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This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending the day with Aston Martin‘s Operations manager over the eastern United States. Not only was it a delight to meet one of the few people responsible for the British automaker’s brand here in America, but it was also extra special because she is a woman succeeding in a “man’s” industry. Beth Paretta is a die-hard car enthusiast whose knowledge about the automobile (not just the Aston Martin variety) far exceeds any level of understanding that I could probably ever hope to achieve. She is a bona fide auto expert. She also drives like a pro and makes no apologies for it.
Beth and I connected a few months ago through Twitter (You can follow her @BethParetta). We had some humorous back-and-forth, and I wanted to get in touch with her to invite her to do a guest post for Be Car Chic. What she didn’t realize until we made first contact over email, was that I had been loosely following her career since AutoWeek included her in its 10 Secret People piece in 2009. (Click here to watch her video interview with AW’s Wes Raynal.) After that, I pretty much deemed Beth my auto industry hero.
On Saturday, I joined Beth at Aston Martins of Tysons Corner for a customer day to show the new Virage and Vantage S coupe and convertible. I spent a few hours with her at the dealership learning about the brand and its vehicles. I even got to take the new Vantage S convertible out for a spin! You should have seen the stares as two women zoomed by in a cherry red Aston Martin with the top dropped! See pictures from the event here. Following the dealer day, my husband and I attended the owners party at L2 Lounge – an exclusive club in the heart of Georgetown. We had a great time mingling with people who lead lives far more exciting than ours. (Oh, to dream!)
As it turns out, Beth is equally pleasant as she is knowledgeable. I enjoyed hearing from her about the high standard of quality that Aston Martin demands of its product. Having watched a documentary a few months ago on the car maker’s plant in Gaydon, England– I already knew that humans carefully build each and every Aston Martin through to completion. But here are a few interesting tidbits that I didn’t know:
- Aston Martin emblems are hand-crafted by jewelers in Birmingham, England, they are the last thing put on the car following its first test drive off of the line.
- Astons have “floating” headlights, which means there are no joints in the hood/front fascia to make it easier for adjusting the lens kit when installing it.
- All of their vehicles are hand-painted. Aston will pretty much paint your car whatever color you want – whether that’s a retired Aston Martin color from years ago or Lamborghini’s Arancio (orange)!
- While Aston will customize your car’s paint, interior, and stitching – custom orders in the U.S. rest at around 30 percent of the business. Paretta says that’s because of the American dealership setup. Plus, we like to see what we want prior to buying.