If you’re looking for a reason to bring out the bunting and support your favourite marque, then there’s never been a better year than 2013. Want to know why?
As most of us know, a 50-year achievement is usually represented by a “golden anniversary” and while last year was the 50th anniversary of James Bond films, 2013 will see Porsche’s 911 reach its half-century, Lamborghini celebrate the same milestone and of course last week was Aston Martin’s double-half-century (see, I cheated there, but 50 is a cool number in 2013 and Aston have earned two of them).
While we’re on the subject of anniversaries, put a note in your diary for the 12th-14th July, which marks the 20th running of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, still a while to go until it reaches 50 but it doesn’t seem that long ago since I attended the first.
Porsche has been remarkably quiet about the 911’s big year. There remain several barometers by which we still measure car ownership – you must own an Alfa Romeo because then you’ll understanding the true meaning of passion, you must own a Lotus because only then will you know what ride/handling balance means and you must own a Porsche 911 because no other car in the history of the automobile has been so thoroughly engineering to maximise its available performance.
I’m sure there are several more we could add to this list, however you’re vocabulary isn’t complete until you’ve ticked these boxes. It’s bucket-list 101.
So what can we expect for the big 5-0?
Obviously there will be a 50th Anniversary special edition model – perhaps with a retro theme, but we’re also due the 991-based GT3, Turbo and glass-roofed Targa variants before a GT3 RS and GT2 join the range in 2014. September’s Frankfurt show will be a huge celebration for the marque, while there’s a return to Le Mans scheduled with two 911 RSR race cars.
Also keep a look out on the F1 paddock for the new 991-based GT3 Cup – the 453bhp 3.8-litre race car receives a paddle-shift operated six-speed sequential gearbox for the first time, which should make racing even closer (if that’s at all possible).
2013 was already set to be the 911’s most important year, but it gained even greater significance with the passing of its designer, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, last year. Porsche will either make its 50th Anniversary model even more special, or look out for something truly unique to mark his outstanding contributions.
Although the car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show, don’t expect Porsche to wait until the end of the year before releasing the fireworks.
Lamborghini’s 50th Anniversary celebrations are about to get underway.
The main event kicks off in May 2013 with a nationwide Grand Tour across Italy, but there will be plenty to catch your eye before then. The Grand Tour kicks off in Milano on May 7th, proceeding down to Rome before heading back up to Lamborghini’s home in Sant’Agata Bolognese on Saturday, May 11th.
This will be another must-see event for car enthusiasts, if you haven’t seen a Lamborghini driving in Italy, then you really haven’t lived.
Between Lamborghini and close-neighbour Ferrari, it’s a wonder Italians have any passion left – you owe it to yourself to witness such a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle which will be free to spectate, or if you’d like to join in, just visit the special 50th Anniversary website.
In 1964, a 27-year-old Bruce McLaren penned the words “Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.” Sadly the designer, engineer and Kiwi race driver would live only 5 years longer, but the company he founded one year earlier continues achieving as it reaches its 50th anniversary.
Nowadays, the McLaren Group employs more than 2000 people and on September 2nd 2013 they’ll celebrate a golden era for the company.
It’s a long way from a small south London lock-up back in 1963, but 2013 will reverberate to the sound of McLaren’s race and sports cars that will extend far beyond the streets of London in a series of unique events and celebrations to be held throughout the year as McLaren revels in its past and celebrates its future.
‘McLaren 50’ logos will be proudly worn on team shirts, and a specially commissioned heritage video will accompany the launch of the MP4-28 Formula 1 car next month.
Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren Group said: “McLaren’s history is long and storied, but McLaren’s legacy is harder to define – and that’s because it’s still being vividly written every day by the dedicated men and women who work at the McLaren Technology Centre.
“Bruce McLaren wrote the beginning of the story, and the legend is going to continue for many years to come. I’m only a chapter, not the book, and I want other people to come in and write their own chapters as time goes by.
“This is a book that’s still being written, and that, perhaps, is the greatest legacy of McLaren. Somewhere up there, we hope Bruce is smiling down on us, still gunning that throttle..”
And finally the centenarian among our trio. Aston Martin kicked off their anniversary celebrations last week in Dubai with a spectacular stunt on top of the Burj Al Arab hotel.
The new Vanquish was lifted onto the helipad at the iconic hotel, which sits 1,000ft above the ground at the top of the sail-shaped building.
The car maker will be marking its centenary year with an exclusive Centenary Edition specification that will be available worldwide on just 100 examples of each of its model lines: V8 Vantage, DB9, Rapide and Vanquish.
Featuring a unique graduated paint finish, solid sterling silver Aston Martin wings badges with tailored ‘trans flux’ enamel inlay and a special Aston Martin hallmark, the special exteriors will set the 400 cars aside from any other produced by the Gaydon car maker.
As with Porsche and Lamborghini there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved throughout the year.
A week-long Aston Martin festival will take place from 15th to 21st July. Designed to appeal to owners and enthusiasts of the brand, the Centenary Week will include ‘open house’ activities at Aston Martin’s exclusive Gaydon headquarters, including factory-based events and driving tours and will culminate in a 1,000-guest ‘birthday party’ on Saturday 20 July and a spectacular Centenary gathering in central London on Sunday 21 July.
In addition, the marque will make special appearances at major automotive events including the Nürburgring 24-Hours, Silverstone Classic, Villa D’Este, Le Mans 24-Hours, Pebble Beach concours plus a host of other events listed below.
Aston Martin Centenary Calendar 2013
|15 Jan||100th Birthday celebrations begin|
|17-20 May||Nürburgring 24hr Race|
|18 May||Bonhams Auction|
|6-7 July||AMOC Centenary Race|
|July thru Aug||Centenary Drives|
|15-21 July||Centenary Week|
|20 July||Aston Martin Birthday Party|
|21 July||Centenary Concours|
|27-28 July||Silverstone Classic|
In fact there are so many unique and spectacular events happening in 2013, you might just have to arrange some extended sick-leave from work.
I hear that after a wet winter in Europe, the pollen-count will go through the roof, with hay fever a VERY LIKELY problem for those who suffer from it (that’s you, right?).
You heard it here first..