Aston Martin DBS V8 ‘Sotheby Special’ (Ogle) (1972)
Aston Martin DBS V8 by Ogle Design – ‘The Sotheby Special’
Designer: Tom Karen
The unusual Ogle Aston Martin was first shown at the Montreal Motor Show in January 1972. The idea behind it came from David Ogle in the 1960’s but it wasn’t until after his death that the project really evolved to a finished car. With the cost of the car being met by the tobacco company, W.O.Wills, the car was designed and built during 1971 under the guidance of Tom Karen. The car was known as ‘The Sotheby Special’ and finished in dark blue with gold pinstripes in order to promote the cigarette brand that Wills had just introduced. As the brand failed, the car was repainted in the ‘Embassy’ colours of white with a logo of red triangles.
Based on a DBS V8 chassis, the bodywork was constructed from glass-fibre and above the waistline is totally formed from glass supported on a tubular frame of Reynolds 531 (as also used on the very best bicycle frames at the time). The rear panel was made of a single sheet of brushed stainless steel with 22 holes cut into it for the rear lamps. The harder the driver braked, the more lights were illuminated. The headlamps are hidden by panels that drop down when the lamps are in use.
Also of note is that the car has a single sideways rear seat which must make this the only post war three seater Aston Martin.
The problem with a car such as the Ogle that so closely follows fashion, is that it can start to look outdated very quickly – and I’m afraid that it does look very ’70’s’. But despite it’s looks, the reduction in weight by having a fibreglass body made the Ogle significantly quicker than the standard DBS V8.
The original ‘Sotheby Special’, GHU120K, has proved very elusive to me but was seen in public at the Aston Martin Centenary Celebration at Kensington Palace in July 2013. It also is held in a private collection in the UK.
A second sister car, GRA679, based on a slightly later AM V8 automatic chassis, was also built as the result of a request of a private customer in 1973. But the price was very high indeed. The car was reputed to have cost £28,750 when the standard car was only £8,749.
Back in 1965, Ogle Design was also responsible for design concept interior for the DB5.