So apparently there’s this customer of Aston Martin – he might be famous, he could be in the fashion industry, he’s definitely into his cars, he’s very obviously rather rich – and he turns up at the factory recently, takes a quick look at the One-77 that’s pride of place in the foyer and says; “I think I’ll take two of them, if that’s alright with you.”
Once Dr Bez, the boss of Aston Martin and who has just shown the customer around the car, picks himself up off the floor, he replies; “Of course, and can I ask why you want the second car?”
Turns out the customer isn’t just an aesthete with a mad rug and an enormous bank balance, he’s a bit of a techno-head on the quiet as well, and by that I don’t mean he goes to the Ministry of Sound at the weekends. This bloke is so impressed by the design of the One-77’s carbonfibre monocoque, he wants to hang it on his wall and stare at it – and to do so he’s quite prepared to buy another One-77 and strip it bare so he can display it within his ‘living space.’
Which is quite some display of wealth, given that Aston Martin is only ever going to make 77 One-77’s, each of which will require a deposit of £200,000, with a further £850,000 plus local taxes being payable on delivery. In the UK that means £1.2 million a pop. Or, in the case of Monsieur Monocoque, £2.4 million for one whole car plus a somewhat extravagant box of bits.
So far Aston Martin has sold just over half of the 77 cars it intends to build between now and the end of next year. The first car will be delivered in March next year, and each customer will be offered a personal set up session with Aston’s chief development engineer, Chris Porritt, the idea being that Porritt will sit next to the customer as they drive and find out what sort of ride they prefer. Assuming, of course, the customer intends to actually drive their One-77 once it’s delivered – and according to Dr Bez, as many as half of them probably won’t.
Secretly, Dr Bez would like all his owners to take to the road and enjoy their car’s 7.3-litre, 750bhp V12 engine and, occasionally perhaps, see how well its push-rod suspension copes when it is leant on through a quick corner. It’d be a bit of a shame, after all, not to take your One-77 out from time to time and nudge it somewhere towards its limits, or to let rip in it down an autobahn where it will reach at least 220mph, still with something in reserve.
But in truth only half the people who hand over their cheques will have the balls, or the inclination, to venture on to the road in their One-77. The rest of them will either try to sell their cars at a profit or place them in air-conditioned museums and just gawp. Which is fine by Aston Martin, sort of, because the customer with £1.2 million to spend is invariably always right.
And if you can afford two – one to drive and one to hang on your wall and ogle – that just makes you the perfect customer in 2009. Not even Dr Bez is going to argue with that.