Aston Martin, the UK luxury car maker, completes 102 years in the automobile industry seeing both ups and downs.
The new DB11 (which would be the upgraded version of DB9) and the new V8 Vantage are expected to herald the onset of Aston Martin entry into its second century.
The company had displayed its special edition cars at an exhibition appropriately dubbed ‘The Second Century Pavilion’ at Pebble Beach Concours in August this year. The cars exhibited included the new DB9, V8 Vantage, CC100, DP100 and the James Bond-exclusive DB10 among others.
Andy Palmer, the current CEO, took over the company when it was almost at its nadir with no new models in the pipeline and with acute shortage of resources too. Since then, the new CEO has been on a fund-raising spree and strategizing intensely for the future of Aston Martin.
He has also been in the thick of negotiations with legislative forces which are demanding a lot more electric versions from the company if it wants to continue making more carbon-spitting V12s. The battery-powered Rapide and DBX are models that would help Aston Martin to counter these legalities.
Aston’s new car architecture is dubbed V/H and was first introduced in the DB9, manufactured at the Warwickshire plant in 2003. The same V/H would find a place in the V8 Vantage, DBS and all its versions and in the 4-door Rapide.
This highly modular and creative vehicle architectural platform (which is expected to be used in different cars) was designed by Marek Reichman, the creative director of Aston Martin, who also served under the previous highly pragmatic CEO, Ulrich Bez.
The CC100 which was an exclusive vehicle built to commemorate Aston’s centenary was acquired by a client. Then the company replicated it and dubbed it DP100 which was a recreation of the car made specifically for the Sony/Polyphony Digital Gran Turismo franchise. Though the DP100 does not run, the company is willing to fit a suitable engine if required.
Ten DB10 two-seater cars, powered by V8 engines, are specially and exclusively built for Sam Mendes, the film director. James Bond will be seen sporting of these DB10s in the upcoming Bond film, ‘Spectre’. The new DB9 (to be called DB11) and the new Vantage are expected to be inspired a lot by this Bond exclusive.
Vantage V12 is seen as the greatest version of the Vantage lineup. It is effectively a road version of the highly successful, Aston GT3 racer. The Lagonda Taraf is also expected to come under production in small numbers to maintain uniqueness and exclusivity. These vehicles would leverage on the usage of carbon fiber with mechanicals borrowed from Rapide. The price range for the planned new Taraf is expected to be around £700,000.
Another hit from the Aston paddock is the Vantage V12 Zagato built in collaboration with Zagato, the famed coach-builders from Italy. This was also designed by Reichman. The One-77 (so called as there were 77 of these cars built) and the Vulcan are also seen by car enthusiasts among the best of the Aston Martins.
The One-77, priced at £1.2 million, is expected to garner sufficient funds from its own sales to fund for developing new technologies and processes for itself. The Vulcan, would be even more exclusive and would have only 24 vehicles built. Its price tag of £1.5 million would include simulator training and coaching by Darren Turner, Aston Martin’s Le Mans hero.