Aston Martin’s exclusive range of luxury sports cars can be enhanced in many ways. Through Q by Aston Martin, the marque offers a remarkable tailored service, with a team of experts at the marque’s Gaydon Design Studios working closely with each Q client to bring inspiration from the world of art, design, craft and travel, and translate it into unique examples of automotive design. As the luxury world continues to evolve to offer ever more intimate expressions of individuality, rarity and excitement, so the role of Q within Aston Martin has become increasingly essential.
There are two distinctive services, Q by Aston Martin-Collection and Q by Aston Martin-Commission. Henry Cozon, Senior Manager at Q and VIP Sales explains the system. “The Q Collection offers a range of exclusive off-the-shelf options that are available at the point of ordering a car and don’t require an additional build lead time,” he says. These might be paint and leathers from the exclusive Q collection range, or perhaps an additional carbon fibre tailored detailing, some of which can also be specified as a Q Accessory after production. This is therefore a flexible service and extremely popular with customers, with as many as a quarter of the Aston Martin cars featuring some element of Q. “Aftermarket Q Accessories is something we plan to develop further as there is definitely a strong market for this,” Cozon continues.
Q by Aston Martin-Commission takes personalisation to an entirely new level. Here, clients can build their very own individual Aston Martin sports car, taking a journey that involves a close collaboration with the design team. Commission projects are often complex to create and are accordingly agreed prior to production. “These cars are truly bespoke,” Cozon says. “They are fully customised to the desires of the customer. As such, of course, they carry a longer build lead time, but the end results are spectacular.”
Inspiration for the Q cars can come from anywhere. Clients may be excited by nature or culture — an exotic place they have travelled to, or an exhibition that has moved them. Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman and his team will then translate these, sometimes abstract, ideas into vehicle design. “The beauty of Q is that it allows you to express your personality through taking inspiration from almost anything,” Cozon says. He explains that the occasional “Q Signature Commissions”, which involve working directly with single brands, often require more specific instruction. For example, the recent Hackett collaboration focuses on translating fabrics, textures and tailoring provided by the fashion house into the interior of a bespoke Rapide S.
Another recent collaboration, the DB11 Classic Driver Edition, is a fine example of a bespoke vehicle that didn’t require high levels of re-engineering. Instead, attention was firmly on colour and materials. Cozon explains: “Classic Driver focused on designing a vehicle with a colour scheme perfectly tuned to its brand, creating a bespoke paint in the process. In the case of Hackett, Jeremy Hackett had us concentrate on the interior — this was where the worlds of automotive trimming and fashion tailoring could come together and create an interior that even Savile Row’s finest would be in awe of.”
There are also some bespoke projects that demand the complete re-design and re-engineering of an existing product. These are the pinnacle of Q’s skills, hugely rewarding for both the client and the company alike. Cozon mentions the V12 Vantage V600, a special project with a unique story. He recalls: “The customer commissioned us to create a one-off vehicle in celebration of the original 1990s-era Vantage V600.” Also drawing inspiration from the original 2003 AMV8 concept car, the design displays a purist form, with a body made of carbon fibre and powered by a 6-litre V12 naturally-aspirated engine teamed with manual transmission.
“The design was so well received that we asked the customer if we could turn the single vehicle into a limited and exclusive series of coupes and roadsters, to which they agreed. In an era of engine downsizing and electrification, it is a vehicle that stands out as a superlative epilogue to a fantastic era of motoring.”
The V12 Vantage V600 stands out as a superlative epilogue to a fantastic era of motoring
Cozon says that global dealer networks are best suited to enticing future customers to engage with Q since they typically have a very close relationship with their most enthusiastic clients. “We are currently working hard to improve their tools so they can proactively talk about Q,” he says. The signature Q cars also help promote the service.
All Aston Martin customers are encouraged to visit the factory and engage with the process of making their car; Q simply makes this an even more engaging experience. Cozon is involved in the factory tours and believes they provide unforgettable interaction, sparking creative ideas and a strong sense of belonging to a family. In addition, Aston Martin is working on providing bespoke “Q Build Books” for their clients — a very special personalised publication that chronicles the construction of their particular car.
That is the beauty of Q - it allows customers to fully express their personality
The demand for personalised products that express the character of the customer is growing. There is an increasing desire to stand out and this represents a great opportunity for Q. Cozon says the marque has some high-profile projects and partnerships in the pipeline. “What truly motivates our customers is the ultimate personalisation and experience factor that our Q Commission service offers,” he says. “This is the biggest catalyst for growth. We are constantly looking at ways to improve the experience through greater interaction and striving to meet the desires of our customers.”
As a parting note, we ask Cozon if he can share an outlandish request at Q. He is naturally private about clients, revealing only one example that pushes the possibilities of Q to new extremes. Created at the request of a customer and showcased at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is the V8 430bhp Cygnet — dubbed the “ultimate city car”. A radically reconstructed version of Aston Martin’s diminutive city car, the V8 Cygnet incorporates the engine and running gear from the last generation Vantage. Featuring 19-inch wheels with massive flared arches, a roll cage and twin central exhaust, it weighs just 1375kg and is a thrilling performer.
Q requests reflect the eclectic, inquisitive and adventurous nature of Aston Martin’s customers — always interesting, often unusual and sometimes even a little eccentric. “That is the beauty of Q,” says Cozon.“It allows customers to fully express their personality and reflects their lifestyle and achievements.”