There’s been quite a bit written lately about Phoenix-based Rizk Automotive’s recent release of images of their reproduction of the Aston Martin DBR2 using modern technology. In the time since, I’ve been considering how I feel about it.
My first impulse was to praise Rizk for a job well done. It is, after all, quite beautiful. With the available V8 or V12 power plant it’s sure to have plenty of power. Modern suspension almost certainly means it will handle like a dream. It’s lovely, and I’d be happy to drive one. I don’t have a problem with reproductions and replicas as road cars either (whether they should be allowed to compete at vintage events is another story). Besides, I already spread some love around in the same way for the recent proposed re-creation of the Gullwing Mercedes using modern technology and methods. But the more I think about it, the more conflicted I become.
The Aston Martin DBR2, like the Gullwing Mercedes, is a tremendously beautiful car. And these interpretations certainly evoke them. Ok, maybe it all starts to fall apart a bit on the interior. The photos of the odd overlapping angles, thoughtless typeface choices, and visible carbon fiber make the whole endeavor feel anachronistic. In re-reading Rizk’s promotional materials for their sendup of the DBR2, I stumbled across something that made it all click into place for me.
It all starts when they describe and evangelize the laborious process of 3D scanning the body lines of the DBR2. This process is expensive, but important to get the body lines of the DBR2 exactly right. 3D scanning technology is also helpful to reproduction houses in that they don’t have to convince the owner of of one of these priceless machines to go through the messy process of having a mold pulled from their car.
Ok. So they’ve got this perfect 3D model of the Aston Martin DBR2 body. The next part should be easy, right? Find a panel-beater or die-maker or mold-maker and prepare for production. But that’s not what Rizk did.
“Once the 3D model of the original was fully built on the computer, we spent almost a full year completely redesigning every curve and intersection. We enhanced the original front fender curves to add greater fullness. The car’s dimensions were increased in length and width, the door size was resized for proportionality, and finally the entire body was engineered to adapt to a space efficient and immensely stiff monocoque chassis.”
Wait. What? You went through the expensive and laborious process of 3D scanning of a Aston Martin DBR2 and then you just arbitrarily change everything? Was your goal suddenly to make a car that ‘kinda looks like a DBR2’?
Then it hit me of course. Look at this photo of an actual DBR2 being put through it’s paces. The wheel is practically joined to the driver’s rib cage. Most well-heeled car buyers wouldn’t actually want to drive an exact reproduction of a DBR2. The giant steering wheel would be much too close for buyers used to the more horizontal driving position of modern sports cars; or any modern car for that matter. Then again, it doesn’t look like they extended the driver’s seating area much, if it all. Now I’m right back where I started from: confused about the whole thing.
On the whole, I guess I would say I’m glad that these iconic machines are influencing builders of actual cars intended for sale. After all, I’d rather see Rizk’s near-DBR2 pass me on the freeway than just another BMW or Audi.
What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments.