Monday, 10 July 2017

'Sotheby Special' DBS V8

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Unlike any Aston Martin DBS you might have seen before, this bizarre 'Sotheby Special' was the brainchild of Ogle Design. Better known for their fibreglass-bodied Mini specials, Ogle wanted to take their reputation upmarket with a futursitic reimagining of a premium sports car, and this wacky creation (financed by tobacco company W.O. Wills to act as a promotional tool) ticked all the boxes.
There were actually three Sotheby Specials, this one being the second. The original was built for the 1972 Montreal Motor Show, quickly followed by an appearance at Geneva, and it appeared in dark blue with gold pinstriping. The body was fibreglass, with the top half being formed from Perspex sitting on a tubular frame. The most striking element was the multi-punctured rear end - a stainless steel sheet with 22 holes cut out, the number of brake lights that illuminated governed by how hard the driver was braking.

The original Sotheby Special was never road-registered, and currently resides, dusty and partially stripped, in a private collection. The car you see here was the second example built, again originally blue with gold pinstripes and this time road-registered; the car embarked upon a nationwide PR tour, but the Sotheby cigarette brand failed to take off and the DBS was subsequently repainted in the colours of the Embassy brand, as you see here. The windows on this car are actually made from coated Triplex glass.

And the third car? That came about after this one appeared on the TV show Tomorrow's World - a wealthy viewer decided they wanted one, and managed to convince Aston Martin to provide a chassis and Ogle to crack out the moulds one more time. It cost £28,750 to build (a standard DBS V8 being £8,750), and that car now also resides in a private overseas collection.

The styling is very much of its time, and yet that kind of 1970s retro-futurist weirdness is bang on-trend right now. There were few cars with a bigger crowd around them at this year's Festival of Speed.

More pics from the 2017 Festival of Speed here.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Rolls-Royce Sweptail

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Rolls-Royce Phantom VII went out of production at the end of last year, so this custom one-off – the Sweptail – acts as a fitting epitaph. Built to special order for one fabulously wealthy customer, this Phantom CoupĂ©-based cruiser deliberately looks like a luxury yacht at the tail end, has pop-out attachĂ©-case holders and, yes, ‘08’ is its full registration number. Those little numbers, in the correct font and legal size for ANPR cameras, are machined from billet aluminium.
The owner worked closely with Rolls-Royce over a period of four years to ensure that every detail was just-so, from the mechanism that delivers a bottle of Champagne at the touch of a button, to the natty bullet-tip brake light; the panoramic glass roof is the largest and most complex ever fitted to a Rolls-Royce, and the hand-polished billet aluminium radiator grille is also the largest they've ever crafted. The interior features Macassar Ebony and Paldao wood, with Moccassin and Dark Spice leather trim on the seats, armrests and dashtop, while the rear seats have been junked in favour of a polished wood speedboat deck with an illuminated, glass-lipped shelf.
Everything about the Sweptail drips opulence and extravagant luxury; naturally Rolls-Royce won’t say how much the car cost, but have hinted that it’s the most expensive factory-built car ever made. So think somewhere in excess of £10,000,000…

Spotted at the 2017 Festival of Speed - more photos here.