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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports Cars > Automobiles > TV > Aston Martin - Victory By Design (DTS DVD)

Aston Martin – Victory By Design (DTS)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Program: B



If you love sports cars, you know that the good material on them has been few and far between.  Even the first Super Speedway DVDs had problems, including in their DTS sound, but the Mach II editions blew that away with better DTS and anamorphically enhanced 16 X 9 images cut from the full 1.33 X 1 IMAX frame.  Outside of that, the few sports car programs issued have been audio duds, some of which still are in print.


Giving us the kind of DVD series we should have had in the first place, Goldcroft Films have launched an expanded, higher fidelity version of their Victory By Design series on DVD.  They not only come with DTS, but are also exceptionally shot anamorphically enhanced widescreen playback of the makes each DVD covers.  In this case, we are talking the great Aston Martin marque.  The cars covered are:



  • 1924 16-valve Twin Cam (200 mile racer)
  • 1923 Side-valve (sports model)
  • 1933 Le Mans (2/4 seater short chassis)
  • 1935 “Prince Bira” Ulster
  • 1936 Speed Model (“Red Dragon”)
  • 1936 Speed Model (“The Black Car”)
  • 1940 Speed Model (Type C)
  • DB2
  • DB3
  • DB3S
  • DBR1
  • DBR2
  • DBR4
  • DB4GT
  • DB4GT Zagato
  • Project 215
  • DBS V8 (Hamilton Le Mans)
  • AMR1
  • Vanquish


Instead of just covering the history of the company’s production cars or even coming up all the time with prototypes that never got made, production, racing, some prototypes and always rare models are used to tell the story and evolution of the legend.  They sometimes skip the obvious (the DB5 is noticeably skipped, though the James Bond connection is acknowledged early on), but also often offer incredibly advanced versions of some of the best production cars and host Alain de Cadenet drives them all!


In this DVD, we get car after car, driving and racing through exceptionally shot footage of the countryside.  This is simply beautiful, shot on clean and clear video with some depth.  Because the video master originates in the PAL format, I cannot tell if this is Digital High Definition or PAL Digital Beta, but it looks good and by being anamorphically enhanced, is hard to take your eye off of.  The camerawork is also exceptional for video, offering depth that will surprise many.  The sound is available in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surround, Dolby 5.1 and an especially exceptional DTS 5.1 mix that captures all the nuances of the sound and feel of these vehicles Dolby just cannot do.  The Aston’s sound better here than they do on any James Bond film, save the DTS DB5 race in Goldeneye (1995), but this is fuller than the DTS ES on Die Another Day (2002).  The resulting combination is the reason why people spend the money to have HDTVs and advanced home theater systems.  It is a real treat and true pleasure to have such an intelligent, rich, well-rounded, serious look at a program by people who love these cars as much as anyone.  It also shows that Documentary (yes, it is more than smart enough to qualify, with occasional film clips to boot) and Special Interest titles can go a few round with TV and Feature Film titles any day.


I especially liked the Le Mans version of the DBS, an underrated Aston that was in the Bond films On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and very briefly (being loaded with missiles) in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).  It was not successful then, but when we look at it now, we see how amazing the car was and the Le Mans version is stunning.  They also skipped the more recent Vantage and Volante, but like the DB7, were not key groundbreakers for the make.  I was surprised by the omission of the Bulldog, the gullwing Aston Supercar that has a legendary reputation for those privileged to know it.


Of course, you could do a mini-series on Aston Martin, and there are always going to be special models and one-of-a-kinds like the ones here we will only have so many chances to see.  With that said, this installment of Victory By Design is outstanding for its expanded 70-minutes length.  You will not see the extra footage on The Speed Channel and they do not broadcast in DTS.  Add the must-see, 23-minutes-long promo documentary for the initial six installments and you have a must-have DVD for serious car and DVD fans.  My only misgiving is that the print on the scene selection is slender and cool, but might not be a legible on some TV monitors.


This and other DVDs from the series are only available from the manufacturer exclusively, so you can order and get more information at www.VictoryByDesign.com or call toll free at 1-877-466-6660 to get your hands on this great series.  I would start with Aston Martin.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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