How Aston builds the One-77
December 15, 2011 9:48 AM   Subscribe

How Aston builds the beautiful One-77

When customers make the pilgrimage to Aston Martin headquarters to take delivery of their One-77s, each is treated to an unveiling experience that's nothing short of theatrical. Seated in a satin black room, a uniquely composed musical sequence fills the space from a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Five hundred organic LED lights hanging like tiny chandeliers start pulsing over the vehicle with a heartbeat, creating wave-like movements across the roofline and evolving into a choreographed shimmer that grows in intensity, finally shedding full light on the sheet metal below. The tease culminates with a musical crescendo, a sea of photons and the reveal of an impossibly sexy supercar.
posted by zeoslap (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
from article: “To get an idea of where the range-topper sits on the Aston Martin pyramid, not only is it twice as rare as the already unattainable Zagato, it's also innumerably more exotic in both concept and execution.”

* glares bitterly at Zagato in driveway, a single tear running down cheek *
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, all that work and effort going in to it, all that dedicated craft and premium engineering, and all that comes out the other end is a luxury car. Seems a bit of a waste, really.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


most powerful normally aspirated production engine in the world

Does that mean they aren't using nitrous?
posted by poe at 10:00 AM on December 15, 2011


You know how we jaded late-capitalist aesthetic consumers like to tell ourselves we're more sophisticated than the "naive" aesthetic of '30s social realism, turning up our noses at Soviet paintings of heroic factory workers? Isn't this just that, larded up with commodity fetishism?

yeah okay that car is fucking hot
posted by RogerB at 10:02 AM on December 15, 2011


Does that mean they aren't using nitrous?

I can't tell if you're being serious or sarcastic, but it means there are no turbochargers or superchargers on it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:04 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The car is so exclusive, so luxurious, that the only way to increase its sticker price is to order interior surfaces finished in real gold or ruthenium, a rare metal in the platinum family that's popular at the moment in the world of high-end wristwatches.

Heavens to Betsy, we can't have the sticker price un-increased! May I suggest human skin? From babies? It's even more expensive if you remove the skin while the baby is alive, so be sure to do that.
posted by DU at 10:07 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's weird how Aston morphed from every car being made with that kind of level of hand made involvement (albeit nowhere near as clean an environment - the old Newport Pagnell factory was dingy and horrible) to a more efficient production based one that diluted part of the allure of an Aston (DB7, I'm looking at you) and now they've started to go full circle with so much of the assembly back to handmade (and race team style) build shops. It's nice to see that one of the initial selling points of an Aston being reintroduced as a selling point now.

Good looking car, although Aston's are in danger of getting a bit 911 in their styling carry over. They'll need to shake it up soon, I think.
posted by Brockles at 10:07 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


along with a tip of the hat to Bez's birthday

At first glance I thought they were talking about the jackass that danced around on stage with the Happy Mondays and scored drugs for them.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Things like this is the reason I sometimes think having the super rich around isn't such a bad thing. Without someone to drop almost 2 mil on a a car these things wouldn't exist, nor would all the works of art that patronage helped create throughout history. I guess if you are going to be rich, spend your money to enable craftsment and designers to create things of beauty like this car.

I still hate that 37 signals guy who bought a supercar, then bought an estate in Italy so he would have a place to drive it though.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


not only is it twice as rare as the already unattainable Zagato, it's also innumerably more exotic in both concept and execution.

Well, that very much depends on which Zagato you are talking about. There were only 20 of the prettiest Aston's ever made.
posted by Brockles at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I love most about the 911 is how each model slightly evolves over time - makes for a classic. I also love Range & Land Rovers for the same reason.
posted by zeoslap at 10:12 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh. Not opulent enough. Aristotle Onassis' yacht had bar stools covered in whale foreskin leather.
posted by brand-gnu at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2011


Does that mean they aren't using nitrous?
posted by poe at 12:00 PM on December 15 [+] [!]


I can't tell if you're being serious or sarcastic

Epoenysterical.
posted by kmz at 10:23 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aristotle Onassis' yacht had bar stools covered in whale foreskin leather.
That had to be one hell of a bris.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:24 AM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


How many of the pieces were hand made or designed? I can guarantee you that the engine block or carbon fiber was computer designed by engineers (after getting some nice artsy sketches), computer lathed (or formed) and then assembled (i.e. slotted in to place) by hand.

So yeah, hands were involved, but its not like this was whittled by master crafstmen or anything. The techniques of asembly are identical to mass produced cars, it's just that they are done with more direct human oversight and care.

These are beautiful baubles for the rich, but there's no new info in this story apart from consumption-envy-wankery.
posted by lalochezia at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where are the bald eagle heads and Faberge eggs?
posted by Madamina at 10:26 AM on December 15, 2011


Puts me in mind of this interesting discussion of selling luxury goods. [possibly by MeFi's own].
posted by benito.strauss at 10:27 AM on December 15, 2011


innumerably more exotic

What?
posted by yoink at 10:28 AM on December 15, 2011


Brockles, I'm very glad you weren't pointing to this Zagato.
posted by ambrosen at 10:30 AM on December 15, 2011


You know how we jaded late-capitalist aesthetic consumers like to tell ourselves we're more sophisticated than the "naive" aesthetic of '30s social realism, turning up our noses at Soviet paintings of heroic factory workers? Isn't this just that, larded up with commodity fetishism?

Hi. Socialist Realism is something I'm awfully fascinated with (I'm actually writing my PhD thesis on a topic related to the subject) and the similarities between the Socialist Realist aesthetic and between the "capitalist production aesthetic" of articles (or TV shows) like this is something I've actually given a lot of thought to, since I'm also fond of shows like How It's Made etc. The conclusion I've come to is that they share the same (or similar) roots, but in essence, they're quite different. I would actually liken this article to some currents of the 1920s' Soviet avant-garde of Dziga Vertov or the "literature of fact". They're similar in that they aestheticize the production process, the way things are made or what they're made of. Socialist Realism with its heroic factory workers is different in that it instead of the production process, it tends to aestheticize the product, except the real product of the production process is not the material thing (the steel beam, the engine, the automobile) but the worker reborn into a Soviet Man -- s no longer just a cog in the (beautiful) machine but a man raised to the status of a god.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


So yeah, hands were involved, but its not like this was whittled by master crafstmen or anything.

"The monocoque, which is worth roughly one half the value of the car, demands a maddeningly delicate manufacturing process that takes six workers three weeks to complete — that is, when every step is executed flawlessly. If someone flubs the cutting, laying, curing or autoclaving process at any point in the meticulous construction process, the entire structure is scrapped and the process begins again."

Doesn't really sound like it's being stamped out and bolted together by monkeys though does it.
posted by zeoslap at 10:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's still just a fucking car, though. Or as Jacquie Phelan would put it, "My other car is a tiny penis."
posted by scruss at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


>> innumerably more exotic

> What?


How much more exotic could it be? The answer is none. None more exotic.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


My own thought is that with automation taking over most mundane manufacturing in the future there will be two classes. The superrich and those handcrafting luxury goods to sell to them. Hence my interest in gourmet foodstuffs , once computers can program themselves I'll be making stuff like $50 BBQ sauce. People want to spend that much just to say they did.

There are two types of high end goods. I will characterize them as "love" and "detail". By love I mean "made with love" most gourmet food is in this vein, made by some hippy who really really cares if they are a bit sloppy. By "detail" I mean attention to detail, this is embodied by apple products. Designers and engineers who sweat over every decision.

It is pretty clear which of those this car is.

I can't think of any high end car companies on the "love" side, but I don't know the market.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2011


It's still just a fucking car, though. - albeit one that will appreciate in value.
posted by zeoslap at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2011


For a minute, this was the car I thought would top the list of cars that actually exist and are for sale that I want but will never, ever have. But then somebody tried to sell Niki Lauda's 1974 Ferrari 312 B3 World Championship-winning Formula 1 car on Ebay a few days ago and knocked the Aston so far off the top of that list that I'm not sure I can look at it anymore.

Knowing that Lauda's car is in a garage somewhere within an hour of my house and that its owner would presumably sell it for the right price (which I will never be able to afford) sort of ruins every other car.
posted by The World Famous at 10:52 AM on December 15, 2011


So yeah, hands were involved, but its not like this was whittled by master crafstmen or anything.

It's kind of a mid-way house. Yes, CNC machines and automated machining is used for many components, but you just can't have the same kind of production as mass produced cars with the tiny numbers of vehicles they will be making, so they are indeed enormously more manpower intensive than a production car. As mentioned by zeoslap, hand laying the composites for the chassis will probably hold no more automation than an electric resin gun and an autoclave. Lots of the parts on that car will be handmade or at least assembled that would never be in a standard production car.

Yes, it's not the fantastic days of Aston Martin where 2 guys stood holding a flat sheet of aluminium between them and pushed it back and forth until they had made, welded together, shaped and buffed a bonnet such as on The old Vantage 550 completely by hand, or had guys wander up in a scruffy jacket with a hammer and some dollys and knock up a wing (fender to you) with nothing more than a bit of time and a wooden buck. But it is nice to see still. Modern cars are so soulless
posted by Brockles at 10:53 AM on December 15, 2011


I think I'm going into the château-bottled hand-refined fuel business, which I will operate out of a restored monastery in the Austrian Alps. Anyone who buys this is car going to feel dirty filling it with Chevron Supreme.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:53 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"All but 10 One-77s have been delivered to owners who span the globe from Asia to the Middle East."

