Leaving Las Vegas in an Aston Martin Rapide S
The human swarm pauses in little clots to admire a volcano-red Rapide S. A pair of men wobble across six lanes of static traffic to take a quick look, clutching long-necked bulbs of something alcoholic, and steer themselves with the skew-whiff determination of the truly inebriated. They pause in front of the endless bonnet, and shout, as if I'm a few hundred feet away, rather than six: "YEAH! Like... YEAH! Sweet ride, man! LET'S HEAR IT!!!" They then cup their ears and stare in the manner of the whiskey-simple. I prod the Rapide into ‘P' and blip the throttle a few times, causing the young men to fall about in a flurry of whoops and catcalls. This happens a lot. Somehow, it never gets boring.
It's not just people, either. The roadway that makes up the Las Vegas Strip, the broad artery through the middle of the town, is eight lanes wide, clogged like a fat man's heart. Saturday night, and it is gridlocked with cabs, buses, tour coaches, rented Mustangs, SUV limousines stretched past practicality - or, in a couple of cases, plausibility - pickup trucks, the odd supercar... and us. Yet another advertisement flares from a 60ft television just above the roadway, bursting into life like a firework. The Aston slides between stoplights with a lazy, deep-lunged burr as it pulls away, the initial growl like the herald of a lightly orgasmic lion. A purring rawrr of lazy V12. It's not got the whipping revs of a mid-engined supercar, but feels more stately, more grown-up. But, as time passes and dawn breaks, the new day leaches some of the night-time glamour from the neon, and it really does become obvious that this Aston has more to offer than the simple kitsch of The Strip.