“LIKE SAVILE ROW SUITS, VERY FEW ASTON MARTINS ARE BOUGHT OFF THE RACK; EACH ONE IS TAILOR MADE”
After a coffee and introductory chit chat we set off along a row of significant Astons including the DB10 from the last Bond movie
Spectre, and the company timeline greeted us on the way to the sealed factory door.
Once inside, I immediately noticed a few things. It was very quiet, it was laboratory clean, it was smaller than I expected and best of all, it was full of people, not robots. Utopia!
While an Aston’s build is managed by a high-tech barcode system which can be viewed anytime by its owner anywhere in the world, the cars are still essentially hand-made by 650 dedicated craftsmen and women.
And to ensure the timeless skills aren’t lost, Aston Martin works closely with the regional tech schools where the trades vital to the continuation of Aston are taught and jobs for the future created. A win-win for all.
Like Savile row suits, very few Aston Martins are bought off the rack; each one is tailor made with customers personalising in detail the features of their cars. From the pattern and colour of the stitching to the other end of the spectrum, a one-off, exclusively designed car, the only limiting factors are imagination and budget.
On average, it takes 200 man hours to build an Aston Martin and to put that into perspective, Neil Armstrong took just 109 to land on the moon in 1969.
The chassis and bodies are a marriage of steel, aluminum, magnesium and other exotics including carbon fibre. Robots bond the panels together, though some welding is still undertaken.
Each interior takes 70-hours to complete and while some buyers are selecting Alcantara trim these days, most stick with leather sourced from Scotland. It was fascinating to watch the leather being moulded into place on the seat frames while enjoying the expensive aroma of the soft leather.
All hides are graded by zones one through four, depending where they were on the animal. One is the softest and four is the coarsest. Aston Martin only use zone one leathers with up to nine hides needed to complete an Aston Martin Rapide interior.
Easily the most laborious element of production is in the paint shop which totals 75-hours, of which 25 is reserved for hand polishing each car. The end of the painting process involves a two-hour inspection.
ABOVE Floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Aston Martin Vanquish. RIGHT Visitors are greeted by Astons new and old.