Desmond J. Smail
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Upcoming Events

Wedding Cars
Desmond's customer and good friend, Mark Shipman, took his DB6 and V600 Vantage to Cockington, Torquay last week for the wedding of his sister. Both cars were used as wedding cars with bride Sarah being driven by Mark in the DB6 and groom, Simon in the V600. Simon and Sarah were then whisked away after the ceremony in the DB6. With perfect weather the Astons looked on while guests tucked into a hog roast and drank Taittinger!
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
Save the Date - Key events in 2017
Now that 2017 has set off in earnest, this year promises an exciting schedule of classic and historic events/rallies and you may wish to save some of the following dates – here is a handful of our favourites: Goodwood season starts with the Members Meeting on 18th & 19th March and continues with the usual spectacle of Festival of Speed from 30th June - 2nd July and the Revival 8th – 10th September. At Beaulieu on 2nd April, a Simply Aston Martin event will be hosted where all owners are invited to drive into the estate and park up at the museum for what promises to be a superb day out for both Aston Martin owners and enthusiasts. Still in the UK is the AMOC Spring Concour which will be held on 9th April at Saint Athan, South Wales. The Autumn event will be held on 17th September at the Eden Project, Cornwall. Heading to Europe the Techno Classica Essen takes place from 5th to 9th April displaying vintage, classic and prestige automobiles, motorsport features, motorcycles, parts and restoration features. Comfortable footwear required if you are visiting as this show covers a vast 127,000m2 across 21 halls at Messe Essen! On Saturday 13th May Bonham’s will host their annual Auction at Aston Martin Works, Newport Pagnell which also provides an ideal opportunity to pop in and see us at the Olney Showroom. For those serious about rallies the Pan Am Classic Rally starts on 14th June and traverses the Southern United States from Savannah to Seattle completing on 13th July. It is a competitive event for cars up to 1978 and mixes up dirt roads, mountains, country roads and occasional main roads and explores trails and tracks rarely used. The Flywheel Festival at Bicester Heritage on 24th-25th June will show stunning displays of winged and wheeled power in this live action celebration of historic cars, aircraft and military machinery. If European touring is of interest Classic Grand Touring are arranging a Bond Tour from 18th – 25th July. You will drive some of the smoothest mountain roads and take in breath-taking views whilst visiting some unforgettable locations that were used in the Bond movies. Later in the summer key Concours events take place. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance takes place on Sunday 20th August which is the final spectacle of Automotive Week which includes the Tour d’Elegance and Retroauto. In September Salon Prive takes place at it’s now regular home of Blenheim Palace from 31st August – 2nd September and the Concours of Elegance on 1st – 3rd September returns to most elegant Hampton Court Palace – uniquely, the Concours of Elegance winner isn’t selected by a panel of judges but by the owners of the cars themselves so this should be interesting! Well there is indeed plenty here to keep us all busy – please do let us know if you might be interested in attending any.
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:
Classic & Sports Car Show
Desmond J Smail Ltd, Aston Service London and Aston Sales Kensington will join other industry-leaders at Alexander Palace for the Classic & Sports Car Show this October 28-30th. The classic car event promises an impressive display of historic cars, a Live interview stage, a host of themed features and a classic car auction from Coys. "We are delighted to be exhibiting again at The Classic & Sports Car Show", Desmond said, "it offered a perfect setting and environment to showcase our cars which led to a successful show for us for sales, service and restoration. We're very much looking forward to the show this October." Along with many classic car dealers, who collectively will be displaying Aston Martins, Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguars and Mercedes-Benz to name a few, another much-anticipated newcomer to the show is Stanley Mann Racing, a name synonymous with vintage Bentley. For further information on the show visit
A Festival of Aston Martin
We are looking forward to joining A Festival of Aston Martin at Burghley House this coming Sunday 3rd July. Ed Cunningham, in association with the AMOC, will again host the event in the beautiful surroundings of Burghley House. We will be bringing along a range of eras with a DB4, DB5, DB9 Volante and also a fine example of a recently completed DB6 Short Chassis Volante restoration. Many Aston Martin related companies will be exhibiting and a raffle and auction during the day will help to raise funds for four well deserving charities, Cancer Research UK, Royal Air Forces Association, Home Start and Chicks. We hope to see you there and will post more details closer to the date.


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.


7th 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
8th March 2017 - New Website for Aston Sales Kensington

Aston Sales Kensington, established by Alan Baker and Desmond Smail in 2005, has launched a new responsive website to showcase the prestigious Aston Martins it has for sale. The site allows customers to view the cars in detail and also submit details of cars they wish to sell or wish to source. To take a look at the site and our current stock, including this beautiful Vanquish S. 2+ 2 please visit        
8th March 2017 New Website for Aston Sales Kensington 1
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.
1 July 2016 DB6 Short Chassis Volante Restoration 1
April 2015 - Make the most of your retirement with an Aston Martin

On 6 April 2015 changes to the pension policy came in to force, enabling anyone over the age of 55 to choose to do what they liked with their savings, regardless of their total pension wealth. Labelled the ‘retirement revolution’, Desmond tells us why there’s never been a better time to invest in the classic car market. Over 55s now have three options for the future of their savings, either they take all of their money in a lump sum, take it bit by bit or put it into an annuity, which acts like a regular income. The value of classic cars has rocketed over the past decade. This, combined with no capital gains tax, which is charged at 28 per cent for higher-rate taxpayers and 18 per cent otherwise, could make classic cars a sound investment. Over the last 40 years on business I have seen the huge value that these cars hold both in terms of personal and financial, and therefore have a deep and historic understanding of what makes the Aston Martin brand so significant. We get a variety of customers who come through our doors; some who are looking for a piece of history to love and cherish, and others who are simply interested in the value of a vehicle and its likely return on investment. However, something that all of our customers have in common is that they have done their research, with meticulous attention paid to the rarity, value, condition and history of every Aston Martin that passes through our showroom. As well as being a great anecdote for dinner parties, a car with an interesting story to tell can fetch a very healthy sum. With this said, not every purchase of a classic car ends this successfully and it is important that anyone considering investing in a classic Aston Martin weighs up the entire cost, not just of buying, but also insuring, storing and restoring the car. The obvious advantage of buying a restored car is that you can enjoy your investment straight-away, or on the flip side it is ready to resell. For anyone looking to spread their investment, restoration is a great way to achieve this and the return can inevitably be all the more rewarding.
April 2015 Make the most of your retirement with an Aston Martin  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