Aston Martin Works at Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, is the historic home of the prestigious marque with a heritage stretching back almost 60 years. During 52 of those years, just over 13,300 cars were assembled at the factory, destined to become automotive legends. Among them were the likes of DB4, DB5, DB6, V8 Vantage, the William Towns Lagonda and the original Vanquish.
Aston Martin Works is today the “largest, best equipped and most knowledgeable heritage restoration centre in the world,” according to the car maker. This is not by mere coincidence. The factory has always been a hotbed of rare hand-craftsmanship, carefully nurtured and passed down through generations. The factory uses many of the original tools used to build the original cars and are still being used today to service and restore them.
Many of Aston Martin’s classics have returned to the place of their birth to be restored back to their original splendour or to make sure everything is in proper working condition. However, one DB6 has returned to participate in a special mission: to future-proof these increasingly precious machines by creating the world’s first reversible EV powertrain conversion. Aston Martin Works is not just about the past but also about securing the future of the marque’s legacy.
The factory has taken the lead in Aston Martin’s Heritage Electrification project, conceived as an integral part of the company’s broader EV strategy, to mitigate any future legislation that might restrict the use of classic cars by offering a zero-emissions conversion.
Based on the reversible “cassette” EV powertrain concept, the Heritage EV conversion employs state-of-the-art technology which incorporates the knowledge acquired by Aston Martin during the planning and development phases of the Rapide E and the all-new range of Lagondas.
Given the historical significance of the classic Aston Martins, the reversible EV conversion concept was a necessity. The cassette system offers the perfect solution to the owners by reassuring them that their car is future-proofed and socially responsible, while still retaining the ability to reinstate its original powertrain if desired.
“We are very aware of the environmental and social pressures that threaten to restrict the use of classic cars in the years to come,” said Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer.
“Our Second Century Plan not only encompasses our new and future models, but also protects our treasured heritage. I believe this not only makes Aston Martin unique, but a truly forward-thinking leader in this field.” – Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer
An original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante has become the first car to receive the new EV powertrain. The “cassette” is enclosed within its own self-contained cell and sits on the original engine and gearbox mountings. “Umbilical cords” from the power unit then feed the car’s electrical systems. Power management is operated via a dedicated screen, which is discreetly fitted to the car’s interior.
Having successfully handled the proof-of-concept DB6 EV conversion, Aston Martin Works will now take on the challenge of completing customers’ Heritage EV conversions, which are expected to commence in 2019. The production versions of the EV cassette will include key components from the Rapide E programme.
“We have been looking for some time to find a way of protecting our customers’ long-term enjoyment of their cars. Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure EV power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centres. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars,” said Paul Spires, President, Aston Martin Works.
It seems as though Aston Martin’s bold and innovative solution to an increasingly realistic issue, the Heritage EV programme, will be able to ensure a bright future for Aston Martin’s glorious past in a sustainable yet practical manner.