This is the third and final part of the Luxurious Magazine visit to the Aston Martin Factory in Gaydon. For this article we look at the construction process for the new Vanquish
Some of the statistics are truly mind-blowing; the new Vanquish features over 1 million individual stitches and is furnished by seven hides (70 individual pieces of leather make up the two front seats alone), whilst each of the Aston Martin logos sewn on to the headrests (a procedure done by machine), is made up of 5,000 stitches. Both the size of the stitch and colour of the thread can be tailored to the individual, and in 2012, the ‘Year of the Dragon’ Limited Edition 88 models unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in China featured a dragon motif sewn into the headrests courtesy of 27,000 red gold sutures. Furthermore, across the entire range, and away from any individual or bespoke finishes available through the ‘Q by Aston Martin’ service, a client has the daunting task of selecting their finished article from a possible 3.5 million combinations of standard equipment on offer.
Like the cabin, the exterior is another equally important element of the car which allows the customer to personalise their Aston Martin according to individual taste. Thanks to the Q service once again, clients are able to create their own shade unique to them for any model ordered or replicate any which they have seen elsewhere, whether it is pink or the rainbow effect ‘chameleon’ finish such is the spectrum of choice.
The paint shop, which saw the selection of 160 different colours in 2012 is one of the few manufacturing processes in the entire factory which employs a robot in order to guarantee consistency of the initial base coat. In fact, every colour and model variant has a specific programme in terms of how it is manually applied using a spray gun including output pressure, in addition to the height and distance of the gun relative to the body of the specific model. This is a science with no allowance for imperfections, hence the reason why the whole structure including the chassis which underpins the car is ‘decorated’ all at once rather than in separate sections.
Once assembly is complete, every vehicle that comes off the production line is placed on both a laser rig to configure the suspension and a rolling road to ensure the correct braking force and emissions. This is followed by a 30-minute shakedown for a comprehensive assessment on Gaydon’s private test track, once home to the runways and taxiways of an RAF base on which Aston Martin is sited today. This is followed by a monsoon test in a separate building which sees a car become subject to 4,500 litres of water in just six minutes with the aim of deducting whether any leaks and faulty seals exist around the body panels.
On completion of all the required assessments, the paintwork is given a two to three-day final inspection, polish, and wax prior to a ‘ceremonial’ sign-off. This special and very last stage of the 200-hour long journey sees the placing of the renowned Aston Martin ‘wings’ on the tip of the bonnet and on the the rear of the car as well as the installation of a silver plaque on the engine cover which details the name of the individual who authorised for the vehicle to start its next voyage in the hands of the privileged owner.
By Simon Wittenberg