Just as we didn’t need it, another brand has just proved us, after Ford and its hideous 2015 GT a few weeks ago that designers are completely out of mind. If you don’t recall, the article is here. Yes, this time it’s an Aston Martin, very sadly. Yes we were all very excited from the few teasers we had had. Yes, another time Marek Reichmann and his team have destroyed yet another car from our favorite british sports car manufacturer. Text : Mickael B. © Images : Aston Martin ©
The Vulcan. A terrific name, which recalls of course, for every passionate of the brand, the name of the plane stolen by Spectre in Thunderball ! An impressive name too, for what we were secretly dreaming was going to be the big return to the famous racing breds Aston Martin, retracing their heritage back to the original Aston Hill Climb which gave its name to Lionel Martin’s automotive firm. We were hoping for one of these incredibly classy and elegant Le Mans bred which Aston Martin had always the talent to design them beautifully and yet offering terrific performances on the track. We could take so many as examples, from the 1926 Short Chassis Le Mans, to the modern DBR9s, including the ultimate DBR1s. Racing Astons have always been very british. A bit brutal, a bit heavy, but with a typical british refinement that no other car could have. They were cars the british Lords loved to take on some races for the week-end, with a cup of tea and a cake.
And now the Vulcan. Technically there’s been some improvements since the One-77, even though the engine has been downsized from 7.3 litre to 7 litre, it now develops 800 horsepower thanks to a very permissive exhaust system. We hope that the future Vulcan’s owners won’t have just as many problems as with the One-77, which was honestly still in development two years after its official launch. I recall the Aston Martin On Track Experience back in 2012 at the legendary Spa Francorchamps racetrack in Belgium with a british owner of One-77 who could never complete a single 20 minutes session completely during the day because of various problems each time : gearbox, clutch, … And there was eight Aston Martin engineers working on the car all day who didn’t manage to solve them ! A pity. Let’s hope at least that the Vulcan won’t have just as many issues.
So, let’s talk now about the real deal. Aston Martin’s Creative Chief Officer Marek Reichmann’s horrible design. I’m sorry to say, although this may be a subjective issue, there are some underlying truths. First things first : What the hell is this Corvette ? I mean the Vulcan has just as much in common with an Aston Martin than a Rodin sculpture with a Pollock painting. It’s certainly art in both cases, but one is in complete respect of the traditions of the biggest sculpture’s masters and the other is just the work of an overdrugged, overactive and overdrunk artist. The Vulcan has absolutely no class and no distinction. Marek Reichmann and his team have disrespected Aston Martin’s design codes, its heritage and its traditions. Where is the original charming radiator grille ? What are these dreadful front lamps that look like they’ve been taken from a Mazda ?
There is a theorem : “An Aston Martin is a proper Aston Martin if and only if James Bond could drive one”. Would you see James Bond entering a Vulcan ? Nope. You’d rather see Batman get out of a Vulcan spitting flames. Oh wait ? It does already spit flames ? Aston Martin has even labelled their marketing strategy for the Vulcan with a superb “Aston Martin Vulcan prepares for take-off”. Lamborghini’s are road spaceships, missiles and military aircrafts inspired supercars. But Aston’s ? No. And Aston Martin customers don’t want that. They don’t want toys. They don’t want premier-ligue footballer supercars they would drive once and crash. They don’t want a show-off car for people to look at. They want some real gentlemen’s sports cars, a car from which each middle aged man would have pleasure to get out with his beautiful wife in front of a picturesque hotel. Even if it’s a racing car.
It really seems now typical for designers to trace and strike instead of drawing. Just as for the Ford GT, there are intersecting lines everywhere, and actually so much that it hurts. The Aston Martin Vulcan, like so many modern hypercars, is just chaos. They think they are making history when they are destroying it. We have to preserve such an important legacy with Aston Martin, throughout both maintaining in good conditions the historical models of the brand and designing the new cars while taking in account this legacy. Now I don’t want to make this as a prosecution against anyone, but I am simply noting that since a few years things are going very wrong for Aston Martin. Sales are going down at a vertiginous speed and no real development for a new car has been planned. And still, the designers are messing up with the customers trying to change completely the standards of the brand instead of evolving them.
With a price tag of 2.3 million dollars, I don’t see how they will manage to sell the 24 units of the Vulcan originally planned. For sure, it will end up like the Cygnet, the V12 Zagato or the V12 Vantage Roadster, by finally decreasing the total number of units, or as the One-77, for which it took an excessively long three years and a half to sell all the entire production lot. The Vulcan will be officially presented at its World Premiere on 3rd, March 2015 during the first press day of the Geneva Motorshow, and of course, we will be there to cover the event for you !