Desmond J. Smail
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Upcoming Events

RM Sotheby's - An Evening with Aston Martin
This Thursday will see the Monterey Car Week auctions kick off with RM Sotheby's 'Evening with Aston Martin' Sale. A carefully curated and varied selection of Aston Martins will be offered in the single-marque sale, including a number of headline cars that are estimated to achieve significant figures. The star car of the sale is the 2nd of 10 surviving Works DB3S with extensive period competition history and guided at $8.75-10.5m. Another exciting car to be offered is 'the most famous car in the world;' one of just a handful of legitimate James Bond DB5s that was featured in Goldfinger and used for the launch of Thunderball. This piece of Aston Martin and film history is estimated to achieve $4-6m. Another interesting DB5 that will be offered on Thursday is 1 of just 12 factory Shooting Brakes with just 4 being build in LHD. This is guided at $1-1.4m.
AMOC Spring Concours & Bonhams AM Sale 2019
Sunday 19th May saw the annual running of the AMOC Spring Concours and the Bonhams Aston Martin sale at the wonderful setting of the Wormsley Estate. rnFor the Concours, we were thrilled to be showing a client's beautiful DB4 GT; a car that was both supplied and maintained by DJS. rnIn addition to the superb cars on display as part of the Concours, the Bonhams auction also achieved a few headline results. Most notably, a Silver Birch DB5 Saloon achieved the impressive figure of £860,600. Another car to break the £800k mark was a DB4 Series V Convertible, which hammered down at £810,200 including auction premiums.
Ongoing Restoration - Aston Martin V8
DJ Smail are currently undertaking extensive restoration works on this stunning 1987 Aston Martin V8 EFI. Due for completion in Q2 2019, we have already restored the shell and bodywork and repainted the car in its original shade of Chichester Blue. Further, the EFI engine has already been completely rebuilt, the suspension has been renewed and the chrome trims and bright works all refinished. We are in the process of refurbishing and refitting the original interior trim at the request of the client before we can begin to thoroughly test the car following the restoration works. Stay tuned for further updates as this exciting projects nears its conclusion in the coming weeks.
RM Paris February 2019 - Modern Classic Aston Martins of the Youngtimer Collection
Over the course of 2019, RM Sotheby's will be offering to market one of the largest collections of 'Modern Classic' cars at a number of their headline sales. Their Paris sale in February 2019 is the first of these auctions offering cars from the Youngtimer Collection which includes iconic models and examples from a wide range of British, European and Japanese marques. Being offered at the Paris Sale are several interesting Aston Martins from the Youngtimer Collection (amongst other examples in the auction) which include a 2007 Vanquish S with manual conversion and two Lagondas; a 1983 Tickford and a 1989 Series 4 example. It will be interesting to see how these cars perform in addition to the other Astons that will be going through the block next month in Paris.
Aston Martin 'Generations' Photoshoot
Early this month we carried out a photoshoot of four Aston Martins that cover some of the key generations in the marque's history. The cars in question were a DB5, 'Oscar India' V8, V8 Vantage V550 and NP Vanquish S, which covered Aston Martin production cars from 1964 right up to 2005. It was fascinating to see how the design elements have changed through the decades, but the fundamental DNA of Aston Martin is instantly recognisable across all of the exquisite examples. Please contact if you are looking to either purchase or sell any Aston Martin from the 1950s right up to the present day!
Restoration Timeline - Aston Martin Short Chassis Volante Completion
Desmond J Smail is internationally recognised for carrying out the finest restoration work on Aston Martin models, with hundreds of projects being completed in the past 20 years. Here we give a brief insight into one of these magnificent projects that we completed on a Short Chassis Volante. With just 37 of these incredibly rare models being produced, it was a pleasure to carry out a complete 'nut-and-bolt' restoration on this magnificent example. Here you can see the rebuild and completion of the stunning restoration on the SCV; now finished in the strongest combination of Cumberland Grey over Bordeaux and converted to LHD.
Restoration Timeline - Aston Martin Short Chassis Volante Strip-Down
Desmond J Smail is internationally recognised for carrying out the finest restoration work on Aston Martin models, with hundreds of projects being completed in the past 20 years. Here we give a brief insight into one of these magnificent projects that we completed on a Short Chassis Volante. With just 37 of these incredibly rare models being produced, it was a pleasure to carry out a complete 'nut-and-bolt' restoration on this magnificent example. In this part of the timeline, we show the strip down of the SCV to bare chassis. Stay tuned for the finished car and please enquire for details on our restoration services.
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)
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.


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.


Summer 2019 Desmond On... Auctions 1
Summer 2019

Desmond On... Auctions

The Bonhams Aston Martin auction was certainly a mixed sale, however this was countered by a few selected highlight results. The DB5 result was a classic example of ‘auction fever’ as there are superior cars available on the retail market at less money; however, it was certainly a good result for the market. It was a similar story with the RM Sale, with another stand out result being the Short-Chassis Volante. As with the DB5, there are higher quality cars available on the market, but again the price realised can only help these examples. It is always important to remember that the auction houses are not primarily concerned with quality, as their main objective is to sell cars, which is understandable. However, when analysing auction results, these are not necessarily a true reflection of retail values in the market! Looking forward, it will be interesting to attend the ‘Evening with Aston Martin’ that will kick off RM’s Monterey sales in August. It feels like RM are trying to emulate the feel of the previous Works Sales held at the factory but taking the sale to a larger and currently more buoyant market. I just hope that the quality of the cars being offered can match the quality of the marketing and event. Regardless, it is certainly good for the brand to be the centre of attention at the start of the largest event in the classic automotive calendar.
January 2019 - Scottsdale Auctions Preview

As we head into the new year, the international classic car market as ever will be launched by the Scottsdale auctions in Arizona, USA this month. Sales are being held by RM Sotheby's, Gooding & Co. and Bonhams with a number of special Aston Martins taking centre stage in all of the sales. The star Aston Martin to go through the block is an original LHD DB6 Volante, with Gooding offering a well presented example finished in Black over Tan. Gooding also have a rare DB2/4 Coupe by Bertone, believed to be the only of its type. Other notable Astons at the sales include an original LHD DB6 and V8 Vantage Volante being offered by RM and a DB5 Saloon through Bonhams.
August 2018

Aston Martin DP215 sells for $21.5m at RM in Monterey

RM Sotheby's has recently sold Aston Martin DP215 at its Monterey sale for just shy of $21.5m. DP215 represents the end of the David Brown era and the pinnacle of Aston Martin’s competition activities in the 1960s. 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. Following the momentous sale of the DP215, RM announced that it will officially partner with Aston Martin and hold a single-marque sale during Monterey Car Week in 2019, 50 years after the British manufacturer’s maiden victory at Le Mans.
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.