The founder David Brown reflects on the past three years that have seen his company and its first car—the Speedback GT—succeed where so many other companies have failed, by breaking into the highest echelon of the automotive market.
"The reaction we receive to our cars is something that is always a highlight," says David Brown, looking back on the highs and lows of being the head of a low-volume bespoke car company.
Three years ago, David Brown Automotive came from absolutely nowhere with a grand plan to offer a coach-built, aluminum-bodied sports GT with 1960s styling yet underpinned by a very 21st-century chassis, drivetrain and electrical system. And while the car in question, the Speedback GT, was indeed an aesthetically pitch-perfect homage to Aston Martins and Lancias of the 1960s underpinned by bulletproof modern Jaguar reliability, the car's £500,000 ($875,550SDG) price plus the fact that it was being offered by a British company no one had ever heard of, meant that it was initially greeted with trepidation as much as excitement.
In order to turn the heads and open the wallets of the world's wealthiest automotive aficionados, everything about a boutique, bespoke sportscar, from fit and finish to performance and reliability needs to be perfect. But against the odds, that's what the company delivered. "Speedback GT was so well received it really encouraged us that there is a market for classically-styled, low-volume, handbuilt, beautiful modern cars," says Brown. "We've had the idea for Project 2 for some time so it's been a fantastic year bringing it to reality."
He won't reveal what shape the car will take other than to say it will come in three versions, but when asked how it will compare to the Speedback GT, he describes it as a: "Complimentary car. I suspect some Speedback GT owners may well be tempted."
Brown's aim when starting his company was always to have a range of models such as shooting brakes, rather than simply offering a classically proportioned coupé. "We already had ideas for future models during the design and prototype build of Speedback GT," he says, certain that there would be a strong demand for cars that tastefully blend classic styling with modern convenience.
"A lot of Speedback GT owners are similar to myself," explains Brown. "They love the designs of classics but want something with modern-day performance, reliability and technology. Cars and technology have come a long way since the 60s and they want something that marries the two. They also appreciate the exceptional level of quality, as well as the exclusivity, bespoke nature and personalised experience they receive."
However, it is in this respect that Brown had to up his game slightly. When dealing with this type of client, the term bespoke takes on a new meaning. The company has had to put together a cracking sales and relationship management team and constantly work on the quality of its supply chain to ensure perfection, so much so that many pieces have had to move to in-house production to meet his and his client's standards.
"The individual is just that—individual," says Brown on the lessons that have shaped the new car. "No colour combination is right or wrong just because it doesn't appeal to one person or another. Project 2 will offer a huge scope for personalization, with the experience and guidance of a sales team that makes it an enjoyable, rather than overwhelming, experience."