High-performance car enthusiasts are increasingly looking for something different, which probably explains why British manufacturer David Brown Automotive’s (DBA) modest stand at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show seemed disproportionately popular in comparison to the giant set-ups of more obvious marques.
The firm was established in 2013 by car designer, engineer and entrepreneur David Brown, with the aim of creating a series of limited-production, retro-inspired grand tourers – the Speedback GT – based on the platform and powertrain of a supercharged Jaguar XK-R but topped with meticulously handcrafted aluminium bodywork and bespoke interiors, the process taking over 8,000 hours for each car. Last year DBA expanded its portfolio to include a modern-day, high-spec version of the classic Mini, necessitating a move to a new workshop beside Silverstone race circuit.
DBA’s presence at the historic racing complex has now been celebrated in a special Speedback Silverstone Edition that was unveiled in Switzerland and will be available for only a limited production run of 10 cars, each priced at £744,000.
Featuring a five-litre, 601-horsepower, supercharged V8 engine driving through a six-speed automatic gearbox, the car’s subtle alterations over the standard Speedback GT are inspired by the early days of jet aviation (Silverstone was originally an airfield) – resulting in a rich coat of Fly by Night tungsten paint, a more streamlined body, 20-inch Afterburner wheels and a jet-inspired exhaust system. Rear windows are tinted for a “stealth” look, while the aviation theme continues in the luxuriously appointed cabin with brogued and embroidered antique leathers, scorched-wood veneers, Alcantara and Kvadrat material surfaces and beautifully executed details such as aluminium air vents reminiscent of jet turbine blades.
Unlike the regular Speedback GT, the Silverstone Edition has no rear seats. Instead, the area serves as a surprisingly capacious luggage platform (with additional storage underneath) and incorporates a version of the Speedback’s signature fold-out picnic seat, with a base that can be customised for the stowage of cameras, shotguns and fishing accoutrements.