Arash AF-10

By Guy Bird for Intersection, Jan 2011

After so many false dawns Arash Farboud explains that this time aspirations for his new supercar company will be a little more realistic… but no less serious

“I’d be amazed if we sold five a year. You’d have to get it on Top Gear for that to happen”, says UK-based Iranian businessman Arash Farboud, candidly reflecting on the potential production numbers for his self-titled new supercar, the Arash AF10.

But then again a sticker price of £600,000 per car should improve the business case a little. If the name seems oddly familiar that’s because it is. Farboud’s been at this independent sportscar business for awhile, the sale of his family’s medical pharmaceuticals business giving him the chance to really indulge his love of cars by setting up his own sports car company. In the very late 90s there was the Farboud GT and then later the Farboud GTS both bearing his surname, before a legal wrangle meant he had to switch to his first name for future projects.

The GT was by Farboud’s own account “a fantastic car but not really one to sell, just a bit of fun,” but the second GTS is now licensed and sold by another tiny UK exotic sportscar maker Ginetta as the F400 and starting at a relatively affordable sub-£60,000.

“We’ve been so nasty with the diet for this car. We’ve stripped everything out. We don’t even have electric windows”

Still only in his mid-30s, Farboud’s latest car adds another nought to the F400’s price and is due to go beyond prototype testing to limited production next year. What’s the difference this time?

The affable Farboud suddenly gets serious: “The AF10 is everything it should be, a mid-engined car with a carbon fibre monocoque, a very aggressive stance, a narrow cabin like an aircraft jet, a very low drag coefficient and a very long nose …it’s basically a Le Mans car for the road and it’s pretty extreme even for the road.”

Inside the carbon fibre-clad cabin he’s taken the same ruthless approach about performance before gadgetry, to bring the car’s weight down to a seriously light 1050kg: “We’ve been so nasty with the diet for this car. We’ve stripped everything out. The car is literally based on powertrain, aerodynamics and essential driver comforts. We’ve got away with power-assisted steering, air-conditioning and power-assisted braking and that’s it. We don’t even have electric windows.”

Propelling that 1050kg along is a General Motors-sourced 550hp 7-litre V8 which Farboud hopes will result in a 3.5-second 0-60mph time and a circa 205mph top speed. Of course, even with these admirable supercar characteristics and approach, the AF10 isn’t exactly unique. How does Farboud think he can offer something different for his “super-duper wealthy” target clientele of Middle East royalty and 30- to 40-car UK collectors?

He laughs heartily again: “We can’t!” he exclaims, “It’s four wheels and a big engine and lots of passion. It’s very difficult to be different nowadays. But what Arash is, is a bespoke one-off individual brand, so it’s about one-upmanship. When you think of Pagani, Koenigsegg and Bugatti the market for these kinds of cars has changed. Their customers don’t want a ‘one of 20’, they want ‘one of ten’ or ‘one of ones’. So there’s potential for us to succeed. It’s like saying why do you choose to pay £200,000 for a Parmigiani watch over a Rolex? They both tell the time, but it’s a different set of skills and craftsmanship isn’t it?”

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