Though Autocar is among a very few people – customers or commentators – to have seen, driven and enjoyed David Brown’s new classic-into-modern Speedback GT, the car has already attracted some wry comment across the blogosphere.
People hear it costs £600k, an admittedly hefty sum, is powered by a supercharged 503bhp V8, rides on Jaguar XKR underpinnings and they reckon that’s all they need to know. It’s a Jaguar with another body. Like a kit car.
Nothing could be further from the truth. When you get the chance to spend time with the Speedback GT and the man who inspired it – and I concede that this is difficult because there’s only one of each – you soon discover, as I did, that there’s much more to this project than the replacement of a Jaguar body.
This is a serious, sophisticated attempt to bring the greatness of cars like the Aston DB5 into the modern era. Many of the features – bumpers, lights, vents, glazing, shut-lines, surface development, paint – are far better executed than they were at the time and this effect gives the car a presence, a star quality, that has to be seen to be appreciated.
The project is an intelligent attempt to reprise the techniques of traditional coachbuilders, who were the ultimate dealers in exclusivity, to produce a car that is, as its distinguished designer Alan Mobberley puts it, “a contemporary GT with the heart and soul of a classic”.