New Age Aston Martin

Post-Clarkson car connoisseurs are different. Tyre-smoking and gas-guzzling will pass into history along with Jeremy. Profligacy is not what it was. Even Formula 1 has fuel economy and energy conservation. Realism will get into the supercar business and Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Automotive News Europe plans for two new platforms, one a crossover. Aston will maybe refresh its supercar rather than replace it and use its technology link with Daimler to keep profitable.

“In the first century we went bankrupt seven times. The second century will be about making sure it doesn’t happen again.” The crossover, likely in 2019, was previewed at Geneva by the 4x4 DBX concept and could be built in America. Palmer was Nissan’s chief planner until last September and won’t lack advice on what to do next. 

So, here’s more. Everybody’s doing crossovers; last week’s Autocar was full of Range Rover lookalikes. They are flavour of the month/year/silly season. With the other platform Aston should do something else. 

Nowadays the wealthy (in the real world – I’m not talking about Middle Easterners) no longer want overwhelming. They have grown up. Understatement is In. Tyre-smoking, gas-guzzling etc is Out. They prefer premium-priced things to be exquisitely engineered, in good taste, huge V8s are so-o-o last century AC Cobra antiques. Even outgoing buyers are now tinged with greenery. A touch of retro is fine. Play up classic names. BMW and Audi thrive around 2 litres and a premium small sporty car like Aston used to make would prosper. Something up-market of MX5 would do nicely.

Aston Martin came late to big V8s. It made splendid 1500s and 2litres in its heyday (above). Even the engine designed (via Lagonda) by WO Bentley was a 2½litre that got bigger. Astons were tasteful, classy. Like Frazer Nashes. A 1930s Aston Martin Ulster did about 95mph in great style. A 1950s DB2 (top) would be hard-pressed to get much past 110. It was not until the 1960s 3.6 6-cylinder DB4 that you got 140mph, then 150 from the DB4GT with 6sec or so 0-60.That wouldn’t be difficult to match with a modern 2.0 turbo. Numbers would make it profitable. Unless Daimler vetoed it. Out this summer - new MX 5 (below).