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Envisage Group invites visitors to take their own design journey

david brown
David Brown Speedback

April 1, 2014: Top Marques Show, Monaco (April 17-20, stand F2) - Envisage Group invites visitors to take their own design journey, using the expertise that helped create the car launched by David Brown Automotive at the show

New design and manufacturing processes are providing the world’s elite with access to previously unachievable levels of automotive personalisation and luxury. Rapid Prototyping, 3D Computer Aided Design and Laser Manufacturing – techniques proven in Formula 1 - are for the first time since the legendary coachbuilders, making the ultimate automotive dream a reality. The first bespoke vehicle constructed using these techniques, created by British design and engineering consultancy Envisage with David Brown Automotive head of design Alan Mobberley, will be exhibited for the first time at the Top Marques show in Monaco from April 17th.

Visitors to the show will be offered a unique opportunity. Envisage design director Ian Nisbett will invite selected guests to ‘step into their dreams’, helping them take the first steps towards realising their own bespoke automobile. After an initial discussion, guests will slip into a 3D virtual world where they will begin the creative journey that could put their own bespoke dream car, perfect in every detail, into their garage.

“Modern bespoke automobiles have previously required substantial compromises,” explains Envisage chief executive officer Alastair Cattrell. “They are either exquisitely upgraded versions of identifiable production cars or they are truly bespoke, all new cars that are beautifully hand-crafted from the ground-up but cannot deliver the refinement, safety and technology of a production car backed by a multi-billion Euro development programme. Our fresh approach has removed all of these compromises, allowing the world’s elite to own the car of their dreams.”

The concept is based on the traditional British coachbuilders whose gorgeous bodywork and interiors graced the most prestigious cars of the 1920s and 30s. “These companies would take a chassis from, say, Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and work with the owner to bring his or her dream to life,” says Cattrell.

Coachbuilders died out when automotive technology became too complex for this style of construction. Many companies have tried to re-introduce this approach, but the results have always been compromised by visible carried-over production components, often including entire interiors that are simply re-covered in leather.

“That’s where new design and manufacturing techniques come in,” explains Cattrell. “We can now create a car that has all the refinement, technology, safety and performance of the world’s finest automobiles, but with a look and feel that is totally unique. This is the ultimate expression of individuality, the automotive equivalent of a bespoke suit.”

The key to unlocking this capability is the substantial investment that Envisage has made in state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technologies to support their work with an impressive range of prestige vehicle manufacturers that include Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce. The company even builds vehicles for a confidential list of famous Italian styling houses.

Ian Nisbett, who was previously a senior designer at Jaguar Land Rover, says the company has invested more than £3 million in its new technical centre. “We can build an entire car in virtual space, allowing our customers to explore an infinite range of styles and specifications. They can view their digital car from any angle, sit in it and close the door, even see it in their garage or next to their boat,” he says. “When they are completely happy, we make a full size model for sign-off.”

Building the vehicle takes a unique mix of high-tech and traditional craft skills. The hidden technology is chosen from the world’s finest production vehicles. Bodywork can be created from hand-crafted aluminium or from the latest light-weight carbon composites. Interiors can be hand-sewn in fine leathers and complemented by almost any material. “We can evoke favourite periods, styles, even match the finish and feel of a treasured Purdey,” says Nisbett.

“What really makes the difference is our ability to make almost every visible component to our customer’s own design,” he continues. “The key to this remarkable capability is an exceptionally sophisticated Rapid Prototyping system, similar to those used in Formula 1, which allows Envisage to create exquisite bespoke components in a range of materials. Laser etching can be used to create even higher levels of bespoke ambience through lighting, graphics and instrumentation that create a remarkable personal ‘mood’.

Cattrell says that these techniques are only available to private individuals because of the very substantial investments that Envisage has made to support its prestige vehicle manufacturer and design house customers. “The concept cars we build for them are each designer’s dream given physical form,” he concludes. “We can now invite a small number of private clients to join this elite group and create a dream they can drive every day.”

The design and build of a complete bespoke automobile to world-class standards of quality, performance, safety and connectivity, starts at around £1.5 million.