This David Brown Speedback GT Is A Glorious Tribute To James Bond’s Favorite Ride
Sliding into traffic in this $900,000 stunner was like Gisele Bundchen in full Victoria’s Secret rig trying to slip into the line at Starbucks unnoticed.
I pulled in behind the law, hyper-caffeinated and jittery, my circadian rhythm still fast asleep in New York City. Somewhere at the back of my lizard brain, a murmuring about not having any number plates. And this perhaps not being smart. My copilot was a chipper young Brit ready for whatever the day would bring. And what it brought first was the Metropolitan Police pulling us over to ask on what planet we thought driving around central London with no license plates was acceptable.
Needless to say the planet was the one from whence the $900,000 David Brown Speedback GT I was driving emanated. The feline PR girl who had dropped the keys into my hands not 15 minutes earlier had assured me that the number plate thing would not be an issue. And if anything the cops would probably just pull me over because deep down they wanted to see up close and personal what this breathtakingly beautiful thing was.
And she was right. Sliding into traffic in this hand-built ode to coachbuilding is like Gisele Bundchen in full Victoria’s Secret rig trying to slip into the line at Starbucks unnoticed. No one can quite believe it is happening, and everyone is both goggle-eyed and trying to politely pretend that this is normal, while knowing fine-well it isn’t. This car is simply that lithe and beautiful.
Some nerd in bottle-thick spectacles will try to point out at some stage that despite the 8,000 hours that went into handbuilding her, the Speedback GT is at heart just a Jaguar XKR (the platform it’s based on). To which I may have to point out that Gisele Bundchen is just a woman underneath, as I simultaneously punch him in the nose.
For what is really underneath the Speedback GT’s lustrously painted, hand-formed, lightweight aluminum paneling is a 5-liter twin-scroll turbocharged V8 engine delivering 510 hp through a six speed ZF-automatic transmission. This will waft you in your leather-and-wood-veneer cocoon from zero to hero in around 4.6 seconds, and propel you down the Route du Soleil to Saint-Tropez at about 155 mph, weather and French cops permitting. If you take off the limiter and remap the engine you may well succeed at reaching hyperspace.
Meanwhile the hand-built pillarless monocoque chassis will provide fantastic levels of rigidity and strength, which together with the Dynamic Stability Control system will keep you glued to the road. Physically, at least.
Some might say this is the DB6 continuation Aston Martin should be making. And everyone thought that is what I was driving. But meanwhile David Brown Automotive are quietly and meticulously building them one-by-one in Silverstone, England, for those with a passion for something truly special.
To date they’ve rolled just 27 off the shop floor in various guises, catering to each bespoke customer’s whim. Just the way the elusive owner would have it in order to maintain that special touch of mystique only a Martini shaken-not-stirred can convey. We are assured it is just coincidence that he shares his name with Sir David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972 and originator of the “DB” initials on the legendary Aston Martin models.
The Speedback GT is almost all the things one should love in a car: eye-wateringly good looks and performance combined with everyday reliability and the added bonus that every single person on the road thinks you are a reincarnation of John Steed or James Bond, and thus deserving of the extension of every possible courtesy.
It is a nod to the past, with an eye on the future, built using only the finest materials known to man. In fact it is so good I am popping the vintage Bollinger, donning my finest tuxedo, and putting in an application in to MI6 in the hopes I can get my hands on one as a daily driver.