BACK IN LIMELIGHT – SILK ROAD ASTON MARTIN WARNED OF COVID

Civic Award presented to the driver
Civic Award presented to the driver

Richard Meredith (left) and owner Stuart Doughty
Richard Meredith (left) and owner Stuart Doughty

One of Aston Martin’s most famous cars came out of retirement last week.

The V8 Vantage  is back in the limelight after an endurance trip warned of the dangers of diseases like Covid.

Richard Meredith, a travel author from Newport Pagnell, drove the sponsored V8  across 10,000 miles from Japan to London raising money for UNICEF back in 2007.

It set a record as the first car to cross the new Highway network uniting Asia and the West but in Meredith’s  book of the trip he warned it could open up the world to pandemics, drug running and people trafficking.

The journey was facilitated by the United National and won Meredith a Civic Award from the authorities at Milton Keynes, but he is sad that his warnings went mostly unheeded.

The car is now owned by Stuart Doughty, a classic car collector from Kidderminster, who has preserved every detail .

It was one of the ‘stars’ at last week’s  Aston Martin Heritage Festival  at the Dallas Burston Polo Club near Southam when hundreds of Astons converged from across the UK.

Reunited with the car, Meredith said: “ because I live in Newport Pagnell – the spiritual home of Aston Martin – I was immensely proud to drive this car into the history books but it was the risks of global travel that worried me most.”

Co-piloted by a multi-lingual travel  expert from South London, their trip took 49 days. Mechanically, he says the car  ‘did not miss a beat’  but there were considerable customs delays, especially in China.

Meredith’s book of the journey “Driven Together”, has enjoyed increased sales since the global pandemic struck and there has been a scramble to act on the poor border checks and controls he warned about.

Meanwhile, China’s  President Xi  has continued to pour  $s billions into developing the new Silk Road network in what he calls his ‘Belt and Road’ project.

 

Contacts:  PR :  Jack Reynolds 07980.286992; Author: Richard Meredith  01908.618439

Driven Together is published by Mercury Books    ISBN 9780954143244

Cover of the book and map-log of the journey
Cover of the book and map-log of the journey

Pride of place: 100-year-old A3 rebuilt by Ecurie Bertelli at Olney
Pride of place: 100-year-old A3 rebuilt by Ecurie Bertelli at Olney

The journey car; still in its travelling livery
The journey car; still in its travelling livery
Aston Martins far as eye can see
Aston Martins far as eye can see