Good Oil: No stately home on the range
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With memories of where the iconic brand developed from, news that Land Rover is planning on unveiling a two-door coupe version of its perennially posh Range Rover sounds like just the ticket ... until you realise that, once again, the firm is chasing the 0.00001 per centers.
The two-door Range Rover SV Coupe will be unveiled at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.
But don’t expect dog blankets covering the rear carpets and the remains of pheasant on the drop-down tailgate; the reincarnation of the Rangey’s original format will be super high-end and is designed to sway moneyed-up customers away from their Bentley Continental GTs and Rolls-Royce Wraiths.
The SV Coupe will still carry four bankers, or two bankers and two lapdogs, despite the two-door bodyshell; those doors will just be a bit longer than they are in the five-door model.
The only official image Land Rover has released ahead of the Geneva Motor Show reveals an overhead view of the SV Coupe’s interior, which looks a lot like current Range Rovers, just with more teak and extra quilting.
Only 999 hand-assembled SV Coupes will be sold (so we’re presuming most will be gone by the time the garishly-dressed car show models whip off its novelty dust cover at the Swiss show to the blaring strains of Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene in March).
And, although Land Rover is deliberately not discussing anything so uncouth as pricing, the posh play car will apparently cost more than a Range Rover SVAutobiography Long Wheelbase ... er, which already costs $300,000.
Here at The Good Oil, we reckon Land Rover is missing a trick, if only because we’re perma-nostalgic for the original 1970 Range Rover in all its thin-pillared, loftily-suspended, roaring V8 glory.
But clearly the market doesn’t demand an Eccentric Landowner Package, featuring gumboot holders, gun racks or integrated water bowls for the Irish Wolfhounds.
David Brown announces new Grand Tourer
Speaking of Brit icons, they don’t come much more Land of Hope and Glory-singing and dancing than David Brown Automotive.
Well, sort of ... Because this David Brown and the David Brown of Aston Martin fame aren’t connected in any way.
But this hasn’t stopped it from paying homage to Aston Martins of old with the swoopy Speedback GT which, despite being built on a Jaguar XK platform, reminds of the classic DB5 in many lovely ways.
It also inadvertently underlines the fact cars of that era were never meant to wear low-profile tyres (Google to see what we mean).
Most recently, the design house and engineering firm is probably best known for its impressively- built Mini Remastered; a limited run of $130,000-plus resto-modded Minis that took all the cool stuff from the original BMC-era barnstormer and melded it with modern convenience.
Now David Brown has announced it will soon unwrap a new model, the Grand Tourer.
The company isn’t giving much else away at this stage, save for the tantalising fact that it will be its “most performance-focused model yet” and one that the company has been “looking forward to building” since the Speedback GT was unveiled.
We don’t even know what the base for the Grand Tourer might be at this point, though an Aston Martin DB11 could be a likely donor.
What probably can be relied on is the exorbitant cost of the Grand Tourer.
The Speedback GT will still continue to be built alongside the new car and can be yours for an eye-watering NZ$1.14m.
Taking the GT template and spelling it out in full? Sheesh, that’ll set you back even more, we’d imagine.
ARES launches with Wacky Races assembly
We’ll admit to being obsessed with Dany Bahar. You might remember him as the cheeky chap periodically in charge of Lotus, back when the British car company was in bloom and announcing new models every six minutes.
Then the GFC hit. The new models never materialised. And Bahar was summarily dismissed from Hethel under a bit of a cloud.
The phrase “misappropriation of funds” was even bandied about at one point.
Anyway, a decade later, we find Bahar in Modena, Italy — the valley of supercars, if you will — where his new bespoke coachbuilding company, ARES Design, has just opened the doors on a brand new 18,000sq m design and manufacturing facility.
To celebrate the opening, ARES has shown publicly some of its one-off creations, from reimagined classic cars and army-spec off-roaders to less-than-tastefully redesigned supercars.
The hero car appears to be a Bentley Mulsanne converted from a giant sedan into an equally-giant coupe. Strange things have also been done to its front end.
Elsewhere, an ARES X-Raid (essentially a steroid-enhanced Mercedes-AMG G63) has seen the light of day, alongside a 1964 Corvette Stingray, which has been treated slightly more sympathetically with modern touches underneath its old school skin.
As with all Euro design houses, ARES looks to have its fair share of hits and misses on the books.
But the fact Bahar has led it to the point where a new state-of-the-art facility is required suggests quite a few of the continent’s elite are keen on re-fettled hardware.
We’d love to see what ARES could do with a Lotus Exige ...