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David Brown Automotive will launch 'retro' sports car in Monaco next month; Speedback GT is based on Jaguar XKR and will command six-figure price tag
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3 mins read
28 March 2014

British businessman David Brown has revealed a new British sports car based on a Jaguar XKR and inspired by retro GT cars from the 1960s.

Brown, who bears no relation to the David Brown of Aston Martin fame, will launch the new car, called Speedback GT, at the Top Marques show in Monaco on 17 April.

Under the Speedback's unique, hand-formed aluminium panels are the complete platform and mechanical package of a Jaguar XKR. Management and designers from Jaguar have seen the Speedback and declared themselves happy with the project.

It will not compete with any Jaguars because a production Speedback will be much more expensive according to Brown, who envisages building 50 cars a year at most.

The design draws its inspiration from the likes of the Aston Martin DB5 and DB6 models from the 1960s, but designer Alan Mobberley, who did much design work on all three Land Rover Discovery generations and also shaped the 1981 Talbot Samba, says there are also shades of Ferrari and Maserati in the design.

There have been plenty of 'bespoke' British GT projects, typically with tubular frames, glassfibre bodies and an American 'crate' off-the-shelf V8. Nearly all have come to nothing.

Brown says the key differences between his project and other British start-ups, that have come to nothing, is the thoroughly engineered platform, and the ability to produce bespoke small parts by 3D scanning and printing.

All visible exterior and interior parts are unique to the Speedback, including switches made by 'direct metal laser sintering’ that builds the component from laser-melted nickel alloy in 63-micron layers. The Speedback is the first car to use this technology.

The prototype has been built by Envisage, a Warwick-based engineering and prototyping company which does work for major manufacturers but is also keen to build small runs of 'coachbuilt' cars. The Speedback will be the first, with a convertible version also in the plan.


The company says it won't be affected by Jaguar's recent decision to end production of the XK, as bodies and engines for that car will be around for some time to come.

Q&A David Brown, chairman of David Brown Automotive

The British specialist car industry is littered with shattered dreams. Why have you done it?

"I was on a classic car rally in the south of Spain, in a Ferrari Daytona. It kept breaking down and it was about 150 degrees in there. We'd hired a Peugeot 106 with air-con and everyone wanted to be in that, and not the Ferrari. So I decided to build a car with that sort of style and visual simplicity which would work properly."

Why now?

"There's a resurgence in the idea of coachbuilding, taking a chassis and putting a new interpretation on it, and new technology makes it possible to do it well. And we want to stress that the whole car is made in Britain."

What makes you qualified to run a new car company?

"My father was also David Brown – not that one, although our company also made tractors. We made earthmovers, too, and we bought Bedford Trucks from GM. My background has always been in engines and wheels."

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Jaguar XK

A smooth, svelte all-rounder of a grand tourer, which can equally cosset and thrill in equal measure when called upon

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What will people make of a car which looks rather like an Aston Martin and will be sold by David Brown Automotive?

"I haven't invited any feedback from Aston Martin. I'm not looking for their sanction on our product, nor to leverage off the other DB. This car will be what people perceive it to be, and happens to be funded and managed by a chap called David Brown."

How much will it cost?

"You'll have to wait for the announcement at the Top Marques show in Monaco next month, but it will be somewhere between £100,000 and £1m."

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bruceb 31 March 2014

I despair. Whenever a good

I despair. Whenever a good looking car comes on the scene (which is rare) all sorts jump up to call it a mess. No a mess is most modern safety regulations led heaps of rubbish. THIS is beautiful and desirable, something that has gone out of fashion in our peer-led pear-shaped piss-poor world.
versace 30 March 2014

Too late now, they've gotta make it work!

TOO LATE: The shape looks to be fixed; they could’ve done worse I guess. Thankfully, what they need to fix is just the trimming and detailing... CHROME TRIMMING NEEDS TO BE CONSISTENT: The chrome trim around the headlights looks abnormally thick, while around the front grill and windscreen it’s too thin. Then there are the taillights which don’t have any chrome trimming but should. And it all needs to be of a more consistent thickness... TAILLIGHTS: The taillights look cheap and nasty and don’t belong on the type of car this is portraying itself to be. They should really be bespoke items and, as already mentioned, have a chrome trim that matches the rest of the car. WHEELS: The wheels should probably be 22-inch to match the rest of the car’s proportions and, they should be a bespoke item also, designed exclusively for the car… SIDE MIRRORS: should also be bespoke units, likely chromed and, better matched to the car… INTERIOR: The steering wheel-mounted switchgear should be bespoke and in metal, and the silver colour should be replaced with an antique-gold-copper finish that would give the interior a more authentic, vintage look... BOTTOM LINE: It’s not going to be a cheap car at between 100K – 1Million, so if all of the additional bespoke items add an additional 20K or so on the sticker price, so be it. But the car needs to be meticulously detailed to perfection in order to stay true to what it is portraying itself to be.
versace 30 March 2014

Too late now, they've gotta make it work!

TOO LATE: The shape looks to be fixed; they could’ve done worse I guess. Thankfully, what they need to fix is just the trimming and detailing... CHROME TRIMMING NEEDS TO BE CONSISTENT: The chrome trim around the headlights looks abnormally thick, while around the front grill and windscreen it’s too thin. Then there are the taillights which don’t have any chrome trimming but should. And it all needs to be of a more consistent thickness... TAILLIGHTS: The taillights look cheap and nasty and don’t belong on the type of car this is portraying itself to be. They should really be bespoke items and, as already mentioned, have a chrome trim that matches the rest of the car... WHEELS: The wheels should probably be 22-inch to match the rest of the car’s proportions and, they should be a bespoke item also, designed exclusively for the car… SIDE MIRRORS: should also be bespoke units, likely chromed and, better matched to the car… INTERIOR: The steering wheel-mounted switchgear should be bespoke and in metal, and the silver colour should be replaced with an antique-gold-copper finish that would give the interior a more authentic, vintage look... BOTTOM LINE: It’s not going to be a cheap car at between 100K – 1Million, so if all of the additional bespoke items add an additional 20K or so on the sticker price, so be it. But the car needs to be meticulously detailed to perfection in order to stay true to what it is portraying itself to be.
Leslie Brook 31 March 2014

.

To be fair to the chap, it's his money and he's built the car he wants. All you've done is write a wish list of how the car should be changed to suit you. If you design and build your own car one day I'm sure you'll be able to address all the points you raise.
Symanski 31 March 2014

Good one Leslie Brook!

Leslie Brook wrote:

Speeback Mini

are they by any chance related?

Very well observed!

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