Desmond J. Smail
+44 (0)1234 713 083

Upcoming Events

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: The Retromobile Show runs from 8th – 12th February at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre in Paris. Next up is the Olympia Historic Automobile Fair and Auction from 17th - 19th February at Olympia, Kensington, London, which is run in partnership with Coys. The London Classic Car Show returns to Excel, London from 23rd - 26th February and this year also provides access to sister show, Historic Motorsport International, which runs alongside the main show championing and celebrating historic motorsport. The show will features £120 million worth of Ferrari’s celebrating 70 years since the first Ferrari road car hit the streets. There will also be a Jacky Ickx tribute and 50 classic cars taking part in the Grand Avenue. 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. Invitations to join Desmond for lunch in Olney before the auction will be sent out nearer the time. 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.
Christmas Break
We will be closed from noon on Friday 23rd December until 8am on Tuesday 3rd January. We would like to wish all our customers and friends the very best wishes for the festive season and a happy new year.
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
Desmond Smail Rally - 18th September 2016
On Sunday 18th September we are hosting our first classic car rally for Aston Martin owners. Set in the quintessentially English countryside of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire the 150 mile route will follow mostly scenic roads and truly enable you to enjoy your Aston as it was intended. To punctuate the journey we will have various way points to search for clues and there will be a number of interesting stops along the way. Our first interlude will be at The British Motor Museum at Gaydon where you can pay homage to the British car industry. Next we will venture to Prodrive where you will be given behind the scenes access to the facility and be able to observe the Vantage GTE race cars in preparation. The Prodrive historic collection of race and rally cars spanning the teams' existence since 1984 is also available to view. Following this stop we will continue to Aston Hill - Aston Clinton - the home of the Aston Martin name, before returning to Olney to the grand finish line. The day will conclude with a prize giving presentation, hog roast and well deserved drink. Space are limited so please do let us know if you would like to enter by either sending an email to for an entry form or call Michelle O'Connor on +44 1234 713 083 Option 1
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.


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