Aston Martin has celebrated its centenary with a dramatic new concept car that reveals many clues about the firm’s future design direction.
Called CC100, the new concept also pays homage to Aston’s 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 racer by adopting a classic two-seat speedster shape. The CC100 is a fully working prototype capable of more than 100mph and was given its world debut at the Nürburgring 24 Hours last weekend on a demonstration lap driven by Aston boss Ulrich Bez, in formation with a DBR1 driven by Sir Stirling Moss.
The CC100 — it stands for Concept Car in Aston’s 100th year — has close visual links with the DBR1 at first glance. However, further inspection of the CC100 reveals the latest evolution of Aston’s design language and a whole host of flourishes, details and engineering ideas destined for its sports car line-up.
These include the latest interpretation of Aston’s grille design, a dramatic evolution of the firm’s signature side strakes and a new rear-end design that forges closer visual ties with the front of the car.
Underneath the carbonfibre-bodied CC100 is the latest version of Aston’s versatile and constantly evolving VH structure, complete with carbonfibre bonded on to parts of the rear, as with the Vanquish. Power comes from a 6.0-litre V12 engine mated to a six-speed automated manual transmission. The concept is good for 0-62mph in just over 4.0sec and a theoretical top speed limited to 180mph.
There are clues to the future of Aston Martin throughout the CC100 but it is in the design where they are most prominent, as Aston’s design director, Marek Reichman, revealed to Autocar.
“An Aston Martin is always beautiful and timeless, but timeless still can and needs to evolve,” he said. “For instance, we have had a great face with our grille for 60 years, and we’ve evolved it a huge amount here on CC100 while still making it instantly recognisable as an Aston.
“The front grille is now part of the body. It is the bodywork that gives the overall shape of the grille, rather than the grille being a graphic stuck on to the front of the car. Then within that shape you have the grille itself, with an insert giving a mirroring effect.”
The grille insert is intended for more sporting Astons, such as the Vantage. Reichman said that the look of this new grille could be made more luxurious for, say, a Rapide by removing the insert and having the body create the grille’s outline.
The side strake air vent is also now part of the body, rather than being a graphic stuck on the side. It cuts out of the top of the wheelarch, splitting the arch in two, and flows back into the sides for a sculpted, dramatic shape.
“The side strake is now actually the side of the car,” said Reichman. “Having the vent in the arch helps to reduce drag but also reinterprets what we know a side strake to be as it’s become the whole side of the car. It’s no longer a graphic and we will see this on Astons of the future.”
Another feature set to become a mainstay of future Astons is the turning of the firm’s instantly recognisable ‘C’ graphic on the rear lights into a 3D shape that flanks the rear of the car. Surrounding the lights is a shape that is essentially an upturned CC100 front grille without the top bar.
The concept, which was designed and built in less than six months, has what Reichman calls a “minimal but functional interior”. It has all the hallmarks that you’d expect of an extreme two-seat speedster, such as sports seats and harnesses, but with “added luxurious and hand-crafted touches to add to the function”.
The concept also reveals technologies that will be used on future Aston Martins, including a TFT display for the instrument binnacle in place of traditional dials, and full LED front headlights.