Today I’m in, where else, Yorkshire, to drive proud Yorkshireman David Brown’s first model from his startup car company, David Brown Automotive.
It’s a firm that makes no bones as to where its inspiration for its Speedback GT comes from. 1960s classic British sports cars. The only thing not directly mentioned by the firm is the Aston Martin DB5 itself (well, not officially, at least).
Purists were, following the London reveal, a little unsure of this approach. No point going over the debate now – I want to get out onto North Yorkshire’s epic-looking Tour de France roads in good time – so let’s focus on David Brown’s reason for creating the car: to cater for the rich, enthusiastic people who want a lovely-looking classic, but don’t want the discomfort, unreliability and general hassle that goes with it.
Why not offer them a coachbuilt modern alternative instead, that takes a similar approach to that favoured by Enzo Ferrari and umpteen others back in the 60s: take a rolling chassis and hand-build a bespoke body to put on top of it?
And don’t get just anyone to do it, but choose a firm that does OEM engineering work for the company that built the car you’re basing it on, too. Envisage Group resides just up the road from Jaguar’s Whitley engineering HQ and knows the supercharged XK like the back of its hand. If anyone would know how to put a money-no-object hand-beaten aluminium body crafted by independent designer Alan Mobberley, it’s them: it may not be your own scratchbuilt chassis but, given the huge expense of developing platforms today, this is perhaps the next best thing.
You could even argue this is a low-volume, specialist approach to architecture-sharing and platform-engineering, just like Volkswagen Group companies do.
Pub car park test: convincing…
Whatever your take, there’s no denying there’s a lot of engineering integrity (and time, and expense) put into this car, that makes it far more than just a Jaguar that’s been given an Aston-look body. It is a car in its own right (the registration documents say so) and thus should be treated as so.
Roll on the drive in the next few hours then. And do you know what has me more encouraged than perhaps I might have expected? Seeing it parked up outside the pub we’re staying in as I arrived yesterday evening. Away from the crowds and artificial lights of its London reveal, proudly wearing Brum-branded registration plates, it looked pretty…. well, convincing.
Of course, it’s a pretty car. How could one inspired by a DB5 not be? But it’s not an awkward reinterpretation, or something that uncomfortably blends Jaguar XK bits with Aston Martin bits. No, it simply looks pretty, and elegant, and quite beautifully finished, and something I could say seemed convincing with conviction, rather than shuffle inside and awkwardly skirt around giving any judgement when David Brown himself surprised me with a cheery handshake at hotel check-in.
It looked right, parked outside. What do you think?
Follow Motoring Research on Twitter for thoughts and images from the test drive this morning… and come back later for our first impressions…