Aston Martin pledges to continue with its continuations
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer has confirmed the company intends to create a new ‘heritage’ model every year in future. Following the success of the new run of DB4 GTs and Goldfinger DB5s, Palmer told Motor Sport that there were more than enough cars with sufficient cachet for an annual batch of continuations to be sustainable indefinitely.
“We are determined to do one heritage special every year,” he said. “We did fear what they might do for the old cars, but in fact they make them seem even more special. We announced that we were three times over-subscribed for the Goldfinger DB5, in fact we’re much more than that now…”
In response to the suggestion that such cars risked creating the impression that Aston Martin was exploiting rather than celebrating its past, Palmer added, “There must be a point where you do too much or you don’t do it elegantly. But we make it in the original factory, we try to make it in the original way and we try to keep the volumes tight. If we said we were going to make 1000 DB5s, that could potentially undermine things. But we’re not about to do that.”
Palmer sees very little limit on the number of different models that could be suitable, pointing out that the company has more than 100 years of history from which to choose. And he describes as ‘fair game’ any car from Aston’s past – up to and including all those that were made at the Newport Pagnell factory, the current home of Aston Martin Works where the recreations are built. That means something as recent as a 2007 Vanquish S could feasibly be considered.
He is also certain that customers will be able to register continuation cars for road use, even though Aston Martin is unable to do so itself. This is because Aston Martin is too large a company to qualify for Individual Vehicle Approval, so would instead need to gain full Type Approval for the cars.
Palmer is not saying what the next continuation car will be, but describes its announcement as ‘imminent’. By the time you read this its identity might already be public knowledge. He also says it is an ‘anniversary car’, so one contender could be the DB4, which is 60-years old this year. The identity of the subsequent car is somewhat easier to guess, 2019 being the 60th anniversary of Aston Martin winning both Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship. If there is not a continuation DBR1, I will eat this laptop.
Aston Martin has also revealed technical details of its first all-electric road car, the much anticipated Rapide E, which is due to be delivered to its first customers approximately one year from now. The Rapide E will be the first product to be built in Aston Martin’s new St Athan factory in South Wales and will be based on the existing Rapide architecture. In place of the 6-litre V12 will come two electric motors with a combined output of 600-plus bhp and 700lb of torque. It will have an 800-volt electrical architecture using more than 5600 lithium-ion cells. It is hoped to have a range of at least 200 miles and can add 185 miles of range per hour plugged into a typical 400V, 50kW charger. Performance is claimed to be 0-60mph in less than 4sec and a top speed of 155mph. Aston Martin also claims the Rapide E will complete a quick lap of the Nürburgring with zero performance loss.
The Rapide E will be developed with Williams Advanced Engineering and provide Aston Martin with crucial experience and knowledge of developing electrical architectures in advance of its Lagonda marque launching as the world’s first all-electric luxury automotive brand in 2021, its Vision Concept is above. The price of the Rapide E is likely to exceed £200,000. Just 155 units will be built.
LISTER’S 200MPH SUV
The Lister Motor Company has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first 200mph SUV. Like the previous F-type-based LFT-666, the Lister LFP is a heavily modified Jaguar, this time using the F-Pace SUV as donor vehicle. Power is said to be 670bhp, about 130bhp more than the hottest F-Pace SVR can muster from its 5-litre supercharged V8. This is said to be enough to top 200mph and pass 62mph in 3.5sec on the way. The LFP will be priced at approximately £140,000, nearly double the price of the most expensive F-Pace, and the order books are open now.
LANCIA DELTA ‘REBORN’
Perhaps the most revered hot hatchback of all is to receive an unlikely renaissance thanks to an eccentric Italian millionaire.
The Lancia Delta Futurista is the work of AutomobiliAmos, a company owned by Eugenio Amos, a man with not just an interesting take on an old classic, but a refreshingly robust way of looking at it. He admits that, “I can only offer what I like, even if it’s an end in itself, apparently useless” and that the €300,000 he is asking for each one of the 15 cars he will build is expensive. What customers will be buying is an original but rebuilt and highly modified Delta Integrale comprising more than 1000 new parts. Most notable is the deletion of the rear doors, though those who think the B-pillars should have been moved rearward to even out the styling do not perhaps understand entirely what such a move would cost to engineer. The bodywork is mainly carbon fibre, the interior fashioned largely from Alcantara, while under the bonnet comes a motor sport-tuned 2-litre 16-valve engine producing about 300bhp, with suspension completely retuned to promote oversteer rather than understeer. Not for nothing has it already been described as being to the Delta Integrale what Singer is to the Porsche 911. Praise indeed…
MERC’S E NUMBERS
Mercedes-Benz has revealed its first all-electric family car. It’s called the EQC, is based on the platform of the GLC SUV and will be a close rival to the extant Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. Mercedes has announced it will launch up to 10 pure electric vehicles between now and 2025.
The EQC comes with two electric motors, one for each axle to provide all-wheel-drive capability, which deliver 402bhp, enough to propel it to 62mph in 5.1sec. It has an 80kWh battery offering a 249 mile range on the WLTP (Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure) cycle.
Comparisons to the I-Pace are interesting, for while the Jaguar is similarly powerful, it is almost 300kg lighter, more accelerative and provides a 292-mile range. The reason seems to be one of expedience, Mercedes preferring to get representation in a market due to expand exponentially in the coming years. To do that, instead of creating a new, expensive and dedicated platform specifically for electric cars, it has chosen to modify what it already had. While inevitably imposing a compromise, it is a quick and affordable way of gaining an early presence in a market populated by Tesla and Jaguar alone, but which within the next year will expand to include both the Audi e-tron (due to be revealed next month) and next year’s Porsche Taycan.