This is a special supplement to Cars Of Leonard Cohen, a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.
Leonard Cohen & The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S: Two (Unconnected) Icons
In reference to my Cars Of Leonard Cohen posts, a couple of Leonard Cohen fans have commented that I shouldn’t forget Leonard Cohen’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.
Well, as Leonard once observed, “I can’t forget but I don’t remember what.” (The lyrics of that song also include “I’m burning up the road.” Coincidence? Of course it is; don’t be silly.)
That Leonard Cohen owned an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is an induced misunderstanding. As Monk (that’s Adrian Monk, the titular detecctive on the TV show, not Leonard Cohen the Zen monk) would say, “Here’s what happened.”
A story entitled Chasing Zen in an Aston Martin: We follow Leonard Cohen’s road to spiritual resolution by Matt Bubbers appeared in the February 2, 2017 edition of The Globe and Mail with this opening [bolding mine]:
Leonard Cohen disappeared into the San Gabriel Mountains for six years, retreating from fame to the Mount Baldy Zen Centre, 60 kilometres east of Los Angeles. There, among the tall pines, he slept in a drafty cabin, meditating and doing chores during the long 18-hour monastery days.
He wasn’t looking for God – not exactly. In one of Cohen’s last interviews, he said to David Remnick of The New Yorker, “Whether [Zen] has a spiritual aspect is debatable. It helps you endure, and it makes whining the least appropriate response to suffering. Just on that level, it’s very valuable.” Sitting in my favourite Aston Martin, the last of its kind, as traffic stalled on Interstate 210 out of Los Angeles, I tried to keep this in mind. Whining is the least appropriate response to suffering. I only had a few hours in this borrowed $239,000 V12 Vantage S to go find some Don-Draper-Gwyneth-Paltrow-Goop-style Hollywood enlightenment through the enjoyment of expensive things, and I didn’t want to waste my time in traffic.
A careful reading reveals that while Leonard Cohen resided at the Mount Baldy Zen Center, it is the author of the article who drives a Aston Martin V12 Vantage S1. to and from that same Mount Baldy Zen Center.
The problem was exacerbated when the folks at ClassicCars.com Journal, who seem to know quite a bit about Aston Martins but not so much about Leonard Cohen, appear to have misread the Chasing Zen in an Aston Martin story, believing and publishing that it was Leonard himself at the wheel of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. The pertinent excerpt from 2018 Grammy winners and their cars (ClassicCars.com Journal: January 29, 2018)
Leonard Cohen – Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
2018 Grammy winners and their cars | ClassicCars.com JournalRock legend Leonard Cohen was awarded posthumously for his 2016 performance of “You Want it Darker.” In life, Cohen was strongly attached to his Aston Martin V12 Vantage S and often meditated while shifting gears behind that powerful V12 engine.
Now, back to cars actually affiliated with Leonard Cohen.
Credit Due Department: Photo by Automotive Rhythms
All posts in this series will be collected at Cars Of Leonard Cohen when they go online.
- An except from the article follows: “Aston Martin invited nostalgia when it fitted a seven-speed in the V12 Vantage S for one last hurrah. It knew what it was doing. It is the only car on sale – perhaps the last one ever – that offers a stick-shift paired with a V-12 engine. This combination – the automotive equivalent of gin and tonic, steak and Bordeaux, gefilte fish with a big dollop of horseradish – was once the core of all lust-worthy supercars: the Ferrari F50, the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Diablo. These cars are extinct and athis white-and-orange Aston is the last of the old guard [↩]