Unfulfilled desire is a tantalizing thing. And while you may be the proud owner of the beautiful new Rapide, or the long-time lover of your classic DBS, Aston Martin’s spectacular new motorcar will elicit a powerful sense of yearning. Notching up a cool million in your chequebook, it is the definitive product of Aston Martin’s incredible achievements to date. The concept of the One-77 programme is to showcase the ultimate in engineering, aesthetics, technology and craftsmanship, whatever it may cost to produce. The result is a glossy art piece, as dedicated to detail under the bonnet, as it is beautiful to behold. It is definitely not a product for everyone. Only 77 units will be made. Even information is hard to come by, and after several teaser appearances - notably at the Geneva Auto Salon on 3 March 2009 - it was finally presented only at the Italian Concorso d'Eleganza Villa D'Este show in April 2009, where it won the award for concept cars and prototypes.
Chief Executive of Aston Martin, Dr. Ulrich Bez, said, "Right from the very beginning of the project the vision for One-77 was very simple. It had to combine high technology with hand-built craftsmanship, and demonstrate the unique capabilities and passion of our designers, engineers and technical partners. Quite simply it had to be the ultimate expression of Aston Martin. As you can now see, we have achieved that goal in magnificent style."
The design of the car extends well beyond its aggressive exterior. Even details such as the dry-sump oil reservoir and the aluminium suspension mounts are sculptural masterpieces in their own right, even though it is likely that the owners will never see them.
On the other hand, they will be able to personalize many aspects of the car, such as gearbox, interior trim, and seats.
While you ponder on the options for your new super-Aston and drool over its drop-dead good looks, consider this; the One-77 conceals an incredibly powerful 7.3-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine, developed in conjunction with Cosworth. Together they have taken the 6.0-litre V12 of the DBS and DB9, and made it as fast and light as possible, generating more than 700bhp, with an engine mass reduced by 25%. Chris Porritt, Programme Manager for the One-77, reveals something of the inspiration behind the car. "We started by identifying the most technologically exciting front-engined, rear-wheel drive cars in the world: those from the DTM race series. We then applied the principles and technology that feature heavily in their design and translated it to a road car application."
In fact, the engine is mounted 10 mm lower than in any previous V12 Aston Martin, ensuring that the centre of gravity is as low as possible. Handling is further improved by mounting the engine 257 mm behind the front wheel centreline.
With all this power comes considerable control delivered via a specially developed six-speed sequential gearbox and managed by paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The horsepower is channelled into the wheels, dramatic in themselves with 335 mm Pirelli tyres on the back, developed specifically for this car. With such tremendous speed at your fingertips you can be assured that Aston Martin’s famous lightweight Carbon Ceramic Matrix brake technology will not fail you. Less heat from the pads, improved cooling and discs which provide maximum contact area between disc and pads all contribute to enhanced stopping power.
DTM racing is a highly feasible application for the car. The structural core is a lightweight, highly rigid carbon fibre monocoque, with inboard suspension front and rear, based directly on racing car design. The characteristics of this suspension technology provide adjustability, which is normal on racing cars, but a world first for a road car. This is another feature that underlines the car's truly bespoke nature, because Aston Martin engineers will be able to regulate the suspension settings according to the owner's requirements.
In the end though, the car’s performance is the real factor of interest. The One-77 probably weighs about 1500 kg, but nonetheless it takes less than 3.5 seconds to reach 60mph, with a top speed of 200 mph. The front-engine, rear-drive layout and the high-rigidity carbon fibre chassis suggest a truly exciting drive. The One-77 is truly a one-and-only.
List price is GBP 1,050,000 plus local tax. Prospective clients can contact the UK factory direct, tel. +44 1926 644801.