Limited Edition: Aston Martin ONE-77

By Guy Bird for Interior Motives, Oct 2009

What goes into a £1m car interior?

Aston Martin ONE-77

  • Vehicle type: Limited production two-door sportscar
  • Design director: Marek Reichman
  • Interior design director: Matt Hill
  • Colour and Trim: Libby Rooke
  • Project started: Spring 2008
  • Project completed: Spring 2009
  • Launch: Villa d’Este April 2009

Supplier         Component

  • J&E Sedgwick – Saddle leather
  • Robin Coleman Leather Technology – Master saddler
  • Kussmaul – Metal finishes
  • MTC – Carbon tub development
  • Bang & Olufsen – Audio sound system
  • Conceria Ferrero – Laser-cut leather

 

£1.2 million ($1.9m) is the price of Aston Martin’s most extreme model yet. The car is being billed as a perfect combination of art and engineering and will be produced in a limited run of just 77, thus explaining its enigmatic name (and to some extent) its high cost too. Its exterior front wing was glimpsed at the 2008 Paris show, followed by the exterior at the 2009 Geneva show in March before finally, the interior was revealed at Villa d’Este April in late April 2009. Despite the slow drip-feed of reveals, chief interior designer Matt Hill explains that the ONE-77 design process was quite speedy, partly out of necessity: “I’m one of only two interior designers at Aston Martin so we don’t have time for many versions and tend to make decisions quickly.”

The car is being billed as a perfect combination of art and engineering and will be produced in a limited run of just 77, thus explaining its enigmatic name (and to some extent) its high cost too

Hill proposed several ideas for the air vents, including most strikingly, ones that could open manually or electrically like the petals of a flower. A sintering technique was proposed to create the seemingly impossible form by Hill although he concedes the realities of delivering it in the time scale proved too hard in the end. The sketches show how real saddle leather might be wrapped over various substrates like a jacket. A master saddler local to Aston Martin – Robin Coleman Leather Technology – and saddle leather supplier J&E Sedgwick & Co helped Hill realise his ideas of affixing the leather to the substrate via ribbons and real stitching. As Hill enthuses: “This process combines old saddle leather techniques with modern machining tools. As a limited edition vehicle we could deviate from normal quality standards so the leather will age and fade to a natural patina. There are far easier materials to use that would look the same for 20 years but we didn’t want that for this project.”

Another early idea of Hill’s was to create what he calls a ‘deployable cluster’ for the driver information module so that the driver cowl would open up to reveal the dials in much the same way pop-up satnav screens work via internal electric motors on some production cars today. The orange flaps were to add in Hill’s words, “some theatre” to the proceedings.

At the core of the ONE-77 is a carbon fibre tub developed by Canada-based MTC which Aston’s designers decided to expose as much as possible on the inside, as Hill continues: “We wanted honesty and haven’t tried to hide the engineering. Where a metal bracket is exposed, the fixings genuinely hold the trim to the tub. We think it looks attractive enough. By avoiding the usual plethora of interior trim panels we’ve also been able to reduce weight for practical and functional reasons. The ONE-77 is more spacious than a DB9 and Vantage V8 inside; it’s wider and lower. We also gained more footwell and head cantrail space partly attributable to less substrates being involved.” But could this stripped-out aesthetic not cause noise, vibration and harshness issues unacceptable for such an expensive car? Hill thinks not: “Many customers have experience of our race cars so they understand. The ONE-77 will be quieter than a Carrera GT but noisier than a DB9.”

As each ONE-77 is effectively going to be hand-built – customers are apparently just starting to go through the specification process for their own cars now – Hill says Aston will “potentially have to build 77 different cars”. However, as the interior of the first ONE-77 shows, certain Aston design DNA – including the watch-like dials, a waterfall-shaped and sloped centre console plus the auto gear selection and starter button configuration will remain. The firm’s designers will also be trying to guide its customers towards four or five different ‘colour stories’ developed by colour and trim designer Libby Rooke, although Hill concedes they still expect to get some “some weird and wonderful requests” for one-off interior detailing beyond that broad palette.

But could this stripped-out aesthetic not cause noise and vibration issues unacceptable for such an expensive car? Hill thinks not: “Customers have experience of our race cars. They understand. The ONE-77 will be quieter than a Carrera GT but noisier than a DB9”

High quality finishes abound in the ONE-77’s showcar cabin. One such example is the rapid-prototyped aluminium screen de-mister and speaker part at the top of the centre console where it wraps over on to the IP top. Sleek and striking though it is, Hill concedes the shiny finish might well be toned down for production due to glare and reflection issues in the windscreen. The centre console’s knob surrounds and detailing have the potential to feature unusual colour metal finishes including Ruthenium and Rose Gold, courtesy of supplier Kussmaul.

The racing-inspired seats of the show car are carbon shells and feature a raised welt made of a heavy leather and fabric weave including silver piping developed by colour and trim designer Libby Rooke. Hills quips “that ladies might get out of the car with the weave’s print on their legs” suggesting customers may opt for something a little more forgiving on their personal models, but the finish is still a very bold showcar touch.

 

  • Length 4576mm
  • Width 2000mm
  • Height 1224mm
  • Wheelbase 2791mm

 


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