Bond makes another spectre of himself.
Unless you live cut off from the outside world in a nuclear bunker, or spend your days with your eyes and ears screwed shut shouting “la-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you”, you cannot have failed to notice a new James Bond film is in the offing: Spectre. Wired have helped prime the PR pump with an article on Daniel Craig’s latest conveyance, the Aston Martin DB10.
Although the piece regurgitates large parts of the Columbia Pictures / Aston Martin press pack almost verbatim, creative director Marek Reichman does offer a few interesting insights into the model’s gestation: to wit, there wasn’t much of one.
According to Reichman, Spectre director Sam Mendes (perhaps fortunately) overlooked the paucity of new Aston Martin sports cars, instead taking a shine to a sketch pinned to the design studio wall. As the article says:
The sleek two-seater was exactly what he wanted, if Aston could deliver it before shooting started at the end of the year. Problem was, it was just a sketch … Reichman told Mendes not to worry, he’d have the car. “At which point,” Reichman says, “most of my team sat on the floor, put their head in their hands, and said, ‘What on Earth has he said yes for?'”
Having thus (over)committed themselves, Reichman’s team effectively short circuited the usual car design process. Unfettered by safety, durability or emissions concerns, they embarked on a journey similar to creating a running show concept. A V8 Vantage chassis was chopped up to dictate the DB10’s hard points, styling clays were made, then the whole project was dumped straight into CAD.
They also did a lot of the engineering in the digital realm, working out the details of the suspension, the 4.7-liter V8 engine, the body panels, and even the position of the driver and passenger … The Aston Martin folks sent all their CAD data to a tool maker, skipping the prototype stage in the interest of time.
Given Wired’s primary field of interest, their focus upon the technology-driven aspects of the design and build process is understandable. Indeed, this fast paced development echoed Richard’s recent article about rapid prototyping. The article continues:
The body is carbon fiber, which in addition to being lightweight, retains its shape particularly well when popped from a mold, without the spring-back that makes working with aluminium and steel a pain. Everything fit together perfectly.
The way Wired tells it, running out the ten copies required for filming was as easy as popping together a series of Airfix kits from pre-built CAD-CAM parts. God bless the machines! The reality was likely less straightforward, involving a great deal of on-the-hoof fabrication by actual sweating, swearing humans. (Whether Reichman, a cultured gentleman, hung around to see any of that is another question.)
Given the DB10’s truncated gestation, it is a surprise to find the car appears wholly resolved and very handsome indeed. Short and stocky, with clipped overhangs and a sweeping belt line, the car exudes a cultured muscularity perfect for both brand and Bond. Only the grille treatment jars, looking a touch too flat; more surface sculpture would perhaps help here. Crucially for an Aston Martin, the DB10 looks modern without appearing faddy, something that cannot be said about their recent short run specials. (Feel free to disagree in the comments.)
Sadly, having done the hard work (or at least, the outsourced “tool maker” having done the hard work), the DB10 will only ever be a flight of film fantasy. The article feeds us the usual PR blarney that the DB10 offers “hints of what Aston Martin’s got coming”, a line usually to be taken with a pinch of salt, were the car not so well conceived. Given the exposure generated by the film, perhaps augmented by a few selective showings of those ten prototypes in Qatar, Aston Martin should have little trouble securing the backing they need to turn the DB dial from 10 to 11.