The museum, run by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, is located in the small village of Drayton St Leonard, near Wallingford. No wonder I didn't know the museum existed. Even following the brown sign and driving through the village, it's not exactly easy to find. I felt as though I was on a mission worthy of Bond as I had to stop a couple of times to consult the directions on the website (the sat nav will only get you so far). And to add to the Bondian air, Chinooks, presumably from nearby RAF Benson, were flying low overhead.
I eventually found the museum, which is housed in a magnificent medieval barn (itself worth the admission fee) built for the monks of Dorchester Abbey. The museum is small – the building shares its space with the offices and archive of the Aston Martin Owners Club – but what wonderful things it contains.
|Inside the Aston Martin museum|
There were more treasures around the edges of the barn. Display cases of trophies, medals and flags spoke of Aston Martin's many successes on the race track. Another case celebrated its drivers, among them the legendary Sir Stirling Moss (who takes his place in Bond lore as a character in one of Ian Fleming's unused television series treatments ('Murder on Wheels') and the basis of Lancy Smith in Anthony Horowitz's Trigger Mortis (2015)). Seeing the helmet and overalls worn by Stirling Moss during his time driving for Aston Martin was a thrill.
|A helmet worn by Stirling Moss|
|The James Bond display|
Like the cars themselves, the museum isn't large inside, but it's very well put together and endlessly fascinating. It's a must-see for any Bond fan.