Aston Martin Arcadia Tokyo 2023: immortalising 110 years of craftsmanship and carmaking excellence

Aston Martin Arcadia Tokyo 2023: immortalising 110 years of craftsmanship and carmaking excellence

Turning 110 is no mean feat. Car brands exist in the thousands, but few have made it past the century mark. Besides Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin is the only other ultra-luxury automaker to survive the unrelenting test of time.

Behind the gleaming sheen of its present day cars and interindustry collaborations with big-name players is a tale of many failures and salvations, but never has the brand thrive the way it does today.

So, for its 110th birthday, the automaker pulled out all the stops for a show aptly called Aston Martin Arcadia. It was, essentially, a one-of-a-kind Concours d’Elegance the likes of which the world has never seen before, right in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. If you find the venue familiar, that’s because it’s the prestigious Senso-ji Temple, an iconic landmark you may have visited yourself.

An exclusive permission was given to Aston Martin to pull off this unprecedented spectacle, which saw more than 70 special models displayed all over Tokyo’s oldest and most significant temple. Everything from the David Brown 995 tractor, the DB2, coachbuilt Zagato specials, Lagonda Taraf and Valkyrie were present, much to the delight of unassuming tourists. Really, not one of them expected to see an ensemble of Aston Martins that weekend.

The automaker also took the opportunity to field the new DB12 Volante and limited-run Valour, effectively marking the duo’s regional debut. Models that stole the show for me were the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation (what a treat it was to see this ageless icon in the metal), DBR22, Valour, Valhalla, and DBS Superleggera.

Now, in an era where EVs are all the rage, indulge me this. The Valour, a 110-year milestone creation (clearly a bespoke one at that) with a production cap of 110 units, is deemed to be the only front-engined V12 sports car in the world that currently ships with a manual gearbox.

It draws power from a 5.2 litre biturbo V12 (same engine in the DBS Superleggera) that packs 715 PS and 753 Nm of torque, complete with a mechanical LSD and bespoke suspension setup. The design may not appeal to the masses, but trust me when I say that it’s just dripping sexy in the metal.

Japan is the single largest market for Aston Martin in our part of the world, so it would have been wise to preface this story with the fact that most cars on display are actually privately owned. And yes, that includes the Valkyrie AMR Pro, Vulcan, and V12 Speedster. They all run, too, even after 80 years!

On the opposite end of the spectrum were the Cygnet (of which there are 20 in Japan), the 84-year-old Aston Martin Speed Model Type C (which won the Best in Show award), as well as the DBX707 AMR23 Edition and AMR23 F1 car. The Arcadia was practically a museum.

Once the awards ceremony had concluded, no less than 50 cars formed what was to be the largest Aston Martin owners parade in the Asia Pacific region. They departed from Senso-ji Temple and made a three-hour trip southwest to the gorgeous foothills of Mount Fuji. You could probably tell where this is going next.

The following morning, over 110 Aston Martin owners gathered at the Fuji Speedway (one of my personal favourite race tracks) for a full track day. Again, this event was the largest of its kind for the brand in the region. There was also a special surprise that literally flew in from Australia – the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition. If you had to ask the price for one…

As typical track days go, there were activities lined up over the course of the day, which included four dedicated driving sessions – Heritage Run, Family Run, Special Run, and a Finale Parade Run. Professional hot laps saw steel-bellied passengers ride shotgun in the DBX707, though the Valkyrie made sure its presence was properly felt (and heard, as its 6.5 litre V12 NA engine climbs towards 10,500 rpm) whenever it rolled out the pit lane.

We’ll close with a quote from Gregory Adams, Aston Martin Regional President of Asia Pacific, who said: “I am immensely proud to have hosted the first Aston Martin Arcadia in Japan, marking not only the end of a very special year of 110th anniversary celebrations, but the beginning of a new tradition for our owners in the Asia Pacific region.”

“It has been a great pleasure to see so many wonderful examples of Aston Martins from over the years come together in such spectacular fashion and share in this with our owners and enthusiasts alike. We look forward to hosting the next Aston Martin Arcadia in 2025, where we will continue to showcase Aston Martin as the world’s most desirable ultra-luxury brand, and even more cutting-edge technology, flawless craftsmanship, and timeless design.”

GALLERY: Aston Martin Arcadia at Senso-ji Temple

GALLERY: Aston Martin Arcadia at Fuji Speedway

GALLERY: Official Press Photos

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Matthew H Tong

An ardent believer that fun cars need not be fast and fast cars may not always be fun. Matt advocates the purity and simplicity of manually swapping cogs while coping in silence of its impending doom. Matt's not hot. Never hot.

 

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