A man with amazing dedication, undeniable energy, and an unparalleled passion for life, Tadek Marek’s story is one that even 007 might envy. The „Steel Heart” documentary tells the story of the man who built James Bond’s legendary Aston Martin DB5’s engine.
Steel Heart follows all the dramatic turns of it – from a blossoming engineering career in Poland to his daring feats and scrape with near death in the world-renowned Monte Carlo Rallies, to his escape as a refugee during World War II and later attempting a daring rescue of his girlfriend. He finally fulfills his life’s’ vision as chief designer at Aston Martin in England, where he built his masterpiece – the legendary straight six engine.
Film director and motoring enthusiast, Andrzej Slazak, follows Tadek’s footsteps and visits some intriguing places throughout Europe where we learn some surprising facts and meet people who give Andrzej some tips to follow in discovering the engineer’s steel heart. We visit Berlin and Bucharest, where Tadek stole a German car and obtained forged diplomatic papers to get his girlfriend back from occupied Poland. Then we go to Paris and Casablanca – places where he struggles to survive whilst producing buttons from vinyl records. Then we show you the starting point of his race in the Monte Carlo Rally.
On Top of that, Andrzej visits the car and military factories in England where Tadek worked and the large house where he later lived there. This journey is interspersed with interviews of people associated with the Aston Martin Company. We will also get to ride in a personal car of Tadek’s and speak to its current owner. Then, it’s off to another trek to South Africa, where his son’s family now lives. Upon opening an old rusty storage box, Tadek’s personal photos and 8mm films are discovered and explored!
A DRAMATIC TRUE LIFE STORY
The incredible story of a man fascinated by the automobile, who had a vision for creating a new engine, but to see his passion realized he had to overcome the tragic conflicts of WWII.
First, Tadek the occupation of his native Poland to land in France, then makes his way to Casablanca, before finally ending up on the shores of England. Whilst in England, he joins the support for the Allied war effort, designing and building tank engines. After the war, whilst attempting to return home to Poland, he encounters a post-war Germany engulfed in chaos. There he falls in love with an English woman who becomes his wife, and he ends up returning to England with her. By a stroke of good fortune, he gets a job working for a fledgling company trying to build an exclusive sports car – Aston Martin.
PASSION TO PERFECT THE AUTOMOBILE
We will see that Tadek never rested. The total engineer, even when on holiday, he was always designing and redesigning at home in his garage.
We follow Tadek’s life long love for and career in motors starting in 1927, before the sweeping conflicts of Europe shaped his future: racing motorcycles before moving on to cars, helping to design military vehicles. Then, post-WWII, we follow his time at Aston Martin where he conceived his pièces de résistance and the beginning of the company’s worldwide success of today – Tadek’s engine.
OBSESSED WITH SPEED
Behind the steering wheel, Tadek Marek, pushed his machines to the limit, and himself mentally, physically and then some – a personal trademark that remained with him his entire life. As Dave Calhoun, Executive Chairman of Nielsen, said, „Like Bond’s love interests, his cars are always more than they appear: attractive on the surface but deadly beneath the bonnet.”
Photos: RM Sotheby’s