Which is still technically Asia.
posted by yeti at 10:55 AM on December 15, 2011


"All but 10 One-77s have been delivered to owners who span the globe from Asia to the Middle East."

Which is still technically Asia.


So, when they say "span" they mean like putting your arms so far apart that your hands touch behind your back.
posted by The World Famous at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2011


That actually almost makes sense, then. Like "spanning the globe from the Greenwich meridian to... um... the Greenwich meridian."
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2011


Beautiful beautiful car.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:02 AM on December 15, 2011


Meh. Not opulent enough. Aristotle Onassis' yacht had bar stools covered in whale foreskin leather.

In that case, perhaps Sir might be interested in the Dartz Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition?
posted by phl at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2011


Wow. I better get over to kickstarter. Million-two? This is gonna be tough.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2011


It's still just a fucking car, though.

A Camry is just a fucking car. An appliance that gets you from point A to B. This Aston Martin is an fine automobile. It is a work of art, handmade by craftsmen who are the best in their fields.

There is a difference.
posted by hwyengr at 11:44 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I doubt anyone who buys this is struggling to make the payments on it. Supercars may seem a pointless waste, and perhaps in a lot of ways they are, but it is one area where trickle-down does actually happen. More mundane cars will eventually benefit from the design, aesthetics, and engineering that goes into cars like the One-77.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 AM on December 15, 2011


I doubt anyone who buys this is struggling to make the payments on it.

Oh, I don't know about that. The guy in Texas who drove his Bugatti Veyron into a lake is now being investigated because it seems he may have done it intentionally so that he could make a profit on the insurance. I get the distinct impression that the supercar market includes a pretty good sized population of people who cannot legitimately afford the car.
posted by The World Famous at 11:55 AM on December 15, 2011


As wealth disparity increases, consumption is getting ridiculous. I'm expecting to see a car with seats upholstered with flayed dissident leather and which runs only on oil pumped from a World Heritage Site.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:09 PM on December 15, 2011


I'm pretty sure Uday Hussein had a few of those.
posted by The World Famous at 12:12 PM on December 15, 2011


Man, all that work and effort going in to it, all that dedicated craft and premium engineering, and all that comes out the other end is a luxury car. Seems a bit of a waste, really.

Better that, than expertise going to high-tech weapons engineering. If a work of art is the worst outlet for consumption, I could live with that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's still just a fucking car, though. Or as Jacquie Phelan would put it, "My other car is a tiny penis."

I dunno. See, I see things like this like Concorde. Expensive, sure. Wasteful, yeah probably. Toys for the rich? okay. But there's... something else there.

One77s - indeed all Astons - are achingly, gloriously beautiful. They're graceful and elegant, but they spew fire and make a shudderingly great thunder. They're gorgeous and a little bit dangerous.

Pointed out upthread, a Camry is just a fucking car. These? These things are like Concorde. They have souls.
posted by generichuman at 2:49 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


+1 generichuman - you need to appreciate the fact that there are some things out there that just have souls. Concord, the One77 - these are products designed to push the boundaries and whether you agree with them or not - they're sweet ass rides.
posted by tgrundke at 5:55 PM on December 15, 2011


The engineers who designed the Camry are better than the engineers who designed this. I mean, fuck, they can't even automate the production.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:55 PM on December 15, 2011


Just in case you're not being facetious, these are the same engineers that automated the production on their other cars being produced and also, why does automation make you a better engineer? What is it about automated production that is the pinnacle to you?
posted by Brockles at 7:38 PM on December 15, 2011


It's easy to say the Aston Martins are just a car especially if you never seen one or ridden in one or driven one (you lucky bastard).
posted by 26.2 at 10:52 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: I can't think of any high end car companies on the "love" side, but I don't know the market.

I present to you the Morgan Motor Company. They build among other thing three-wheelers and sports cars with wooden (ash) substructure. The company was founded in 1910, and is still family-owned.
posted by Harald74 at 1:09 AM on December 16, 2011


26.2 has it. As nicely done as those photographs are, you have to experience something like this in person to fully appreciate it for the art object that it is. Rolling sculpture.

I've photographed a lot of very high end custom motorcycles for their builders, and until you see with your own eyes paintwork that looks like you could dive into it, machined metal parts that rival jewels in their beauty, leatherwork that is simply luscious, etc. you just can't appreciate it.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:35 AM on December 16, 2011


Putting aside that I'll never drive one, that it has an infernal combustion engine, and is "just a car" . . .

It's an engineering marvel, an illustration of extreme craftsmanship, and gorgeous. I became aroused looking at photographs.
posted by Man with Lantern at 7:49 AM on December 16, 2011


Most things needs to be mass produced to be affordable, but I'm charmed to read about some things are done in an uncompromising way like this. That I can't afford it is okay, but I bet the people who work on this love the "no compromises" culture surrounding its production and assembly. I know I would.
posted by dgran at 7:56 AM on December 16, 2011


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