block at the Bonhams Goodwood FOS Sale 2018 as DB4 GT Zagato '2 VEV' is brought to market. '2 VEV' is the most important DB4GT Zagato in history for several reasons. It is one of only two of the legendary 'VEV' quasi-works cars, and one of only three configured in the ultra-light DP209 specification. If that were not enough, it was also driven, in period, by the legendary racing superstar Jimmy Clark and comes from long-term, single-family ownership of nearly 50 years. These are attributes that none of the other 18 DB4GT Zagatos can boast. James Knight, Group Motoring Chairman, commented: 'Bonhams is absolutely delighted to be bringing this landmark vehicle to auction, which continues our history of offering the world's most important and celebrated sports and collectors' motor cars to market. It is, by some distance, the most valuable British motor car ever to be offered at a European auction, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historically significant vehicle.'
April 2018 - DB5 Photoshoot

The Aston Martin DB5 is not only one of the most beautiful and iconic vehicles to come from Newport Pagnell, it is also one of the most recognisable and revered classic cars ever built. We at Desmond J Smail are incredibly fortunate to restore, maintain and sell DB5s and we believe we have handled as many of 007's vehicle of choice as any other dealer in the world. To celebrate this fact, at the start of the year we assembled 5 exquisite examples to stage a truly memorable photo shoot. Make sure you follow our Instagram (@desmondjsmail) page for live updates of stunning events such as this and if you are looking for a DB5, please enquire through the website.
March 2018 Goodwood 76th Members' Meeting 1
March 2018

Goodwood 76th Members' Meeting

Last weekend saw the annual running of the Goodwood Member's Meeting, now in its 76th year with this being one of the most memorable for a number of reasons. First of these was the shocking weather, as Goodwood was battered by flurries of snow throughout the weekend, that prevented any of the classic bikes from hitting the track at all and a number of valuable classics effortlessly sliding off track and (unfortunately) occasionally into the tyre walls. Another last memory from 76th MM was the 'Minute of Fever' in memory of Henry Hope-Frost, the legendary commentator of all Historic Goodwood events, who tragically passed just weeks before the event. The Members' Meeting always 'kicks off' the European classic car event calendar and is magnificent even to participate or attend.
March 2018 - Classic Driver DBS & Vanquish Review

Earlier this year we were fortunate to invite Classic Driver to come and spend some time with a couple of 'modern great' V12 Astons that we had in stock. The vehicles in question were a beautiful DBS manual and a late NP Vanquish S, both of which present the iconic 12-cylinder AM ownership experience in a more modern package. Check out the link below to see what they thought and take in some wonderful images of the DBS and Vanquish.
March 2018 Classic Driver DBS & Vanquish Review 1
February 2018

Classic Driver Profile on DJS

Towards the back end of 2017, we were fortunate to host Classic Driver at Olney for a tour of our facilities. Desmond spent time explaining to Alex (from CD) about the history and fundamental principles that we work towards and gave an insight into the day-to-day business at DJ Smail. If you haven't already, please take a look at the well written and beautiful photographed article as we feel it really shows what makes us so special in the Aston Martin world.
February 2018 - Restoration & Service Technician Wanted

As part of our ongoing success in the field of service and restorations, we are looking for experienced technicians to strengthen our team. Based in Olney, Buckinghamshire the successful candidates will be fully integrated into all aspects of this work. An all-round knowledge in modern and classic cars, preferably Aston Martin, is desired. A minimum of 5 years’ experience in this field is essential and a requirement of NVQ level 4 or city and guilds in motor vehicle repair is advantageous. Please email with a copy of your CV, stating your expected salary and quote reference HR-DJS-0318 - TECH
February 2018 Restoration & Service Technician Wanted 1
January 2018

AMH Walter Hayes Memorial Lecture

Desmond enjoyed a memorable evening at Aston Martin Heritage Walter Hayes Memorial Lecture held at The RAC Club in London last night. Joined by members of the DJ Smail team, customers and friends the evening was thoroughly enjoyable with Maitland Cook providing a wonderful insight into Aston Martin's history with the Hotel de France. Taking centre stage in the prestigious club's foyer this week is Wolfgang Friedrich's DB4GT, 1 GRE.
September 2017 - Salon Prive 2017

This year’s Salon Privé was again held in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Desmond J Smail and Aston Sales Kensington were present with a wide range of Aston Martin cars from their current stock. They included the 2010 DBS Manual, 2007 Vanquish S, 1980 V8 Volante, 1968 DB6, 1968 DB6 Volante Vantage, 1966 DB6 Short Chassis Volante, 1965 DB5 and a 1961 DB4 GT Zagato. As the sole classic Aston Martin dealer present we had the largest range of models on display for the marque. Each car received much admiration with the 2016 AMOC Summer Concours winning DB6 Short Chassis Volante and the DB4 GT Zagato proving to be star cars of the show.
9th April 2017 - AMOC Spring Concours Winner

Desmond was delighted to attend the AMOC Spring Concours on Sunday 9 April which was held at Aston Martin Lagonda’s new facility at RAF St Athan, near Cardiff, South Wales. Good friend and customer Julian Reddyhough entered his beautiful 1964 DB5 and was delighted to win the Newport Pagnell 6 cylinder class. This was a unique and wonderful event which was part of a weekend long celebration, jointly with Aston Martin Lagonda. The Concours display was inside the huge hangars, which will ultimately be converted into the production line for the new DBX, making this a one-off opportunity to afford members an exclusive viewing of this new facility. PDF of Final Results: results-spring-concours-2017-pdf-3174.pdf
9th April 2017 AMOC Spring Concours Winner 1
July 2016 - DB6 Short Chassis Volante Restoration

A very happy customer today saw his fully restored DB6 Short Chassis Volante for the first time. This is one of only 37 DB6 Short Chassis Volantes built between Oct 1965 and Oct 1966. These were built on the last DB5 convertible chassis and are noticeably different with DB6 rear lights in the wing, a DB5 boot lid and DB6 split bumpers. The owner today also had the chance to meet trimmer Joe Dorrill, who worked on the car at the factory 50 years ago when it was first built. Tomorrow the car is entered into the Coys concours at Blenheim Palace and on Sunday will be on display at Burghley House for the Festival of Astons.
July 2016 DB6 Short Chassis Volante Restoration 1
March 2015 - Desmond J Smail feature in the Spring Vantage Magazine

Look out for the 7 day feature on Desmond Smail in the Spring issue of Vantage Magazine! and find out why 'he can be a bit gruff!'
March 2015 Desmond J Smail feature in the Spring Vantage Magazine 1