Beauty has its price, and David Brown from Yorkshire was no longer prepared to pay it one day. During a classic car rally, the entrepreneur had once again broken down with his classic and had to be brought to the finish in an escort vehicle. It must be possible to have both, the entrepreneur thought – classic design and modern technology and equipment. The solution was obvious: Brown built his very own dream car, the Speedback GT. Brown has a handsome collection of classics in his garage, including an Aston Martin DB5. He doesn’t really like to hear it, but the striking resemblance now catches the eye: the Speedback looks almost confusingly like the classic Bond car. “If it was painted Maranello red instead of green, everyone would have a completely different association,” Brown protests, adding, “But I know, there’s still the matter of my name…” It was, after all, a certain David Brown who shaped the most glorious era at Aston Martin. Hence the initials of the legendary DB range. However, there is no relation to the DB-David Brown says the Speedback-David Brown. Above all, the five-litre supercharged V8 hums to mind, lacking neither power nor sound. Brown explains his choice with a sense of home, he wanted to use a British make – one that he appreciates. The engine, the chassis, the designer: all from Jaguar.
More than just A-ha
Brown and his team did not develop a new car from scratch: Everything Brown missed in his classic cars is in the Speedback-and what he liked about them, he had designed to his specifications. “I wanted the sleek lines from the Sixties that are so seductive again today. Only at the rear wheel arches did we give the car some curves to make it look more aggressive.” The inspiration came from the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of that era, Brown says. He doesn’t need to mention Aston Martin at all. For professional assistance, Brown hired former Jaguar and Land Rover chief designer Alan Mobberley. Aside from his years of experience, Brown says, the designer brought the best credentials to the Speedback’s development: “He lived through the Sixties and knows exactly what kind of appeal cars had in that era.” He appreciates the know-how. “Mobberley is the good conscience of the project.”
Between idea and completion
During the planning of the Speedback GT, however, junior staff were also given their chance. Among other things, this resulted in a charming surprise in the boot of the car: a small picnic bench can be folded out. This is actually a function that is as bizarre as it is old-fashioned – after all, it adds a few kilos to the weight of the car – but it is nevertheless a highlight. “The idea came from one of our interns,” Brown says. The dash of insanity gives the Speedback character – and that’s what’s usually lacking when high-tech comes along in retro design. But whether vintage purists grumble about his creation, Brown doesn’t care anyway. “The car is not just a copy,” he says. “Personally, I love my original DB 5, for example, but to drive from England to France, I’d prefer the Speedback.”