One in a million

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The Aston Martin One-77 packs a 7.3-litre 750bhp V12 powerplant but even more astonishing is the microscopic attention to detail, relentless quest for perfection and sheer presence of the car.

At £1.2m it’s a serious investment, but only 77 will ever be built so depreciation shouldn’t be a serious issue.

A word to the wise. I haven’t driven this car yet. At the time of writing, I haven’t met a journalist who has. It’s not as if Aston Martin really needs positive press to shift the 77 examples it’s going to build. When the order book contains one customer who wants ten, the One-77’s fortunes are not going to hinge on the verdict of Auto Express.

So what do customers get for their money? We’ll start with a carbon-fibre monocoque of quite delightful quality, wrapped in hand-finished aluminium bodywork and powered by a 7.3-litre V12 good for 750bhp. With 500bhp per tonne, a top speed of 220mph has been bandied about for the One-77 but as Dr Bez noted, it’s irrelevant whether this car does 200mph, 205mph or indeed 220mph. It’s not a car defined by its numbers. In fact, how the One-77 drives is possibly the least interesting part of its entire story.

Aston Martin clearly isn’t overlooking anything though. That’s why the One-77 gets a carbon propshaft, magnesium torque tube, suspension struts milled from a solid billet of aluminium, shot-peened gear internals, a dry sump, inboard dampers and so on. Be in no doubt that this is a technical showcase too. It’s just so easy to be distracted by the aesthetic.

Recognisably an Aston Martin product, albeit one that appears to have taken a pass or two through a Photoshop filter called ‘Extremify’, the One-77 is just that bit wider, lower, meaner and hungrier-looking than the usual portfolio of product. The usual accusation aimed at Aston, namely that its cars all look much the same, certainly can’t be levelled at the One-77. The huge air intakes on the flanks and the show car proportions see to that. Designer Marek Reichmann claims that many of the car’s relative proportions are heavily based on the so-called ‘golden ratio’ of approximately1.618 to 1 that crops up throughout nature, geometry and mathematics, even being appropriated by the ancient Greeks in their architecture.

Think of the One-77 as a showcase for all that Aston Martin knows rather than a production car that adheres to normal production car rules and it makes a whole lot more sense. It’s a flagship; a statement of ability and a great advertisement for the company’s design and engineering. For the 77 lucky owners, it’s a vehicle that guarantees exclusivity as well as being a fantastic piece of automotive art.

It’s performance art too. Aston Martin spent months merely tuning the intake and exhaust notes so that they were just so. The One-77 is a vehicle that manages to make cars like the Pagani Huayra, the Bugatti Veyron and the Koenigsegg Agera seem a little mass-market. Irrelevant? This country has a proud heritage in both elite engineering and fine art. When either of those disciplines become an irrelevance, it’s time to switch off the lights and leave. The One-77 should be celebrated.