Bold V12-engined CC100 concept car takes cues from 1959 Le Mans race car

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.

The CC100 — nicknamed DBR100 internally — is close to the Vantage in length, at about 4.5m, but it is much wider, at about 2m, and considerably lower, giving it a radically profile and proportions. Insiders have revealed its weight to be less than 1200kg, a saving of more than 400kg over a V8 Vantage.

Reichman, who worked alongside exterior design chief Miles Nurnberger to create the concept, describes the CC100’s body as being part of the structure to increase rigidity, something that is expected to carry over to future Astons. 

“The unconnected front wheelarches show that we’re starting to think of the body less as wrapping around wheels but as being an integral part of the structure,” he said.

Full carbonfibre bodywork was used by Aston for the first time on the One-77 and Vanquish, and its reappearance for the CC100, Reichman admitted, shows a future trend for Aston, although the cost of the material is preventing a wider application.

The bonding of carbonfibre into the mainly aluminium VH structure in the Vanquish and CC100, coupled with a full carbonfibre monocoque for the One-77, are also clues to where Aston’s platform strategy is heading, Reichman hinted.

“Carbonfibre has real flexibility in its form and rigidity in its structure, and it is torsionally stiff and light, but it also has a high price as its main downside,” he said. “It is a material you won’t be able to avoid in sports cars in the future, although aluminium makers are responding with improved technology of their own as its in their business interests to do so.”

Continued advancements in the manufacturing of carbonfibre also mean parts that might have taken a month to be turned from concept to reality before are now able to be delivered in just a matter of days, Reichman revealed.

Reichman said that the new design themes on the CC100 would be gradually rolled out on the continually updated Aston Martin range rather than put on a new car in one fell swoop. 

“We are always about evolution at Aston Martin rather than revolution,” he said. “It gives you better, more beautiful designs. With revolution you can fail. Evolution improves. If no one had ever invented the sports car, then we could do a revolution but we’ve already got it and are evolving it.”

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Comments
19

19 May 2013

Are as skint as we are meant to believe, why are they wasting money on projects like this?

19 May 2013

Just wow... Looks amazing, love the colour as well...

19 May 2013

C'mon Aston, you can do better than this for a concept. It looks a little disjointed, and designed by committee. So homogenous next to the achingly beautiful 50's original.

19 May 2013

Citytiger@

If they don't,they are in danger of in a few years of not being there, gone, no more, this concept shows there is still some life there within Aston Martin.This car,as is, would sell,design a roof for it?....yep, that would sell too,competition for Jaguars new F series..?, most definately.

Peter Cavellini.

19 May 2013

Peter Cavellini wrote:

Citytiger@

If they don't,they are in danger of in a few years of not being there, gone, no more, this concept shows there is still some life there within Aston Martin.This car,as is, would sell,design a roof for it?....yep, that would sell too,competition for Jaguars new F series..?, most definately.

They said the same when Lotus starting producing concept cars,  5 wasnt it, their new range, look at them now, almost extinct. 

19 May 2013

Tend to agree about Lotus,but Lotus isn't Lotus if get my drift,Aston on the other hand are producing a far better quality product,and up until the arrival of this concept, i'd have agreed with you,but, this shows promise,now they just need to please there Masters, plead there business plan for this car,i think this car a goer(pardon my pun).

Peter Cavellini.

19 May 2013

Why are people having a go at Aston Martin for celebrating their 100th birthday? I think it looks great, certainly different to all the other Aston's that are impossible to tell apart from more than a couple of feet away

19 May 2013

I like this. I like it a lot!

From the new front grille to the rear, the detailed alloy wheels to the front wheel arch design are all muscular and yet beautiful. Just like how Ferrari used to make them!

Aston, PLEASE PLEASE adopt these design cues. This particular car is obviously one for the investor, but to make it worthwhile it sure has to have the breathed on V12 to distinguish it from the Vantage, no? 

At long last a new (and successful) design language I was hoping for. Bring these on and don't forget to offer DSG/Manual options on all sporting models!

19 May 2013

Its foolish to compare  Aston with Lotus in the way you have above. Lotus was too ambitious and we all know this.

This on the other hand demonstrates that Aston Martin acknowledges the Market View of its range. Until now, bar the One-77, it has been too reticent to change the language it created with the DB9 and  what minor changes brought to the basic tenet which have followed in the form of the Virage and Vanquish have arguably been seen as 'aferthoughts' and incongruent.

In addition, Aston has upped the power of its V12 engines significantly, which is welcome. It just needs to bring effective Manual or failing this, DSG options to bring their range forward. The VH platform may be viewed as 'old', but all performance tests carried out reinforce how sorted Aston Martin chassis dynamics are, so if this aspect of the vehicle is not broken why fix it?

This seems to me to be the fruits of Investindustrial money (though I may be wrong) and in my view, wherever the funds are coming from, its money well spent.   

19 May 2013

marketing, the brand needs coverage so they do this to keep market interest or brand up

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